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Environmental Education versus Environmental Activism

The UREO program attempts to dispel the common fears and myths related to radiation, radioactivity, uranium mining and milling, and the nuclear industry. At the same time, UREO encourages educators and students to form their own opinions about these issues based upon investigations of the available facts and to consider ways to live in harmony with the powerful forces released by nuclear energy. This topic is of particular importance to members of communities that continue to feel the impact of the Cold War and the development of nuclear energy, including the Colorado Plateau states of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. Many of these communities are on tribal lands, including five distinct geographic areas of the Navajo Nation that contain 1100 abandoned uranium mines. Only 451 of these have been reclaimed to any extent; the others continue to pose multiple threats to public health. Community members in the area need to have the appropriate information to make wise decisions related to their personal behavior and to community management.

With such an emotionally charged, controversial topic, we as educators have a responsibility to present a "balanced" view of the issues, to allow our students to form their own opinions. It is imperative that we not use our positions as teachers as a means of "brainwashing" or "preaching" to our students; to do so would be an abuse of power.

UREO encourages teachers to seriously consider the following quote from Environmental Education Materials: Guidelines for Excellence, written by the North American Association for Environmental Education.

			  
		      

Environmental Education Materials: Guidelines for Excellence

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Last updated: April 4, 2002

          

“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestor, we borrow it from our children”
Native American Proverb