Advertisement

Drilling into controversy: the educational complexity of shale gas development

  • Joseph A. Henderson
  • Don Duggan-Haas
Article

Abstract

Potential development of shale gas presents a complicated and controversial education problem. Research on human learning and our own experiences as educators support the conclusion that traditional, disciplinary-focused educational experiences are insufficient due to the nature of the concepts necessary for understanding the development of shale gas within the energy system as a complex, contextualized phenomenon. Educators engaging in communicating complex phenomena such as shale gas development can also increase sophistication of learner understanding by taking into account the sociocultural and psychological mechanisms that shape one’s understanding of the change processes at work. We therefore review an emerging body of research showing that nurturing environmental literacy requires more than the clear explication of evidence, and instead requires interrogating one’s existing worldview and comparing alternative options for action, as opposed to analyzing energy options in isolation. We then apply the results of this research to the challenging task of creating meaningful learning experiences and engagement with complex issues such as emerging energy systems and shale gas development in particular.

Keywords

Natural gas Fracking Energy Environmental education Complexity 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Beth Kinne, Thomas Love, Ken Klemow, David Hursh, Natalie Macquire, Tracey Henderson, and two anonymous reviewers for comments on previous drafts. This material is based upon work supported by the grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF GEO-1016359 and 1035078). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

References

  1. Agrawal A (2005) Environmentality: technologies of government and the making of subjects. Duke University, DurhamGoogle Scholar
  2. Alley RB (2012) Earth: the operators’ manual. PBS. http://earththeoperatorsmanual.com/. Accessed 22 Aug 2013
  3. America’s Natural Gas Alliance (2012) Think About It campaign advertisement. http://anga.us/advertising/print-ads#.UafF9WTEpOE. Accessed 30 May 2013
  4. Berry W (2001) Life is a miracle: an essay against modern superstition. Counterpoint, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Boudet H, Clarke CE, Bugden D, Maibach E, Roser-Renouf R, Leiserowitz A (2013) “Fracking” controversy and communication: using national survey data to understand public perceptions of hydraulic fracturing. Energy Policy. doi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.10.017i Google Scholar
  6. Bourdieu P (1977) Outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge University, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bransford J (2000) How people learn: brain, mind, experience, and school. National Academy, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  8. Caiazzo F, Ashok A, Waitz IA, Yim SHL, Barrett SRH (2013) Air pollution and early deaths in the United States. Part I: quantifying the impact of major sectors in 2005. Atmos Environ 79:198–208. doi: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2013.05.081 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Clarke CE, Boudet HS, Bugden D (2013) Fracking in the American mind: Americans’ views on hydraulic fracturing in September, 2012. Yale University and George Mason University. New Haven. http://www.climatechangecommunication.org/reports. Accessed 29 May 2013
  10. College Board. (2012) AP examination volume changes (2002–2012) [Data file]. http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/pdf/research/2012_exam_volume_change.pdf. Accessed 30 Oct 2012
  11. Crompton T, Kasser T (2009) Meeting environmental challenges: the role of human identity. Green Books Ltd, Surrey, UKGoogle Scholar
  12. Dodds W (2008) Humanity’s footprint: momentum, impact, and our global environment. Columbia University, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  13. Donovan MS, Bransford JD, Pellegrino JW (eds) (1999) How people learn: bridging research and practice. National Academies, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  14. Duggan-Haas D, Ross RM, Allmon WD, w/Cronin KE, Smrecak, TA, Perry S (2013) The science beneath the surface: a very short guide to the Marcellus Shale. Paleontological Research Institution (Special Publication 43): Ithaca, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. Eidelman S, Crandall CS (2012) Bias in favor of the status quo. Soc Personal Psychol Compass 6(3):270–281. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-9004.2012.00427.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fenichel M, Schweingruber HA (2009) Surrounded by science: learning science in informal environments. National Academies, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  17. Foucault M (1977) Discipline and punish: the birth of the prison (1st American ed.). Pantheon Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  18. Freire P (1993/1970) Pedagogy of the oppressed (Rev. ed.). Continuum, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  19. Fu JHY, Morris MW, Lee SL, Chao M, Chiu CY, Hong YY (2007) Epistemic motives and cultural conformity: need for closure, culture, and context as determinants of conflict judgments. J Pers Soc Psychol 92(2):191–207. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.92.2.191 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gee JP (2000) Identity as an analytic lens for research in education. Rev Res Educ 25(1):99–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gruenewald D (2003) The best of both worlds: a critical pedagogy of place. Educ Res 32(4):3–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gruenewald DA, Smith GA (2008) Place-based education in the global age: local diversity. Erlbaum, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. Habermas J (1984) The theory of communicative action: Vol. 1. Reason and the rationalization of society. Beacon, BostonGoogle Scholar
  24. Henderson J (2014) Out of sight, out of mind: on global connection, environmental discourses and the emerging field of sustainability education. Cult Stud of Sci Ed (in press)Google Scholar
  25. Holland D, Lachicotte W, Skinner D, Cain C (2001) Identity and agency in cultural worlds. Harvard University, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  26. Howarth RW, Santoro R, Ingraffea A (2011) Methane and the greenhouse-gas footprint of natural gas from shale formations. Clim Chang 106(4):679–690. doi: 10.1007/s10584-011-0061-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hursh D, Henderson J (2011) Contesting global neoliberalism and creating alternative futures. Disc: Stud Cult Pol Ed 32(2):171–185. doi: 10.1080/01596306.2011.562665 Google Scholar
  28. Johnson AG (2008) The forest and the trees: sociology as life, practice, and promise. Temple University, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  29. Kahan DM, Braman D (2006) Cultural cognition and public policy. Yale Law Pol Rev 24(1):149–172Google Scholar
  30. Kahan DM, Braman D, Gastil J, Slovic P, Mertz CK (2007) Culture and identity–protective cognition: explaining the white–male effect in risk perception. J Empir Leg Stud 4(3):465–505. doi: 10.1111/j.1740-1461.2007.00097.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kahan DM, Peters E, Wittlin M, Slovic P, Ouellette LL, Braman D, Mandel G (2012) The polarizing impact of science literacy and numeracy on perceived climate change risks. Nat Clim Chang 2(10):732–735. doi: 10.1038/nclimate1547 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kahneman D (2011) Thinking, fast and slow. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  33. Kahneman D, Knetsch JL, Thaler RH (1991) Anomalies: the endowment effect, loss aversion, and status quo bias. J Econ Perspect 5(1):193–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Klemow KM (2012) Science and energy policy: leave the cherries alone. Front Ecol Environ 10(3):115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lewandowsky S, Ecker UK, Seifert CM, Schwarz N, Cook J (2012) Misinformation and its correction: continued influence and successful debiasing. Psych Sci Pub Int 13:106–131. doi: 10.1177/1529100612451018 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lim M, Barton AC (2006) Science learning and a sense of place in a urban middle school. Cult Stud Sci Educ 1(1):107–142. doi: 10.1007/s11422-005-9002-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Martina CA, Hursh D, Markowitz D (2009) Contradictions in educational policy: implementing integrated problem–based environmental health curriculum in a high stakes environment. Environ Educ Res 15(3):279–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Martinez DM, Ebenhack BW (2008) Understanding the role of energy consumption in human development through the use of saturation phenomena. Energ Policy 36(4):1430–1435. doi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2007.12.016 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. May C, Finch T (2009) Implementing, embedding, and integrating practices: an outline of normalization process theory. Sociology 43(3):535–554. doi: 10.1177/0038038509103208 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. McCright AM, Dunlap RE (2011) Cool dudes: the denial of climate change among conservative white males in the United States. Glob Environ Chang 21(4):1163–1172. doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2011.06.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McGraw S (2011) The end of country. Random House, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  42. McKenzie M (2012) Education for y’all: global neoliberalism and the case for a politics of scale in sustainability education policy. Pol Fut Ed 10(2):165–177. doi: 10.2304/pfie.2012.10.2.165 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Murray Li T (2007) The will to improve: governmentality, development, and the practice of politics. Duke University, DurhamGoogle Scholar
  44. National Research Council (2007) Environmental impacts of wind-energy projects. National Academies, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  45. National Research Council (2009) Learning science in informal environments: people, places, and pursuits. National Academies, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  46. Oakeshott M (1962) On being conservative. In: Oakeshott M (ed) Rationalism in politics and other essays. Methuen, London, pp 168–196Google Scholar
  47. Oreskes N, Conway EM (2010) Merchants of doubt: how a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming. Bloomsbury, LondonGoogle Scholar
  48. Orr DW (1994) Earth in mind: on education, environment, and the human prospect. Island, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  49. Pachirat T (2011) Every twelve seconds: industrialized slaughter and the politics of sight. Yale University, New HavenGoogle Scholar
  50. Pink S (2011) Ethnography of the invisible: energy in the multisensory home. Ethnologia Europaea. J Euro Ethnol 41:117–128Google Scholar
  51. Revkin A (2012) On shale gas, warming and whiplash. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/06/on-shale-gas-warming-and-whiplash/. Accessed 30 Oct 2012
  52. Reynolds, BJ (2012) The hounds of hydrofracking will tear your community to shreds. The flowback: the costly consequences of hydrofracking (6th ed.) 1: 19Google Scholar
  53. Sadler PM, Schneps MH, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (2003) A private universe: minds of our own. Annenberg, United StatesGoogle Scholar
  54. Samuelson W, Zeckhauser R (1988) Status quo bias in decision making. J Risk Uncertain 1:7–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sen AK (1977) Rational fools: a critique of the behavioral foundations of economic theory. Phil Pub Aff 6(4):317–344Google Scholar
  56. Sherman DK, Cohen GL (2006) The psychology of self-defense: self-affirmation theory. Adv Exp Soc Psychol 38:183–242. doi: 10.1016/S0065-2601(06)38004-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Smil V (2008) Global catastrophes and trends: the next fifty years. MIT, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  58. Smith GA (2002) Place-based education: learning to be where we are. Phi Delta Kappan 83:584–594CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Smith B (2012) WXXI 1370 Connection. http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wxxi/local-wxxi-999692.mp3 Accessed 30 Oct 2012
  60. Sobel D (2004) Place-based education: connecting classrooms and communities. The Orion Society, Great BarringtonGoogle Scholar
  61. Sosniak L (2001) The 9 % challenge: education in school and society. Teach Coll Rec 103:15Google Scholar
  62. Sovacool BK, Brown MA (2010) Replacing myths with maxims: rethinking the relationship between energy and American society. In: Nader L (ed) The energy reader. Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, pp 246–263Google Scholar
  63. Speth JG (2008) The bridge at the edge of the world: capitalism, the environment, and crossing from crisis to sustainability. Yale University, New HavenGoogle Scholar
  64. Tainter JA (1990) The collapse of complex societies. Cambridge University, LondonGoogle Scholar
  65. Tainter JA, Patzek TW (2012) Drilling down: the Gulf oil debacle and our energy dilemma. Copernicus, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Thomashow M (2002) Bringing the biosphere home. MIT, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  67. Tversky A, Kahneman D (1986) Rational choice and the framing of decisions. J Bus 59(4):251–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. United States Department of Energy Information Association (2012) Annual energy outlook 2012 (DOE/EIA Publication No. 0383ER). U.S. Energy Information Administration, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  69. United States Energy Information Administration (2012) Electricity generating capacity. http://www.eia.gov/electricity/capacity/. U.S. Department of Energy, Washington
  70. Von Neumann J, Morgenstern O (2007/1944) Theory of games and economic behavior. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  71. Wilber T (2012) Under the surface: fracking, fortunes, and the fate of the Marcellus Shale. Cornell University, IthacaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© AESS 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human DevelopmentUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA
  2. 2.The Paleontological Research InstitutionIthacaUSA

Personalised recommendations