Soft Approach Orr Shock Value

My Eco-Literacy Letter 

Ashlyn and I shared many common points in our posts about recycling.  Both of us have a loved one in our lives who is an avid recycler; these people both seemed to be “naturals” at recycling what they can.  Kayla wrote about her friend that shared this interest as well.  The subject of her letter seems much like my brother that I wrote to, as she talks about an enthusiasm for the environment.  To me, this excitement for helping the Earth is what we need to have as teachers in order to inspire our students to want to make positive changes.

I thought it was interesting that Kayla mentioned “loving the natural environment”, because I have never thought about it in this way.  Perhaps having a genuine love for the place that we live is more what we need to strive for, rather than just making our students aware of the negative effects of their actions.  Maybe we, as teachers, should give them opportunities to see value and beauty in the environment; that could be a more beneficial strategy than scaring them into good practices.

To me, eco-literacy is about care, awareness, and experience, and it seems as though the others’ posts support these ideas as well.  You can learn everything there is to know about rocks, animals, and plant life in theory, but you cannot have a true appreciation for it until you allow yourself to be completely immersed in the outside.  Perhaps readings like David Orr have fostered this idea, but that isn’t a bad thing.  He talks about how students are in desperate need of natural experiences.  They need to understand natural processes, of course, but they need to go further than that.  Our students need to see it and have a reason to care.  That’s when we will have an eco-literate generation.  However, Orr takes a different approach to eco-literacy than Kayla, Ashlyn, and I.  He makes use of shock value and, in my opinion, tries to scare people into changing their behaviour; it may be useful in transforming some people’s mindsets, but in our letters we all display eco-literacy in a softer way.  We chose to romanticize and idealize eco-literate behaviour, which isn’t a bad thing, I just thought it was interesting, and perhaps may be successful in influencing the people that Orr’s readings did not.


Orr, David (2004). What is Education for? In Earth in Mind, pp. 7-15. Washington DC: First               Island Press. 

Ashlyn Paidel (2016, January 27). My Letter to You [Blog Post]. Retrieved                                              from

Kayla Lamport (2016, January 26). MY ECOLITERATE FRIEND BRITTANY [Blog Post].                          Retrieved from                                            ecoliterate-friend-brittany/


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