Saturday, March 23, 2013

Review: The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth by E.O. Wilson

The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth by Edward O. Wilson. I've reviewed other books by Professor Wilson.

The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth

This book is a Reader's Digest version of Professor Wilson's ideas as expressed in books like Future of Life and Social Conquest. It's meant to spread biophilia among the religious to get humanity in action to save biodiversity. Bill Moyers's 2006 show Is God Green? addresses some of this as well.

I thought that the most interesting part of the book was Wilson's explanation of biology as a discipline and how love of this branch of science could be inculcated in students, pages 103-61.

So if you are a science teacher or a guardian of children whom you'd like to introduce to science, I'd highly recommend reading this. I think if I had been introduced to science this way, I might have been excited about it.

I should point out that Professor Wilson's ideas on science education don't offer great solutions for children whose parents can't afford trips to the country or microscopes or whose schools don't do field trips or whose states close nature education centers. I think this is one of the weaknesses in Professor Wilson's writings. He rarely acknowledges social inequality and its impact on people's choices. It could be that he doesn't have a solution for that and doesn't think anybody else does, so he's just pointing out what needs to be done and that, if we don't do it, both rich and poor will suffer.

I remember watching a PBS program about students in Washington, DC monitoring water quality. That task in-and-of itself would be challenging. Throw in the fact that at least one of the students was murdered and many had extremely difficult home lives and you can see why environmental education suffers. I have failed to find that news clip.

In the course of searching for that, I found PBS's Journey to Planet Earth and its segment Urban Explosion, with its associated teaching resources. In fact, I found many other resources on line. So, if we cannot persuade our state legislatures to pony up money for science education, can we find ways to involve the poor in biophilia-enhancing science exploration?