Saturday, October 01, 2011

crafts and science...

It is so curious that while we live in an age of rapid scientific advancement we also live in a world of profound self-selected and self-sustained ignorance. People have arrived at the conclusion that regardless of what happens, we are free to choose from a smorgasbord of beliefs that need not be compared to physical reality. So we have politicians and religious leaders who deny the existence of global warming. We have huge numbers of people who under slightly different educational and cultural circumstances might have had curiosity about the real world, but instead feel intimidated by science.

This article in the New York Times, Temperature Rising: With Deaths of Forests, a Loss of Key Climate Protectors,discusses the dramatic effects of global warming on our nation's forests. This may seem to be unrelated to the loss of wood shops and other hands-on learning opportunities in our nation's schools. But you cannot successfully whittle a stick without being able to formulate investigatory hypotheses. Can you get it? There is an important interrelationship between crafts and scientific investigation. We move in learning from the concrete to the abstract, and early engagement in crafts forms an essential scaffold for the advancement of science in schools.

I am particularly concerned about our nation's forests and their decline. I am a woodworker, concerned not only for the woods I use, but that they also be available for subsequent generations. I take this personally. I live in the hardwood forests of Northwest Arkansas and I am literally disgusted that pinheaded politicians would put what I love and where I live at such risk when we could be taking steps as a nation to address the causes of global warming.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:01 PM

    I spent last weekend among the hardwood forests of the western NY - northern PA border. Much of the area is state and count owned land, but the rest is privately owned, and as far as I can tell it's being very carefully managed though selective and careful logging. It gives me hope.