(ORDO NEWS) — It seems that society has not yet learned to pay enough attention to the compilation of textbooks. And by the way, they are extremely important!
A new study by scientists from the University of North Carolina, USA, showed that biology textbooks do not include and work well with climate material.
For example, the study found that most textbooks from the 2010s contain less information about the climate crisis than books from the previous decade, despite significant progress in understanding how it affects ecosystems and the environment.
“We found that biology textbooks do not provide adequate information about climate change, which is a generational defining topic in the life sciences,” says Jennifer Landin, study correspondent author and associate professor of biological sciences at NC State.
“The books we study are basic textbooks to help students understand life on Earth, but they provide very little information about a phenomenon that has a profound effect on habitats, ecosystems, agriculture almost every aspect of life.”
For the study, the researchers analyzed 57 college biology textbooks published between 1970 and 2019.
Before 1990, textbooks averaged less than 10 sentences on climate change. In the 1990s, the average length of climate content was 30 sentences.
The average length of climate content rose to 52 sentences in the 2000s, which is not surprising given the amount of new scientific papers on climate change and its impacts.
However, scientists have found that in the 2010s, the amount of climate-related text in textbooks has dwindled to an average of 45 sentences. In addition to length, over time, the nature of the content has also changed significantly.
For example, proposals dedicated to practical solutions to climate change peaked in the 1990s and accounted for over 15% of climate content. However, in recent decades, practical solutions account for only about 3% of climate content.
“The lack of information] tells students that nothing can be done, which is both misleading and fatalistic about climate change,” Landin says.
In addition, the position of the climate change sections continues to move towards the end: “This is important because most teachers present the contents of the textbook in order, which means that topics at the end of the book are often skipped,” Landin noted.
“However, there is more than just bad news. Textbooks in the 2000s and 2010s have begun to include a wider range of information about climate, such as how climate affects the distribution of species, which can help students understand the various effects [of global warming.
However, we hope that our study will serve as a wake-up call for publishers and educators. We need to do much better incorporating climate change into our courses if we are to prepare students to understand the role that climate change plays in shaping life on Earth and how we study it,” Landin concluded.
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