Researchers ‘shocked’ by college biology textbooks’ handling of climate change – The Hill

by | Dec 21, 2022 | Climate Change

Climate change may represent a crisis, but that isn’t how college biology textbooks depict it, according to a new study.

The amount of textbook real estate devoted to climate change has continually expanded since the 1990s, according to the paper from researchers at North Carolina State University, published Wednesday in PLOS.

But since then, the material has moved ever further into the back of the books and become increasingly detached from practical solutions, researchers found, a change that tracks a broader pivot in the field of biology away from organisms and ecosystems and toward cells and microbes.

“We were shocked that textbook passages addressing climate change remained so short, even in recent decades, and that the coverage of solutions actually decreased,” the authors said in a statement.

“The information in these textbooks educated generations; the minimal content about climate change reflects how little the topic has been valued,” they added.

The researchers said they think science education failures may help to explain why a majority of Americans — 57 percent — don’t believe climate change will be a “serious” threat in their lifetimes, according to a 2021 Gallup poll.

What the researchers found

Going into the study the scientists expected that over time, as climate change became more severe and evident, climate coverage would increase and move forward in textbooks — while bringing in more scientific rigor and focus on grassroots or individual actions.

But while coverage did increase, it declined in quality, position and usefulness, researchers found after analyzing 57 college-level textbooks published between 1970 and 2019.

Authors said while textbooks have increased their coverage of climate change since the 1970s — with a particular spike in the 1990s — several notable shifts have made that coverage less us …

Article Attribution | Read More at Article Source

Share This