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Earth Community Organization (ECO)
the Global Community


Dr. Gennady N. Karopa
Belarus
greenway@karopa.belpak.gomel.by
(work, the University of Gomel)
gnkaropa@gsu.unibel.by


for Discussion Roundtables 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 17, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, 32, 35, 41, 46, 47, 49, 53, 54, and 55


Table of Contents









 
PSYCHOLOGICAL AND ETHICAL ASPECTS OF ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION


Environmental education is certainly essential for our common Future and sustainable development of the World.

But nevertheless we have some questions regarding environmental education: What is "environmental education"? What is the purpose of environmental education? What is the scope of environmental education? What are the conditions for good environmental education? What is the psychological basis of environmental education? What are the most important psychological (mental) laws and regularities of forming ecological responsibility? There is perhaps no simple answer to these questions. There are as many answers to these questions as there are people who write about environmental education. But there is a real social need for good environmental education. In the sphere of modern environmental education we have a critical contradiction between science and social practice (and society as a whole).

But it is not so bad. Where there is a contradiction-there is an opportunity for good development.

There seems to be no consensus as to the nature of environmental education, and no agreement about its methodology. Sciences like biology, chemistry or geography have their own clearly defined methodologies. But environmental education has not. If we want to search for a methodological basis for environmental education we cannot ignore many psychological laws, regularities and aspects. The most important among them is the question about the origin of person's attitude towards nature.

I believe that environmental education is the process of forming a responsible attitude of a person towards the environment. I'm sure, the responsible attitude of a person towards the environment is the goal and essence of environmental education.

From psychological point of view, a responsible attitude towards nature is a higher psychological function (like thinking by concepts, creative imagination, etc.). As is the case with any psychological function a responsible attitude towards nature lies at the root of all human activities and social interactions. In this social context the nature protection work is just one kind of human helping behaviour.

The responsible attitude as a higher psychological function is a certain generalization of all social interactions. It is a certain way (and principle!) of person's interaction with social and natural environment. It is the system of systems.

Every psychological function has its own organic foundation, special nervous organization in the brain. Organic foundation of responsible attitude towards nature is an inborn capacity to sympathize with the nearest people and subsequently all living beings.

The beginning of a responsible attitude towards environment lies in the child's attitudes towards his or her mother. Gradually, little by little and step by step, this attitude acquires more social character and transfers on other nearest adults, and subsequently on social and natural environment. The greatest Belarusian-Russian psychologist Leo Vygotsky wrote that every relationship between a child and environment is always reflected through his or her nearest adults. According to Vygotsky, of particular importance is the "child-mother" relationship which underlies all the child's other interactions.

In accordance with Vygotsky, Jean Piaget, Zigmund Freud, Karl Jung, Erich Fromm and other prominent psychologists, between a child and the nature there is a world of human culture consisting of scientific knowledge, everyday concepts, behaviour models, social norms, rules, ideas and myths. In the process of his or her development a child masters these social norms and transfers them onto nature. In this process the most essential role is played by ethical concepts.

The relationship between a child and nature is not a simple one. The "child-social world" interaction is fundamental. The "child-nature" interaction is in relation to this secondary and transferred.

Responsible attitude towards nature is a conscious process. And as with every conscious process it is quite impossible without concepts. Scientific and everyday concepts are certain tools for the child's investigation and understanding both the internal world of his or her own personality and external world of the environment.

What factors are most important for developing responsible attitude towards the environment? What are psychological laws of environmental education? In order to find good answers to these questions we carried out a special 3-year investigation. 6 Belarusian schools were selected for this investigation. 2 schools were situated in the city of Minsk, 2 schools were situated in the city of Gomel and 2 schools - in nuclear contaminated area (Buda-Koshelevo district). About 600 children took part in our investigation.

In this investigation we used the following methods: monitoring the pupils' behaviour in the environment (both social and natural environment); studying the children's art work; questionnaires for teachers and children before, after and during the investigation; experimental investigation of teaching methods; inspection and evaluation of progress by officers of local authorities; mathematical statistics methods; feed back and plenary session with teachers who took part.

It is impossible now and here to provide all collected data and results. And we are moving to some general conclusions and recommendations.

1. A responsible attitude towards nature is a psychological synthesis (certain psychological generalization) which embraces a large number of factors including social interactions, scientific knowledge, everyday concepts, skills, ecological impressions and moral sensitivity.

2. More than seventy factors have been identified which contribute to the development in a child of a responsible attitude towards nature. Very important among them are emotional contacts with the environment.

3. Important factors include respect for domestic and wild animals.

4. Practical activities such as tree-planting are not important as conservation activities but in cultivating social interactions between children amongst themselves and between the children and their environment.

5. There is no direct link between a pupil's level of scientific knowledge and the level of his or her responsible attitude towards nature. Moral concepts of good and evil are more important.

6. In the modern environmental education we need more emphasis on moral and ethical concepts.

Guided by these theoretical principles the Belarusian National Green Class Association works at new programmes and books for students and teachers of secondary schools.

LITERATURE

Alternative Paradigms in Environmental Education Research / Ed. By R. Mrazek. Troy, 1993.
Bruner J.S. The Process of Education. N.Y.,1960.
Cornell J.B. Sharing Nature with Children, London, 1990.
David Th. Environmental Literacy //School Review. 1974. ? 4.
Davydov V.V. Problems of Developing Education. Moscow,1986.
Ecological Education of Schoolchildren / Ed.I.D.Zverev, I.T.Suravegina. Moscow, 1983.
Ecological and Environmental Education Initiatives in Britain / Ed. Monica Haale. London, 1987
Education, Ecology and Development: The Case for an Education Network / Ed. Colin Lacey and Roy Williams. London, 1987.
Education for Sustainability / Ed. John Huckle and Stephen Sterling. London, 1996.
Environmental Education: A source - book / Ed. By G.I. Troost and M.Altman. N.Y., 1972.
Environmental Education: Perspectives and Prospectives. Columbus, 1975.
Environmental Education in the European Union. Luxembourg, 1997.
Environmental Education: Principles and Practice / Ed. Sean Carson. London, 1978.
Environmental Education: Strategies Toward a More Livable Future / Ed. James A. Swan and William B. Stapp. NY, 1974.
Environmental Study Area Workshop. Washington, 1972.
Galperin P.Y. Introduction to Psychology. ?oscow, 1976.
Gore A. The Earth in the Balance. N.Y., 1995.
Karopa G. Eastern European Perspective: Environmental Education in Belarus // Environmental Education, Walsall, 1999. Vol. 61.
Karopa G. Psychological Aspect of Environmental Education // YII
International Congress of Ecology: Abstracts: Florence, 19-25 July 1998.
Karopa G.N. Leo Vygotsky and his cultural-historical theory // Adukatsia i vykhavanne, Minsk, 1996. ? 12.
Karopa G.N. Environmental Education on Geography Lessons// Narodnaya Asveta, Minsk, 1992. ? 6.
Karopa G.N. Environmental Education of Rural Schoolchildren// Narodnaya Asveta, Minsk, 1990. ? 9.
Karopa G.N. Environmental Education in Rural Schools. Minsk, 1993.
Karopa G.N. The Systems Approach to Environmental Education. Minsk, 1994.
Karopa G.N. To the Creation of New Techniques of Environmental Education // Questions of psychology, Moscow, 1995, ? 1.
Karopa G.N. Biogeography and Basics of Ecology, Gomel, 1994.
Karopa G.N. The Questions of Environment and Sustainable Development in Modern Secondary Schools, Gomel, 1998.
Karopa G. Letter from Belarus //TEG News., 1998, ?23.
Levin B. The Educational Requirement for Democracy // Curriculum Inquiry. - Vol. 28, Number 1, Spring 1998.
Man and Nature / Ed. G.Karopa, Gomel, 1997.
Massey N. B. Patterns for the Teaching of Science. Toronto, 1966
Neal P., Palmer J. Environmental Education in Primary School. Oxford, 1990.
Palmer J., Neal P. The Handbook of Environmental Education. London, 1994.
Piaget J. Selected Psychological Works. Moscow, 1969.
Potebnya I.A. Word and Myth. Moscow, 1989.
Sechenov I.M. Selected Works. Moscow, 1953.
Simmons D. Papers on the Development of Environmental Education Standards. Dekalb, 1995.
The First National Congress for Environmental Education Futures: Policies and Practices. Colombus, 1983.
Vygotsky L.S. Pedagogical Psychology. ?oscow, 1991.
Vygotsky L.S. Development of the Highest Psychological Functions. ?oscow, 1960.

Dr. Gennady Karopa
The Belarusian Green Class Association
The University of Gomel
Sovetskaya, 106/65, Gomel, 246 028, BELARUS
Tel. (375) (0232) 56-99-17
E-mail: gnkaropa@gsu.unibel.by



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THE PRINCIPLE OF SYSTEMS DIFFERENTIATION IN ECOLOGICAL EDUCATION


INTRODUCTION

The principle of systems differentiation is one of the "new" principles coming from modern neuro-physiology, psychology and pedagogics. This principle expresses an extremely important law of both education and mental development of a child and has a strong substantiation in the scientific and pedagogical literature. We will consider the contents and opportunities of applying the principle of systems differentiation to solve general and particular questions of ecological education.

BACKGROUND AND MODERN INTERPRETATION OF THE PROBLEM

The objectivity of the principle of systems differentiation was proved in the works of neuro-physiologists I. Sechenov (Sechenov, 1953) and N. Chuprikova (Chuprikova, 1997), psycho-linguist A. Potebnya (Potebnya, 1989), psychologists Jean Piaget (1969) and L. Vygotsky (Vygotsky, 1960, 1991), etc.

According to Sechenov, the child's learning of the external world always begins with the break-down of some panorama of sensual images nondismembered previously. And this process is organically connected with the occurrence of the child's first words-concepts. Following the child's social maturing and the enrichment of his vocabulary this nonbreak-downed and generalized panorama of images gradually becomes more and more dismembered, more differentiated into separate structural elements making the whole panorama. In the basis of this process there is a splitting into separate parts of the originally integral pshychological reality. The principle of systems differentiation determines this process (Sechenov, 1953).

These components gradually link with the signs of the language, i.e. words, and become carriers of the elements of thoughts. They are separated from the real world and thus receive an opportunity of free functioning in various acts of mental activity and thinking as a whole (Sechenov, 1953). The prominent psycho-linguist A. Potebnya emphasizes that the child's cognition always goes from the whole to the parts by means of systems differentiation of the wholeness. Potebnya specifies that the development of any child'd idea begins with the decomposition of primarily integral and generalized sensual images by means of speech. This is some wholeness in which a subject, its properties, the child's actions and his attitudes to this subject are organically merged. In the process of speech they are divided from each other, differentiated and they act as independent realities. Such a differentiation is a necessary condition to form simultaneously the child's primary concepts and his intellectual development as a whole (Potebnya, 1989).

Considering the development of the child as the process of his organic maturing J. Piaget marks that the child's first knowledge about his environment always represents syncretic formation ("schemes", "scenarios", etc.) in which everything is in a disorderly heap being nondifferentiated. Emphasizing that the child always thinks by schemes of wholeness, marking that these schemes give him a quite correct notion about occurring events and facts, the psychologist specially stipulates the fact that the schemes used by the child do not yet allow him to decompose the whole into details and particular components.

In these schemes, i.e. integral cognitive systems everything is always merged in one system. And only in the course of the child's development (socialisation) these schemes are becoming more and more differentiated. It makes possible the progress of the child in his general and intellectual development (Piaget, 1969).

Leo Vygotsky considering thinking as the highest psychological function writes that the development is organically connected with the occurrence of words - concepts. He emphasizes that the intellectual development of the child is determined not so much by the level of the development of particular functions, but by interfunctional connections between them. Each separate highest psychological function, each functional component in the development of consciousness depends on a change of the whole, but not vice versa. The outstanding psychologist believes that the first attitudes of the child to his environment always have a nondifferentated character.

Vygotsky writes that every relationship between a child and environment is always reflected through his or her nearest adults. According to Vygotsky, of particular importance is the "child-mother" relationship which underlies all the child's other interactions (Vygotsky,1960,1991).

Between a child and the nature there is a world of human culture consisting of scientific knowledge, everyday concepts, behaviour models, social norms, rules, ideas and myths. In the process of his or her development a child masters these social norms and transfers them onto nature. In this process the most essential role is played by ethical concepts.

The relationship between a child and nature is not a simple one. The "child-social world" interaction is fundamental. The "child-nature" interaction is in relation to this secondary and transferred (Karopa, 1993,1994,1995,1996,1998).

Many authors think that everywhere where there is any process of development (formation of scientific concepts, forming the responsible attitude toward environment, etc.) it goes by way of consistently deeping differentiation. Thus the systems differentiation is a scientific fact and one of major laws of the intellectual development of the child (Butler,1970; Chyprikova,1997; Davydov,1986; Galperin,1976; Karopa,1994,1995; Levin,1998; Piaget,1969; Potebnya,1989; Sechenov,1953; Vygotsky,1960,1991).

However many questions arise in this connection and in this context. What namely is developed in the child with age and education? What namely is the internal substratum which under the influence of many social and biological factors is changed, transformed and turned into a qualitatively new state forming a basis for further development?

According to Chuprikova, the inner cognitive structures, i.e. certain inner stable systems of representation of knowledge in the broad meaning of the word are such developing substrata. At the same time they are the psychological systems of extraction and keeping of the current information (Chuprikova, 1997).

The systems of the representation of knowledge represent original "crystalized" matrixes of reception and extraction of all knowledge about the environment, about the person's place and role in this environment, etc. The information from the environmental world is taken and used by the individual only in that volume and in such form as his cognitive structures allow him to do it. It is extremely important to define the contents of the concept "cognitive structures" (Chyprikova,1997).

From the psychological point of view cognitive structures are rather stable systems of dynamic processes of analysis, synthesis, integration, etc. (Bruner, 1960; Chyprikova,1997; Davydov,1986; Vygotsky, 1960,1991; Piajet, 1969).

The cognitine structures are developing on the basis of the work of analysers. They realize the inborn opportunities of the child's development. The fact that cognitive structures are developing is essentially important for both the theory and practice of education. The development of cognitive structures in ontogenesis goes through their progressive complication in accordance with the principle of systems differentiation. This principle reads that more advanced and highly ordered cognitive structures are developing only from more simple and diffusional structures through their gradual differentiation.

The differentiation of cognitive structures is quite a repeated and indefinite psychological process. For this reason neuro-physiologists describe it in the form of a tree with a branching crown (Chuprikova, 1997). The main condition for the development of cognitive structures is the presence of the highly advanced ability for abstract thinking. The driving force in the development of this ability is the sign-speech signal system. Speech and speech activity carry out the functions of the leading factors in splitting the individual sensual experience. Speech and speech activity are key tools of systems differentiation of cognitive structures.

The psychological mechanisms of splitting the sensual experience are words - or, to be more precise, - concepts. The words-concepts are linked with different objects of the external world by means of mechanisms of temporary link. They are also linked with separate parts, properties and interrelations of the objects. The basic mechanism of binding words - concepts together with objects is differentiation of spatial-temporary systems of excitation.

As a result of such splitting a person lives in a logically ordered and strictly differentiated world. In this world his own existence is precisely separated from external and internal influences. The surrounding objects are characterized by their essential specific properties, attitudes and locations. Due to such differentation causes are separated from consequences, real from seeming, rational from irrational, etc. It is possible to say that the ordered world of the person is a consequence of the complex work of sense-perceptional and verbal systems of the brain during the acts of the reflection of the reality.

The development of the brain also goes from diffusional and little differentiated forms to more and more specialized and discretic forms. Thus, the systems differentiation is not only the leading neuro-physiological mechanism, but also a necessary condition for the mental and general development of the child.

These conclusions are essentially important for the theory and practice of ecological education. They can be a foundation for designing the contents of ecological education, for selecting its forms and methods, for working out textbooks and manuals, for forming the students' responsible attitude towards nature, for creating the system of ecological education as a whole. We will consider some questions of applying the principle of systems differentiation to solve particular problems of ecological education in modern secondary schools and universities.

BASIC REQUIREMENTS OF THE PRINCIPLE OF SYSTEMS DIFFERENTIATION

The most important requirements of the principle of systems differentiation in the ecological education are:

1. The teaching of ecology should begin with the students' acquiring of the knowledge having a generalized and theoretical character. More specific knowledge including different kind of empirical knowledge must be deduced from theoretical knowledge as a unified basis.
It is necessary already on initial stages of teaching and forming the students' responsible attitude towards nature to show the system of ecological ideas and in this connection to introduce the most important scientific, ecological and moral-ecological concepts into the students' thinking. Certainly, such a concentrated introduction of ideas and concepts does not yet provide their good mastering. However it gives the students an integral and essentially correct notion about the object under consideration, about its state and problems. It provides an excellent basis for future differentiation and forming the studends' responsible attitude towards nature.

Due to this approach some generalized mental models are formed in students' thinking. Then they will stage by stage be differentiated and certain particular knowledge will be deducated from them. The empirical knowledge and specific examples will be introduced in this context. In this approach the teaching of ecology is a process of differentiating general, theoretical and abstract knowledge and further deducing from this theorethical knowledge some individual, particular, specific and empirical cases and examples.

2. The teaching of ecology should be directed at revealing and disclosing some general correlations determining the contents and structure of modern ecology.

The bright examples of such general correlations in the contents of modern ecology are: "ecological system", "integrity of ecological systems ", "ecological balance", "ecological interaction", "development of ecological systems", "ecological problem", etc. These correlations have essentially abstract character and represent certain difficulties for students' understanding. These abstract concepts should be reproduced (embodied) by the pupils themselves in specific sign-symbolical or graphic models which make it possible to analyse the correlations.

Modelling allowing to separate significant from insignificant and variable from invariable is so important in the teaching of ecology that it can be considered as one of the principles of ecological education. The teaching of ecology should be based on defining and mastering similar theoretical correlations.

In other words, the teaching of ecology based on the principle of systems differentiation should be oriented not to mastering isolated pieces of information (as it usually takes place in modern teaching practice), but to disclosing the principles of ecology, understanding the system of ecological laws, to revealing numerous interrelations between different natural and social factors.

The leading role in the process of teaching belongs to theory, principles and laws. Different facts and empirical data must be used in the way necessary for disclosing, realizing and mastering initial ecological correlations and theory as a whole.

This approach does not underestimate the importance of practical and field work. It requires that practical work be organized on the basis of this or that correlation, law or theory previously realized.

3. Knowledge should be acquired by students when they analyse the objective conditions of its origin.

In the teaching of ecology it is necessary to widely apply a historical approach to explain the objective necessity of the occurrence and development of this or that scientific theory, to show its role and importance in the investigation of different phenomena. Special attention should be paid to practical applications of theory.

4. The teaching of ecology should provide not only mastering by the students of some basic theoretical knowledge, but also special skills to concretize these rules by empirical knowledge. This assumes to use mental transitions from general to particular and from particular to general. In other words, the revealed general correlation should be repeatedly concretized by the facts and examples from the students' practical activities.

The concretization of the initial correlation and further generalization of its results lead to the formation of the students' personal principles of explaining and understanding the reality.
The students' personal models of ecologically competent behaviour in natural environment can be formed only on the basis of these generalized principles. A more effective formation of ecologically competent behaviour may be promoted by special exercises, practical work and nature protection activities.

THREE STAGES IN THE PROCESS OF ECOLOGICAL EDUCATION

The teaching of ecology based on the principle of systems differentiation is always a process of solving more and more complicated educational tasks. This process includes three main stages (structural components):

1) introduction-motivation stage;
2) working stage;
3) evaluation stage.

These structural components must take place in every teaching process as a whole as well as in both conducting lessons and in other forms of in-door and out-door activities. The basic unit in such teaching is an educational theme but not a lesson. The lesson does not always reflect all three stages of the effective teaching process.

We will consider in detail the contents of each component and basic requirements of the principle of systems differentiation.

1. The introduction-motivation stage provides general understanding of the essence, contents and structure of the theme to be investigated. It is to define the place of the theme in the structure of ecological science and the effect the students will get in the result of mastering it. All this makes a good foundation for all further educational activities and provides an appropriate motivation. On this stage the teacher generally explains the essence of a new correlation, organizes a more differentiated study of theoretical knowledge.

Then the students' cognitive activity is organized as a process of solving more and more complicated educational tasks.

2. Working stage is devoted to studying the contents of the theme, mastering a general correlation, its further concretization and differentiation, mastering new mental and practical skills, allowing consciously to use theoretical knowledge for solving a certain problem.

In order to master the correlation students must solve a number of particular tasks. At the beginning frontal work can be organized. In this context such methods as illustrative explanation, demonstration of models and examples, etc. can be used. Then different forms of group and individual work should be used.

Sometimes it is very useful to begin the study of a new theme from the presentation of any sensual material. However studying any theoretical material (for example- correlation or law) it is recommended to present it in abstract, schematic form. This way (from general to particular) should be a priority in the teaching of ecology and forming the students' responsible attitude towards nature. Obviously, in the contents of modern ecological education gereral theoretical knowledge prevails, and it requires significant differentiation

On this stage different kind of models (graphic, logic, sign-symbolical , etc.) should be widely used. The theoretical investigation of the problem with the help of models creates an excellent basis for practical exercises and further activities. The way from theoretical investigations to practical activities lies through the systems differentiation.

3. The evaluation stage provides the synthesis of the acquired knowledge, skills, new mental and practical activities. Here the students correlate their results with both the tasks previously planned and reality. They analyze the work they have done, find out the knowledge and skills they have acquired, the mistakes they have made and the ways to avoid them in the future. On the basis of systems analysis and self-analysis students evaluate their activities and acquire additional motivation for future self-education.

The important tasks of this stage are the development of the students' reflexional activity. Reflexion is the process and the result of investigating some personal studies, i.e. it is self-analysis, understanding one's own emotional-mental conditions and states. It is quite necessary for any good educational process. It develops the students' qualities which determine their responsible attitude towards nature. In this context this stage may be defined as reflexional.

In the teaching of ecology all three stages we have considered must take place. The inroduction-motivation stage is absolutely necessary, because without it students can not make a generalized correct concept about the object and realize the correlation. Obviously, without it the students' activities will be blind and nonrealized. For this reason such activities will not promote the development of the person and the formation of the responsible attitude towards nature. Namely this stage determines in the first turn the success of any pedagogical activity.

The importance of the working stage is quite obvious and does not require any special substantiation. Moreover, without this stage any educational process including the teaching of ecology cannot be carried out at all. Without the evaluation stage, i.e. without the systems analysis and self-analysis the process of teaching will never be quite effective. Only the whole complex of three components in the teaching of ecology may ensure achieving the goals.

BASIC APPROACHES TO WORKING OUT EDUCATION PROGRAMMES

Following the principle of systems differentiation it is possible to propose some basic approaches to working out the educational programmes in ecology: The first approach consists in constructing and disclosing the system of main ecological ideas forming the whole ecological knowledge (for example- the idea about the unity of man, society and nature, the idea about the development of society and nature, the idea about the necessity to improve the interactions between man and nature, etc).

This approach requires to introduce new ecological concepts, notions and facts related to the contents of ideas. The technology of the educational process must be always determined by logic and laws of the students' cognitive activity.

The disclosing of ecological ideas by means of concepts, notions and facts promotes the formation of theoretical thinking and mastering the programme material. It also removes the necessity to remember large volumes of information. In turn it considerably reduces the load on the students' memory. This approach can also serve to more rational integration of ecological, geographical, biological, ethical, etc. knowledge. In this context this approach may be characterized as the willingness to teach many things through a few ones.

The second approach consists in working out the programmes on the basis of conceptional structure of ecology as a science. In such programmes the scientific concepts are structured and transferred onto real ecological problems and situations. A very important moment here is finding the extreme wide ("universal") concept embodying in itself a number of narrower concepts. In the teaching of ecology the function of the basic concept "ecosystem" can be successfully carried out. It is also possible to use the concept "biosphere" in this way.

During introductory lessons the generalized system of interdependent concepts allows the students to see the whole before its components, to make further differentiation of basic concepts, to realize the importance of the responsible attitude towards nature.

The important requirement for such programmes is the conformity of the logic and structure of ecology as a subject to the logic and structure of ecology as a science.

The third approach provides acquainting the students with basic paradigms of modern ecology. Good examples of ecological paradigms are the socio-historically determined interaction between man and nature, the state of environment and ecological monitoring, the development of global urbanization and prospects of mankind, food problems and basic ways of their solution, the global warming and world community, etc. This approach may be very useful for working out effective supplementary ecological courses which provide good opportunities for more advanced and deeper studies of one or several topics of modern ecological science.

The fourth approach assumes deep studying of the most important ecological problems of the Earth, separate continents, countries and regions, native places, etc. It may also allow to reveal the most important causes of modern ecological crises. A very important component of such programs is considering possible ways of overcoming ecological crises, involving students into real nature protection activities.

In programs of this type some ecological knowledge, ecological ideas, scientific and moral-ecological concepts, notions, laws, facts, etc. are considered in the context of certain territory (for example - the Earth, a continent, a country, a region, a district, etc.). Three levels of considering ecological problems should be always strictly taken into account: global, regional (national) and local. They form within themselves a certain hierarchical system.

According to the principle of systems differentiation the consideration of ecological problems should begin with the study of global ecological crises and their basic causes. Primary studying of the global problems will allow the students to realize deeper the common to all mankind character of modern ecological crises, to reconstruct their earlier acquired everyday concepts about norms of interaction between man and nature on the basis of ecology as a science. All this is very important for a good teaching of ecology and forming the students' responsible attitude to nature and ecological thinking as a whole.

The fifth approach consists in primary acquainting of the students with the methods of modern ecological researches and involving the students in direct practical nature protection activities. In programs of this type the methods of ecological researches are considered as cristalised knowledge ready for its practical application. In this way the methods are certain tools for solving various ecological problems.

The main task of the programs of this type is the organization of laboratory and practical work, field ecological work, ecological camps, expeditions, different kinds of nature protection activities, etc.

These programs do not at all deny the importance of the scientific theory. All kinds of researches and practical nature protection activities should be organized on the basis of some general principles, theoretical correlations, laws, etc. previously realized and mastered. Here theory always precedes practical activities. However the results of practical activities confirm, concretize and make deeper the previously realized general theoretical correlation, principle, law, etc. The sixth approach to working out the educational programs is to provide acquainting students with the basic historical periods in the interactions between man and nature from the moment the first human communities appeared to the prospects of such interractions in the future. This approach can be defined as eco-historical. Its most important feature is disclosing by the students of the contradictory character of the interaction betweem man and nature in different historical epochs. It requires to analyse the essence and causes of contradictions, to show in the historical context the basic results of investigating nature, to convince the students in the necessity of the responsible attitude towards nature.

The programs of this type assume that ecological knowledge should be combined with ethical and moral-ecological norms, rules of ecological ethics, major philosophical and ecological doctrines. As a whole such programs have a humanitarian character and are strictly oriented to the formation of the students' careful, responsible attitude towards nature.

CONCLUSION

The above considered approaches do not exhaust all types of educational programs used in the teaching of ecology. There may be a lot of other decisions. At the same time it is necessary to note that working out of educational programs requires the use of different approaches. An example of the program combining various approaches is the course "Ecology" for secondary schools. It was worked out by the participants of eco-educational project "Green Class"(Man and Nature, 1997).

LITERATURE

A Guide to Curriculum Planning in Environmental Education. Madison, 1991.
Alternative Paradigms in Environmental Education Research / Ed. By R. Mrazek. Troy, 1993.
Bruner J.S. The Process of Education. N.Y.,1960.
Butler J. The Role of Value Theory in Education // Theories of Value and Problems of Education. Chicago, 1970.
Children and Adolescents: Interpretive Essays on Jean Piaget. N.Y., 1981.
Chuprikova N.I. Psychology of Mental Development, Moscow, 1997.
Cornell J.B. Sharing Nature with Children, London, 1990.
David Th. Environmental Literacy //School Review. 1974. ? 4.
Davydov V.V. Problems of Developing Education. Moscow,1986.
Ecological Education of Schoolchildren / Ed.I.D.Zverev, I.T.Suravegina. Moscow, 1983.
Ecological and Environmental Education Initiatives in Britain / Ed. Monica Haale. London, 1987
Education, Ecology and Development: The Case for an Education Network / Ed. Colin Lacey and Roy Williams. London, 1987.
Education for Sustainability / Ed. John Huckle and Stephen Sterling. London, 1996.
Environmental Education: A source - book / Ed. By G.I. Troost and M.Altman. N.Y., 1972.
Environmental Education: Perspectives and Prospectives. Columbus, 1975.
Environmental Education in the European Union. Luxembourg, 1997.
Environmental Education: Principles and Practice / Ed. Sean Carson. London, 1978.
Environmental Education: Strategies Toward a More Livable Future / Ed. James A. Swan and William B. Stapp. NY, 1974.
Environmental Study Area Workshop. Washington, 1972.
Galperin P.Y. Introduction to Psychology. ?oscow, 1976.
Gore A. The Earth in the Balance. N.Y., 1995.
Karopa G. Eastern European Perspective: Environmental Education in Belarus // Environmental Education, Walsall, 1999. Vol. 61.
Karopa G. Psychological Aspect of Environmental Education // YII International Congress of Ecology: Abstracts: Florence, 19-25 July 1998.
Karopa G.N. Leo Vygotsky and his cultural-historical theory // Adukatsia i vykhavanne, Minsk, 1996. ? 12.
Karopa G.N. Environmental Education on Geography Lessons// Narodnaya Asveta, Minsk, 1992. ? 6.
Karopa G.N. Environmental Education of Rural Schoolchildren// Narodnaya Asveta, Minsk, 1990. ? 9.
Karopa G.N. Environmental Education in Rural Schools. Minsk, 1993.
Karopa G.N. The Systems Approach to Environmental Education. Minsk, 1994.
Karopa G.N. To the Creation of New Techniques of Environmental Education // Questions of psychology, Moscow, 1995, ? 1.
Karopa G.N. Biogeography and Basics of Ecology, Gomel, 1994.
Karopa G.N. The Questions of Environment and Sustainable Development in Modern Secondary Schools, Gomel, 1998.
Karopa G. Letter from Belarus //TEG News., 1998, ?23.
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Man and Nature / Ed. G.Karopa, Gomel, 1997.
Massey N. B. Patterns for the Teaching of Science. Toronto, 1966
Neal P., Palmer J. Environmental Education in Primary School. Oxford, 1990.
Palmer J., Neal P. The Handbook of Environmental Education. London, 1994.
Piaget J. Selected Psychological Works. Moscow, 1969.
Potebnya I.A. Word and Myth. Moscow, 1989.
Sechenov I.M. Selected Works. Moscow, 1953.
Simmons D. Papers on the Development of Environmental Education Standards. Dekalb, 1995.
The First National Congress for Environmental Education Futures: Policies and Practices. Colombus, 1983.
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Vygotsky L.S. Development of the Highest Psychological Functions. ?oscow, 1960.
Wildlife Habitatas: An Environmental Education Resource for Key Stage 3: London, 1985.



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MAN AND NATURE


Man and Nature: Experimental programmes of educational (compulsory and facultative) courses for pupils of comprehensive schools and special educational institutions / Editor Dr.Gennady Karopa.- Gomel, 1998.

* * *

In conditions of increasing crisis of the environment of special importance are the questions of the environmental education directed at the formation among the population of norms of the responsible attitude towards nature. The primary role and basic functions in solving this problem belongs to contemporary schools providing good facilities for systematic training, education and development of each citizen of our community. However schools today have certain difficulties in carrying out the effective environmental education of the pupils. First of all it can be explained by the fact that the mechanisms involved in the process of forming the person's responsible attitude towards nature have not been investigated yet. One more reason is the absence of educational and methodical manuals, textbooks and scientifically based programmes checked in school practice. Realizing these difficulties and trying to help school teachers the Belarusian National Green Class Association for many years has been making experimental researches to create a new system of environmental education of schoolchildren. The Green Class has been working out manuals and programmes on ecology. The results of this work have been illustrated by local and national press and presented as reports at many international forums, conferences and seminars.

The present edition is addressed primarily to school teachers. It can be also useful for teachers of technical and vocational schools and for university lecturers.The edition contains programmes for compulsory and facultative courses.

The Green Class Association expresses a sincere gratitude to Gomel Regional Branch of the Belarusian Soros Foundation, Gomel City Department of Education, the University of Gomel, headmasters and teachers of secondary schools and commercial firm AltEc (Gomel) for various help and financial support.


CONTENTS:
1. Ecology .. ...............
...........................................................................5
2. Man's Health and Ecology
................................................................ 25
3. Ecology and Health of the Man
.....................................................30
4. Basic of Hydroecology..........................
............................................. 36
5. Ecology and Culture
......................................................................... 41

References
............................................................................
.......... 49


ECOLOGY

(Experimental programme for pupils of the 6-11-th Forms)

The course "Ecology" (6-11 Forms) is aimed at the formation of pupils' responsible attitude towards nature as a universal value. It can be achieved through a system of scientific knowledge, appropriate skills, the generalization of personal qualities and development of basics of ecological thinking.

The basic tasks of the course are as follows:

1. Developing the system of scientific ecological knowledge, nature protection skills, major moral and ecological qualities, basics of ecological thinking and consciousness.

2. Providing the system of norms and rules of ecologically competent behaviour and activity of the person in natural and social environment.

3. Developing the children's needs to communicate with nature, inspiring the activities in nature protection.

4.Enriching the schoolchildren with moral experience of the positive attitude towards nature, developing their ethical norms and criteria of evaluating the person's attitude to living beings and biosphere as a whole.

The course "Ecology" has interdiscipline character and fulfils the idea of a major course in the environmental education of schoolchildren (Karopa,1993,1994)..

The contents of this course has the following structure:

6-th Form (12 years old): "Ecology of Biosphere " (34 hours, 1 hour a week);

7-th Form (13 years old): "Environment and its Factors " (34 hours, 1 hour a week);

8-th Form (14 years old): "Ecology of Living Systems " (34 hours, 1 hour a week);

9-th Form (15 years old) : "Ecology of the Man " (34 hours, 1 hour a week); 10-11-th Forms (16-17 years old): "Social Ecology " (68 hours, 1 hour a week).

The study of the course "Ecology" requires the use of main principles of the system approach and the establishment of close links with traditional problems of geography, physics, chemistry, history, literature, etc. It also requires certain combinations of lectures, seminars and laboratory works with children's activities in nature protection.

The indispensable condition to succeed with the programmes is close communication and friendly cooperation between teachers, schoolchildren and their parents, public ecological organizations, "green" movement, mass media, etc.

The programme "Ecology" has been put into practice in many secondary and specialized schools of the Republic of Belarus.

6-th Form
ECOLOGY of BIOSPHERE
(34 hours, 1 hour a week)

FOREWORD: In conditions of sharp ecological crises a special social importance is given to questions of environmental protection and formation of the person's responsible attitude towards nature. During the study of this course it is extremely important to ensure mastering by the schoolchildren of generalized knowledge and skills directed at protecting and saving the biosphere - a common home for all living beings including mankind. The given course is also aimed at forming the generalized notion about biosphere as a common home for all living beings. One of the tasks of this course is to develop the schoolchildren's interest in ecological knowledge, modern environmental problems, questions of interaction of the man with the environment. During the study of this course the most important are the following methods: observation, field work, experimental work, excursions, close contacts between children and local community.

INTRODUCTION
(2 hours)

The concept of ecology. Ecology as a science about a common home for all living beings. Modern ecology as a synthetic science. The importance of ecology in the life and activities of the man.

1. General Features of Biosphere

(10 hours including 2 hours for practical work )

The concept of biosphere. The Universe and borders of biosphere. Vladimir Vernadsky about biosphere and the eternity of life. The difference between the live and the dead. Life and basic forms of its organization. The variety of organisms in biosphere. Biodiversity in biosphere. Plants, fungi and animals in biosphere. Human beings as a part of biosphere. The Earth - our common wonderful home. The basic conditions of existence and development of life on the Earth. Biosphere as a global ecological system.

Practical work and excursions: 1. Fact-finding autumn excursion into nature (forest, lake, etc.). 2. Growing microorganisms on organic substances.

2. Unity and Variety in Biosphere
( 8 hours including 2 hours for practical work)

The distribution of living beings in biosphere. Major natural zones on the Earth. The animal population of arctic deserts. Tundra - a cold land without forests. Taiga: coniferous forests in the zone with a temperate climate.
Mixed and deciduous forests and their inhabitants. Steppes: extensive areas of grassy vegetation. Hot deserts: adaptation of plants and animals to high temperatures and lack of water. Savannah: large herbivorous and magnificent predators. Tropical rainforests: the unique variety of life. High mountains and their inhabitants. Living beings on the glaciers and eternal snows.The interrelation of natural zones.

The unity of organic world on the Earth. The general notion about the geographical structure of biosphere.

The general notion about producers, consumers and decomposers, about their role in biological circulations and life of biosphere as a whole. The role of living organisms in the development of biosphere, in the circulations of the basic substances and elements on the Earth.

Water circulation and its importance for biosphere. Oxygen circulation in biosphere. Carbon circulation and green plants. Oxygen and carbon circulations as a result and condition for life.

The Sun's role in the circulation of basic substances. The basic principles of existence of life in biosphere.

Practical work: 1.Drawing and analysing the scheme of circulation of oxygen in biosphere. 2. Observing and explaining the interrelations between the inhabitants of the school aquarium. 3. Drawing up the rules of personal behaviour in nature.

3. The Man's Influence on Biosphere
(5 hours including 1 hour for practical work)

The rise of the man in biosphere. Primitive man and his environment. The types of man's influence on nature in different historical epochs. The man's activities as factors of the environment. The general notion about the anthropogenic factor of the environment. Direct and indirect anthropogenic influences, their mutual interdependence. Ecology of biosphere in the epoch of scientific and technological progress.

The general notion about pollution and its main kinds. Pollution of water, air, soil and food. Radioactive contamination and its causes. Unity of man and biosphere, main causes and some consequences of breaking this unity. Practical work: 1. Observing the ecological conditions of a local pond or lake, finding out the degree of its pollution.

4. Biosphere Protection
(5 hours including 2 hours for practical work and excursions)

Negative changes in biosphere as a result of man's activities. The present and remote consequences of man's activities. The "extinction" of biosphere. The necessity of biosphere protection.

Measures undertaken to preserve biodiversity. The rules of personal behaviour in nature. The rules of taking care of home animals and room plants. Ways to prepare soil, to plant and water plants. The examples of ethical (humane, sympathetic, etc.) person's attitude towards living beings.

Practical work and excursions. 1. Studying the behaviour of the inhabitants of the school corner of a live nature. 2. Observing the peculiarities of vital functions of home animals. 3. Composing and substantiating the rules of person's behaviour in nature (within real ecological conditions). 4. Participating in public useful nature protection activities (for example - gardening of the school territory)

GENERALIZING REVISION
(2hours)

Preparing and conducting the role play "Biosphere in the Past, Present and Future ".

7-th Form

ENVIRONMENT AND ITS FACTORS
(34 hours 1 hour a week)

FOREWORD. The course "Environment and its Factors " is directed first of all at the formation of the system of scientific ecological concepts about the environment and its major factors, of skills allowing not only to perceive correctly and to understand their social and natural ennvironment, but also to demonstrate ecologically competent behaviour and activities. All this, no doubt, is the major factor of developing the schoolchildren's careful and responsible attitude towards nature as a universal value. Besides indoor activities (lessons, seminars, laboratory work, lectures, discussions, etc.), the course provides actions and excursions into nature, activities in the sphere of enriching the nature of native places. Thus of extreme importance are the problems of developing the skills to carry out observations within nature, to describe accessible environment, to establish and explain causal links within nature, to carry out work propagating the ideas of the careful and responsible attitude of the person towards nature. An important role in the study of this course is given to the independent work of pupils with various sources of knowledge (textbooks, reading-books, directories, manuals, dictionaries, etc.).

INTRODUCTION
(3hours)

Ecology as a science about the interrelations between living organisms and their habitat. E.Haeckel as the founder of scientific ecology. The subject and main problems of modern ecology. The links between ecology and other sciences. The role of ecology in the life of people. Methods of ecological research. The ecological experiment and its importance for modern science.

1. General Notion About Environment and its Factors
(3 hours)

The concept of environment. Natural environment. Social environment. Interrelations between natural and social environment.

The notions of biotic, abiotic and and anthropogenic factors of environment. Environment as a system of factors. Different kinds of environment of life on the Earth. The examples of the interrelation between the state of environment and man's health.

2. Abiotic Factors of Environment
(18 hours including 10 for practical work and excursions)

2.1. Light
(4 hours including 2 hours for practical work)

Light as an ecological factor. The sun as a basic source of light on the Earth. The influence of light on the growth and development of living organisms. The ability of plants, animals and man to absorb the Sun's energy.

Light requiring and shade requiring plants. The animals conducting a day time, night and crepuscular mode of life. The dependence of human races on the solar energy. The seasonal phenomena in nature. The concept about biorhythms. Daily, seasonal and long-term rhythms. Phenology changes in nature.

Practical work and excursions: 1. Observing the daily activities of birds. 2. Drawing up and analysing the diagrams of home animals' activities. 3. Drawing up the scheme of the "flower clocks" (based on the observation of decorative plants). 4. Studying the biorhythms of the vital processes in a human organism. The analysis of "biological clocks " in one's organism. 5. Phenology observations in nature.

2.2. Water
(3 hours including 1 hour for practical work)

The role of water in nature and man's life. Water as a solvent. Water in living organisms. Water in the Earth atmosphere and environment. The rate and character of atmospheric precipitation. The distribution of atmosphere precipitation during a year (on the examples of moderate, tropical and equatorial zones). The adaptation of living organisms to conditions of water rate and humidity.

Hydro-, meso- and xerofil organisms. Plants-xerofits. Succulents. Ephemers. The ecological problems of surface waters and of the World ocean.
Practical work: 1. The ecological analysis of various water communities. 2. The definition of ecological groups of plants (with the help of herbarium and determinant of plants). 3. The study of the animal's adaptation to the conditions of the water rate (using collections of animals). 4. Ecological excursion to a local enterprise for clearing water.

2.3. Temperature
(3 hours including 1 hour for practical work)

Temperature as a factor of the environment. The importance of temperature for living organisms. The body temperature of living organisms. The temperature of external environment. The interrelations between them. Temperature and vital processes in an organism. Heat-loving and cold-loving organisms, the peculiarities of their geographical distribution and ability to live. The influence of the temperature of the external environment on the growth and development of living organisms. The adaptation of organisms to the temperature factor.

The temperature factor and a human organism. The thermal pollution of the environment and measures to reduce it. The interrelation between temperature and humidity. The green house effect.

Practical work: 1. The comparative analysis of the rate of temperatures in a large city and in the countryside. 2. Drawing up the list of measures to reduce the level of thermal pollution in the city or region.

2.4. Atmospheric Air. Wind.
(3 hours including 2 hours for practical work)

The relative constancy of atmospheric air, factors of its maintenance. The role of green plants in the production of oxygen. Equatorial forests as the lungs of the Earth.

The increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, factors causing it. Air pollution in large cities and industrial regions. Atmospheric air protection.
Wind as an ecological factor. The role of wind in the distribution of seeds, fruits, plants and animals. The transportation of pollutants by wind. "Acid rains" in Scandinavia and East Europe. The global character of modern ecological problems.
Practical work: The definition of the level of contamination of atmospheric air in the city or district. 2. Working out possible measures to reduce the level of carbon dioxide in the atmospheric air. 3. Studying the influence of wind on the distribution of plants seeds and on the formation of the crown of trees.

2.5. Ionizing radiation
(3 hours including 1 hour for practical work)

The general notion about ionizing radiation. Background radiation and its sources (space, rocks). Radiation caused by man. The Chernobyl accident (1986) and its consequences for nature, man and society.
The influence of the ionizing radiation on plants, animals and man. "The biological accumulation" of radionucleides in living organisms. Some ways to reduce the biological accumulation in a human organism. The main rules and norms of radiohygiene. Life on contaminated territories.

Practical work: 1. Drawing up the rules of personal radiohygiene (with the help of radioecologists, doctors, etc., using additional literature and statistical data ).

2.6. Soil
(2 hours)

The general notion about soil and soil factors. Soil and its influence on living organisms. Basic types of soils and their inhabitants. The ecological problems of the soil cover of the Earth.

Desertation. Erosion. Salinization. The protection and reproduction of soils. The methods of determining soils with the help of plants - indicators.

Practical work (on the locality): "How to stop the growth of ravines? "

3. Biotic factors
(4 hours including 1 hour for practical work)

The concept about biotic factors. Mutual links between plants, animals, mushrooms and microorganisms. The change of environment under the influence of living organisms.

The general characteristic of basic biotic relations (symbiosis, competition, predatoriness, parasitism, antagonism). The main causes of the infringement of biotic relations in the biosphere. The examples of biotic relations and their infringements in a live nature.

Practical work: 1. The observation and study of the biotic relations between the residents of the school aquarium. 2. The study and analysis of the basic types of biotic relations (on the example of the inhabitants of the deciduous forests)

4. Antropogenic factors
(4 hours including 1 hour for practical work)

The concept about anthropogenic factors. Kinds and forms of the influence of the man on living organisms and on the biosphere as a whole. Direct and indirect influences of the man on nature.
Global, regional and local ecological problems. Ecological problems in the Republic of Belarus.
The responsible attitude towards nature and its examples. The rational use, preservation and reproduction of natural resources. The study, estimation and forecast of the state of environment and natural resources in the region.

Practical work: 1. Revealing and analysing abiotic, biotic and anthropogenic factors influencing the living organism (on the example of plantain).

GENERALIZING REVISION
(2 hours)

The educational ecological game "Find me" (the definition of various plants using their description and illustrations).

8-th Form

ECOLOGY of LIVE SYSTEMS
(34 hours, 1 hour a week)

FOREWORD. The basic idea of this course is that nowadays man's activities in biosphere require the increase of his responsibility for the state and development of live ecological systems. The main goal of the course is to form the concept about different levels of ecological systems, to develop necessary skills to study living organisms, biogeocoenosis, populations and natural communities, to promote the children's interest to study the laws of nature. The course is to form scientific concepts about live substance, an organism, population, biogeocoenosis, an ecological system and biosphere as a whole. It also develops knowledge about the interrelations between living organisms and their habitats. The course assumes carrying out practical and laboratory work, organizing field researches allowing to use different knowledge, received at the lessons of biology, geography, physics, chemistry, mathematics, history, etc. to solve this or that educational task.

INTRODUCTION
(2 hours)

Ecology as a science about live ecological systems, about their relations between themselves and their environment. The concept about live ecological systems. Ludwig Berthalanfi about biological systems. The examples of live ecological systems: organism, individual, population, biogeocoenosis, biosphere. Biosphere as an example of a live ecological system. The unique character of the phenomenon of "life". The ecological problems of live systems.

1. The Concept About Ecological System
(3 hours)

Ecological systems, their properties and peculiariies. The types and hierarchy of ecological systems. Natural and artificial ecological systems. Aquarium as the simplest ecological system.
The elements of an ecosystem and their interrelations. The external links of an ecosystem. The stability and development of an ecological system. Macro-, meso- and microecological systems. Typical ecological systems in Belarus.

Practical work: Studying the structure of the ecological system (on the example of the school aquarium).

2. The Concept About Biogeocoenosis
(7 hours including 3 hours for practical work)

Biogeocoenosis as an example of an ecological system and an element of biosphere. The structure of biogeocoenosis. Biotop and biocoenosis. A variety of biogeocoenoses in biosphere. Phytocoenosis and its role in biocoenosis. Zoocoenosis and its dependence on phytocoenosis. The links in biocoenosis. Artificial biogeocoenoses.

The spatial structure of biogeocoenosis. The levels of biogeocoenosis. Producers, consumers and decomposers in the life of biogeocoennoses. The peculiarities of water biogeocoenosis and its structure. Ecological groups of living organisms of water biocoenosis (nekton, bentos and plankton).

Practical work: 1. The description of the basic elements of biogeocoenosis (on the trial site). 2. Studying the spatial and functional structure of biogeocoenosis (on the example of cultural park or meadow). 3. Drawing up the scheme of food chains in biogeocoenosis (on the example of mixed forest).

3. The Concept About Population
(9 hours including 4 hours for practical work)

The ecological essence of the concepts of "individual" and "population". Ecological interrelations within the population. Kinds of interrelations. The integrity of population and factors determining it. The specific, sexual and age structure of the population.

The steady reproduction as a condition determining the development of the population. Non-uniformity of the distribution of individuals within the population. The hierarchy of individuals within the population.

The individual activity of organisms. A dwelling-place and natural habitat. Types of natural habitats and causes determining them. Cosmopolits. Endems. Relics. Some ways of protecting individuals and populations. Rational and irrational use of populations.

Practical work and excursions: 1. Determining plants and animals, drawing up their ecological characteristics. 2. Determining the conditions of habitats by their appearance. 3. Revealing and analysing the man's activities damaging the environment in the region. 4. Excursion: "Intraspecific and interspecific interdependences in a live nature" (on the example of the population of rooks). 5. Excursion: "The development of the populations of the flowering plants (both wild and cultural)".

4. The Development of Live Systems
(4 hours)

The conditions and factors of the progressive development of ecological systems. Natural and artificial selections. The formation of species in the conditions of anthropogenic influence. The relative balance between extinction and origin of species.

Man as a factor of the reproduction of species. The regulation of population as a basis of a rational use of biological resources. Rare, disappearing and endangered species. The International Red Data Book of Endangered Species. The Red Data Book of the Republic of Belarus. Nature protection legislation.

The system of moral principles, norms and instructions in the attitude to a live nature. The conditions of harmonizing the relations between man and nature. The World Charter of Nature Protection.

Practical work: 1.Drawing up the ecological characteristic of plant population. 2.Studying the degree of choking up crops. 3.Finding out the biological methods of fighting weed plants.

5. The Man and Ecological Systems
(7 hours including 2 hours for practical work)

The influence of man's activities on ecological systems. Changes in the structure, food chains and productivity. The preservation of ecosystems in various natural zones. Man and the ecological system of the World ocean. The principles of creating reserve territories. Reserves and national parks of the World.

Agrocoenosis as an example of an ecological system. The biological methods of protecting agricultural plants and home animals. Pesticides in biosphere. Kinds of pollutants in environment and their unity.

Man and his health in the polluted environment. "City - garden". Animals in the city. The problems of increasing the biological productivity of the Earth.

Practical work: 1. The comparative analysis of natural and artificial ecosystems (on the example of a lake or a pond). 2. Revealing the interrelation between natural and anthropogenic factors in the functioning of local ecological systems (on the exampl of reservoir, lake, cultural park or mixed forest).

GENERALIZING REVISION
(2 hours)

The pupils' conference "Ecological problems of our common home - the Earth".

9-th Form

ECOLOGY of the MAN
(34 hours, 1 hour a week)

FOREWORD. This course is to consider the interdependence between the human health and the state of environment. The main idea of this course is that the conservation of man's health depends on the state of environment and requires optimization of different links in the system "man-society- nature".The goal of the course is to form the system of scientific knowledge about the human organism and ecological laws of its living and functioning, about the internal and external spheres of the human organism, about health as a cumulative effect of various ecological factors. The tasks of the course are to provide applied knowledge about the ways to maintain and preserve one's health, to form sanitary and hygienic skills and to propagate a healthy way of life. This course assumes close links between schools, research and medical institutions, parents, public ecological organizations and mass media.

INTRODUCTION
(1 hour)

Ecology of man as a science about the influence of the socio-natural environment on man's physical and spiritual health. The examples of the dependence of man's health on the conditions of the socio-natural environment.

1.A Human Organism as an Ecological System
(10 hours including 3 hours for practical work)

A human organism as an ecological system. An organism as a unit of the organic world. Self-regulation of the organism. The concept of homeostasis. The examples of the infringement of homeostasis. The ecological balance and factors infringing it.

The interrelation "health - illness". Illness as the infringement of ecological balance in the organism. The examples of infringing the balance between the organism and its environment. The adaptation of the organism to the conditions of the external environment. Health problems in the epoch of ecological crises. The system of measures to strenghten man's health. Practical work and excursions: 1. Solving educational tasks on the exchange of substances between the human organism and its environment. 2.Revealing the causes of some "professional" diseases distributed in the city or region. 3. Working out the system of measures to maintain and strenghthen one's health. 4. The educational excursion to a local medical establishment.

2. Factors of the External Environment and Their Influence on a Human Organism
(11 hours including 3 hours for practical work)

The concept about the external environment and its factors. The environment of man and basic requirements to it. The environment and its regional variants. The influence of climatic conditions on the formation of basic adaptive types of people.

The environment of cultural landscapes (quasi-natural environment). The environment of inhabited areas. Urban environment and its ecological characteristics. Agricultural environment and its peculiarities. Industrial environment and requirements to it. Rural environment and its importance for the person. National parks and resort zones as elements of the environment. The general concept about ecology of culture. The influence of geophysical, geochemical, biological, social, technological, psychical factors on the human organism.

The influence of radioactivity, noise, thermal, electromagnetic and other factors on the human organism. Radiation and man's health. The basic principles and rules of radiomedicine.
The chemical pollution of the environment and its consequences for the human organism.
The space factors of health. Biological rhythms. "Health - illness" of man as the cumulative effect of the interaction of many ecological factors. The necessity of environmental protection.

Practical work and excursions: 1. Estimating the ecological condition of a classroom and some practical measures to improve it. 2. Estimating the ecological conditions of the school's microregion and some practical measures to improve it. 3. Determining the contents of the basic pollutants of the local environment (with the help of ecologists). 4. Determining the state of environment on the basis of the presence or absence of some typical plants and animals (lichens, young trees, etc. ). 5. Excursion to a local sanitary-epidemiological station.

3. Basic Forms of the Person's Attitude to Nature
(10 hours including 4 hours for practical work)

Man and his role in biosphere. Changes in ecosystems as a result of man's activities. The reverse influence of the changed environment on the human organism. Human beings in the changed environment.
Basic ecological laws: the law of a minimum, the law of dynamic balance, the law of the acceleration of evolution. The conditions determining the preservation of life and man's health. "Rome's Club" and its forecasts. The man's attitude towards nature and its basic types. The rational - practical attitude towards nature and its basic forms. The theoretical attitude of man towards environment and its types: philosophical, scientific, mythological. The aesthetic attitude towards nature. The ideas about the reasonable approach to one's health. The spiritual (moral) attitude towards nature. Biodiversity as a condition of physical and spiritual health of the person. The responsible attitude towards nature as a moral norm of the interaction between society and various ecological systems and biosphere as a whole.

Practical work: 1. Working out a scientifically based and reasonable daily routine. 2. Determining the levels of air pollution in the city (with the help of ecologists). 3. Drawing up the forecast of a possible state of environment and the health of the population in the city or region (with the help of ecologists and doctors). 4. Studying the influence of some chemical elements on the human organism (with the help of experts).

GENERALIZING REVISION
(2 hours)

The educational role game "My project to optimize the relations between man and nature in my native place".

10-11-th Forms

SOCIAL ECOLOGY
(68 hours, 1 hour a week)

FOREWORD. This course is directed first of all at the formation of the system of ecological ideas and scientific ecological concepts illustrating the essence of the interraction between society and nature. The course also provides pupils with the knowledge about the influence of the environment on the physical and spiritual health of the person and society as a whole. The basic forms and methods used in the study of this course are intersubject lessons, lectures, seminars, conferences, laboratory work, listening to reports and scientific messages, discussions, work with the representatives of public NGOs and mass media, sociological researches (study of public opinion, questionnaire, interview, rating, etc.). The course is based on the whole complex of scientific, ecological and humanitarian knowledge and skills, schoolchildren have acquired during the study of previous courses. It also assumes a wide use of intersubject links between ecology and geography, philosophy, psychology, ethics, history, literature, etc.

10-th Form
Part 1
(34 hours, 1 hour a week)

INTRODUCTION
(3 hours)

Social ecology as a science about ways and historical types of interaction of society and nature, laws of this interaction and ways of its optimization. Cultural-historical determination of the interaction of man and society with environment. The philosophical essence of the category "culture". Material and spiritual culture of society. Peculiarities and character of interaction of society with nature in the modern epoch. The problems of life preservation on the Earth and survival of the mankind. Complex, global and international character of modern ecological problems. The place and role of social ecology in overcoming modern ecological crises.

1. Social Environment and Person
(4 hours including 2 hours for practical work)

The definition of the term "person". Person and environment. The concept about social environment. The concept about the quality of environment. The examples of the person's adaptation to social environment.
Labour as a basic form of the person's influence on nature. The dependence of physical and spiritual health of the person on his labour activity.
Ecologically reasonable mode of labour and rest. Recreational resources and resort zones in Belarus. Basic tendencies in the development of ecological situation in the Republic of Belarus.

Practical work: 1. The estimation of one's health (with the help of medical workers). 2. The estimation of one's attitude to his own health. 3. The estimation of one's attitude towards environment. 4. The analysis of the interrelation between health and environment. 5. The estimation of the quality of environment in one's native place (with the help of ecologists).

2. Person and Technological Progress
(8 hours including 2 hours for practical work)

Examples of changes in the environment caused by technological activities of man and society. Ecological requirements to new engineering and technologies. The protection of environment from the harmful influence of motor transport. The negative influence of polymers on environment.
The danger of radioactive contamination. The mechanisms of the influence of ionizing radiation on the human organism. Ways and methods of protectng the human organism from ionizing radiation. Methods of phytotherapy and phytodiet in protecting from ionizing radiation.

The necessity of systematic observations of environment. The concept about ecological monitoring. The contradiction between technological progress and human health.

Practical work: 1. The determination of the level of the environmental pollution (analyzing tests of snow, taken in different places of the city. 2. Assessment of the level of dustiness in different places of the city. 3. The ecological assessment of biological methods of protecting agricultural plants and home animals. 4. Studying the mechanisms of the influence of some technological processes on environment.

3. Methods of Protecting Nature From the Negative Influence of Man's Activities
(11 hours including 2 hours for practical work)

Technological progress and global changes in environment. The examples of global, regional and local ecological crises.
Man's technogenic activities and environment. New types of environmental pollution. Household garbage and its utilization. Noise and its influence on living organisms and social environment. Methods of protecting the environment from noise pollution. Vibrations and electromagnetic waves, their negative influence on the human organism. The possibility of discovering new factors with the negative influence on the environment. The role of modern science in overcoming ecological crises. State and public organizations in the struggle for the ecologically clean environment. Public opinion as a factor optimizing the relations between man and nature. The ecological estimation of man's activities. The international and republican legislation in the sphere of rational use of natural resources and nature protection. The concept about sustainable development.

Practical work: 1. Revealing the basic sources of pollution in the city or region. 2. Studying the influence of different types of pollution on plants, animals, human organism and other ecological systems. 3. The description of the antropogenic influence on plant communities (using the method of analysis of vegetation on a trial place).

4. Basic Rules of the Environmental Ethics
(4 hours including 1 hour for practical work)

Man and person.
The general notion about environmental ethics.
Environmental ethics as a system of moral principles, norms and instructions, regulating the person's attitude towards nature.
Cultural-historical background of ecological etiquette. Environmental ethics and ecology. T. Sharden, P.Lerua, B.Kommoner, Leo Leopold and Alfred Shweitzer about the principles of the person's attitude to a live nature. Alfred Shweitzer's principle of worshipping life .
The problem of man's love to nature. The basic ways and conditions of forming the ecological culture of the person and society.

The eco-system approach to solving the problems of optimizing mutual relations between society and nature.

Practical work: 1. Studying the ecological culture of people in the native city or village (using sociology researches and analysing the materials of local mass media. 2. Gathering and analysing the sociological data to find out the level of ecological culture of the local community.

GENERALIZING REVISION
(2 hours)

School conference "Ecology and ecological problems of our region"

Part 2
11-th Form
(34 hours, 1 hour a week)

INTRODUCTION
(1 hour)

The basic problems, means and conditions of harmonizing the interrelations between person, society and nature. Basic tendencies in the development of the ecological situation in the world, republic, region.

1. The Prospects in the Development of Biosphere
(16 hours including 3 hours for practical work)

The general laws of the development and functioning of biosphere. The problems of the stability of biosphere.

Sustainable development as a way of life of man and society.
The eco-system approach to the problems of optimizing the person's attitude towards nature. The idea of coevolution of society and nature (N.Moisseyev). The problem of turning biosphere to noosphere. The basic principles and ideas of Vladimir Vernadsky' noosphere doctrine.

Using the achievements of modern science and engineering in the interrelations between man and nature. No-waste technologies. The concept about biotechnology. Problems of preserving biodiversity. The system of reserves and other protected territories. Biosphere reserves in the Republic of Belarus and their role in preserving biodiversity. Breeding endangered species.

Environmental education as a factor of preserving biodiversity and forming the noosphere.
The international cooperation in the field of nature protection.
Organizational, legislative and economic measures in nature protection and rational use of natural resources. The concept about the ecological imperative. Norms of the international ecological law. The system of nature protection in the world, republic, region. Public ecological organizations and their problems. The international program "Man and Biosphere". The International Union of Nature Protection.

Practical work: 1. Working out measures in nature protection in the native city or village. 2. Working out the projects of utilizing the wastes of local industry. 3. The analysis of the international documents in the field of nature protection. 4. Conducting the round-table on the topic "EnviroEthics and Enviromental Education (with the participation of scientists, ecologists, public leaders, etc.).

2. Biosphere and Man's Future
(9 hours including 2 hours for practical work)

People and the Earth.

Modern global problems and tendencies in their development. Man and atmosphere. The destruction of ozon layer and its consequences for man. Human qualities and animal world. Man and vegetation world. Ecological consequences of the destruction of tropical forests. Food problems and increasing soil degradation. Man and the World ocean.

Environmental problems and the ecological responsibility of the person. The principle of the personal responsibility for the state of nature. Prospects of the development of biosphere. A glance at the future.

Practical work: 1. Working out the system of measures allowing to make nature protection economically profitable (with the help of ecologists and economists). 2. Round table on the problem "Modern ecological problems and prospects of man".

GENERALIZING REVISION
(6 hours)

Conducting pupils' conferences, roundtables, pressconferences, youth ecological camps, etc. on the theme "Ecology and ecological problems of the 21st century".


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LIFE AFTER CHERNOBYL: A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE


Belarus is a danger zone. What is a "danger zone"? It is an area where people live facing direct and obvious threats to their health. A danger zone is an area where stability of ecosystems has been irreversibly destroyed over vast territories and rapid negative changes already occur. Certainly, , "a danger zone" is a wider concept than "an environmental critical area", "an environmental problem area", "environmental hot spots", etc., widely used in modern scientific literature.

A danger zone is the result of the interaction of a great many ecological, cultural and political factors and conditions. There is no ecology without economy and politics. Now there can't be efficient politics and economy without ecology. But both ecology and politics always grow up from human values and culture. For present-day Belarus it is especially significant.

We live in the city of Gomel, 135 km north-east Chernobyl. Thirteen years ago about 100 kg of active reactor fuel from the Chernobyl power plant fell out on the territory of Belarus. In terms of contamination this is approximately equivalent to 90 bombs thrown on Hiroshima. The radioactive fallout covered about half the territory of the country: 97, 500 km sq out of 207,600. As a result of the greatest ecological catastrophe the economy of Belarus has lost one-fifth of the arable land, while 40 per cent of the available woodland has been contaminated. The economy losses caused by the accident, taking into account the costs of resettling people from the affected area, have been enormous. The total losses are practically impossible to calculate. Several generations of Belarusians to come will keep vivid memories of Chernobyl.

Yes, Belarus is not a small country, but for such a big calamity - it is small. Nearly a third of its territory has become dangerous to live in. Hundreds of thousands have been living in a danger zone for about 13 years. The authorities often try to save not the people, but the prestige of those who didn't want to see or tell the truth about the scope of the calamity that befell our country in 1986. Moreover, the information and unfavourable data often become classified.

We are sure that a successful solution of modern ecological problems can be achieved only on the basis of common human values. The way to our common sustainable development lies only through the common values and ideas of love, peace, faith and knowledge. Owing to faith and knowledge our world becomes more peaceful and thereby more sustainable. It is essential that now the world is changing from nuclear weapons confrontation to nuclear waste collaboration. Now we have a good chance to survive and do everything possible to make our common future safe and sustainable. Belarus believes in the Future too.

Belarus is a national disaster area. We are facing many ecological, economical and political problems. They are well-known to you. But among the most troubling ecological problems of Belarus is radioactive contamination of vast areas.

1620 thousand people live in districts contaminated with radionuclides. 420 thousand of them are children and infants. All in all 134 thousand people were moved to other places. 198 Belarusian villages ceased to exist. About 18 thousand families with more than 4 thousand children are still living in places where the level of contamination exceeds 15 cu per km sq.

A specialized "Polesye" decontamination enterprise pushed down and buried about 1 500 houses in 18 settlements. It decontaminated 154 objects with the total area of about 350 thousand m sq. Decontamination work is done in Bragin, Khoiniki, Narovlya, Chechersk, Vetka, Dobrush and Buda-Koshelevo districts of Gomel Region. 74 places of buried radioactive waste have been settled.

We can provide a lot of information about the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. But it will take much time. Just a few figures.

* More than 450 different types of radionuclides have penetrated the atmosphere, land, water, soil, food, etc.

* A very big zone in the South of Belarus will be forever unsuitable for people's living. In 1990 The State Ecological Reserve was created in that zone.

*The damage from the Chernobyl disaster for Belarus has been estimated by the sum of 200 billion USD. It equals 31 annual national incomes. Today Belarus spends about 40 % of the national income for overcoming the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. Nowadays the average monthly salary in Belarus is about 30 USD. Obviously, Belarus is the poorest state in Europe.

Alongside with contamination there are lots of economical, demographical, cultural, ethical problems connected with Chernobyl. But the most considerable of them is the health of the Belarusian people and - especially - of our children. It is difficult to think of anything good coming out of the Chernobyl disaster, other than fear, diseases, cancer, leukaemia and death. But anyway life is going on. And figures speak louder than our feelings.

For the last year the population of Belarus has become 33 thousand people less and now it equals 10, 203 thousand. For the last 5 years the level of sickness has increased 12.3 % and among children - 9.7 % per cent. For the years after Chernobyl birth rate has considerably dropped, and death rate has increased 34.9%. Now only 10 % of births process normally. With every passing year the situation is worsening. The main cause - problems with health due to bad diet and diseases acquired in childhood and youth. In some places only 10 % of children have been claimed practically healthy.

It is very costly for an average Belarusian to send his child to a summer camp or a sanatorium to improve his health. The cost is about 100-200 USD, while the wages are about 30 USD a month.

About 15% of food in the diet of rural people have an increased level of radionuclides. Not all people in contaminated areas are provided with clean water. In more than 300 villages the increased contents of Ce-137 has been registered in cow's milk, and in 47 villages - of Sr-90.

All these factors cause the destruction of the immune system, increase of infant and general sickness and lead to the strengthening of the social tensity. An increase of thyroid cancer and mammary gland cancer has been registered. Cases of tuberculosis and diabetes have become more frequent. The majority of the population in the Chernobyl area suffers from different chronic diseases and this extremely negative tendency continues to be aggravated. The dynamics of children's sickness and rejuvenation of such illnesses as cancer, insult, hypertension, infarction, etc. do not leave any hope for the improvement of the situation in the nearest future.

At the same time the population is getting accustomed to radiation and ignores the rules of radioactive safety. One of the causes of such psychological adaptation to radiation is determined by the constant use of methods of "soft" informing of the population about nuclear contamination. New ecological problems, new socio-economic realities and frightening deterioration of people's health require new methods of informing not only about the danger of nuclear contamination, but also about the problems of human rights in the field of getting the authentic ecological and social information.

It is obvious that new methods of ecoinforming should stimulate the appropriate changes in the thinking and public activities of the population living on contaminated territories.

Only those methods of informing the population can bring social changes, which are psychologically based and take into account all main values, attitudes and priorities of modern society. Today in public consciousness the problem of human rights to live in ecologically safe environment and to get the necessary ecological information are not put forward. The common international principle community-right-to-know is not observed in the Republic of Belarus now. Obviously, the problem of getting the ecological information and living in the safe environment are aspects of the general problem of human rights. They can be solved only in a more general socio-legal context.

In 1998 the Gomel Region Health Care Department published statistical data in the brochure "Health Care in Gomel Region". They illustrate the level of sickness of the population of Gomel Region. Here we provide some information taken from the brochure:

Table 1

POPULATION OF GOMEL REGION (1984-1997, in thousands)

Year 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1997
Population 1 668 1 675 1667 1652 1608 1602 1588 1580


Table 2

BIRTH AND DEATH RATES ( per 1 000 people)

Year 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1997
Birth rate 17,5 17,0 16,5 13,5 12,6 12,0 9,5 9,1
Death rate 10,1 9,2 10,0 10,9 11,9 13,0 13,5 13,9

Table 3

INFANT MORTALITY (per 1 000 infants)

Period 1885-1988 1989-1993 1994-1997
Death rate 17,8 13,3 14,1

Table 4

FIRST REGISTERED CASES OF DISEASES (per 1000 people)

1996 1997
total children total children
First diagnosed diseases:
1. Total: 785,4 1208,3 766,8 1276,9
including:
2. infections 48,9 102,1 39,4 95,9
3. cancer 7,6 1,4 7,8 1,4
4. immune distortions 15,7 24,7 10,1 11,4
5. blood diseases 3,47 10,8 3,24 11,8
6. psychic distortions 11,7 9,9 7,8 8,9
7. nerve system diseases 71,9 76,4 65,4 72,2
8. blood circulation diseases 14,8 4,3 15,8 4,4
9. respiratory diseases 359,8 764,0 377,0 848,5
10. digestion system diseases 35,8 60,4 31,7 56,9
11. excretion system diseases 42,3 11,8 39,3 12,3
12. pregnancy distortions 11,1 - 10,2 -
13. skin diseases 48,9 65,7 43,4 72,9
14. bone and muscle diseases 40,4 10,0 41,6 10,6
15. inborn anomalies 0,8 2,6 0,9 3,5
16. perinatal period distortions 2,4 10,9 2,6 12,6
17. symptoms and not diagnosed cases 3,6 10,1 3,2 9,0
18. traumas and poisoning 66,1 42,8 66,0 44,6

Below there is some information about the causes of deaths of Belarusian people only for the period January - March 1998. These data are taken from the national independent mass media.

Table 5

CAUSES OF DEATHS IN BELARUS (January - March 1998):

Total - 35 129;
Cardiovascular diseases - 18 490;
Cancer - 4 859;
Respiratory diseases - 1 758;
Unnatural causes - 3 951;
including:
Drowning - 130;
Suicides - 770;
Violation - 307;
Alcohol poisoning - 710;
Road accidents - 456;
Infectious diseases - 222;
Organs of digestion' diseases - 687.

There are some social questions in these data. For example, high rate of divorces - 68 divorces per 100 marriages. Besides, the population of Belarus is getting older. In 11 districts of Gomel Region there is a shortage of teachers, doctors and skilled agricultural specialists.

Summing up what I have just said we can come to the following conclusions:

*There is an obvious tendency to increasing of the general sickness rate of the population of Gomel Region and Belarus as a whole.

*Especially rapid is the growth of the sickness rate of children. Children are always more dependent on the environment than adults.

*The high sickness rate of the population of Gomel Region is the result of the system interaction of many economical, ecological, demographical, cultural and other factors and conditions. Nuclear contamination is only one, but not a single factor determining the high sickness rate in the contaminated areas.

*It is very difficult to separate the sickness rate caused by nuclear contamination from general sickness rate. Very often there is not any direct correlation between the level of nuclear contamination and the level of the general sickness rate. But there is one exception from this rule. It is the diseases of thyroid gland.

There is a need for a long-term comprehensive programme aiming at joint studying the aftereffects of Chernobyl accident. The success of the programme will directly depend on the degree of openness and the cooperative spirit of both Belarusian and foreign organizations. The global ecological disaster awaids serious investigations, means and measires which are bigger than a single country can handle.

Of course, people's health is the main thing. We are working for Future. Our Future belongs to our children. Most important for us should be children's health. In our country we have poor conditions for improving children's health. That is why the people of Gomel Region are grateful to those countries which help Belarusian children to have a good rest and medical care. Thousands of Belarusian children have improved their health in Germany, Italy, Spain, the USA, Poland, Hungary, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and other countries. The Belarusian National Green Class Association helps local non-profit organizations and ordinary people to establish contacts with foreign partners. We thank very much all foreign countries, foundations and organizations which help us survive in this difficult time in our danger zone.



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Article 5



 
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