|HOME SCHEDULE AUTHOR INDEX SUBJECT INDEX|
Teaching environmental impact assessment: Service learning and environmental justice.
O'Malley, Rachel*,1, Marquez-Gonzalo, Ada1, 1 Environmental Studies, San Jose, CA
ABSTRACT- Through a collaboration between the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition and the Environmental Studies Department at San Jose State University, a new "Service Learning" component was added to an existing course on Environmental Impact Assessment. The Service component included community education through neighborhood surveys and meetings, analysis of existing Environmental Impact Reports, on-the-ground analysis of potential environmental effects of proposed new energy plants in the Santa Clara Valley of California, and student presentations of results in affected communities. By contrasting a proposed siting in a predominantly Latino neighborhood with one targeted for a more heterogeneous community with a higher proportion of anglo/caucasian residents, Environmental Justice issues were highlighted as well. The project was generally very successful. Difficulties in achieving academic goals included high coordination and communication requirements/costs, initial student skepticism re: nontraditional teaching techniques, and inadequate tenure and promotion credit. Challenges for Service component included limited participation by community members. On the other hand, the project ultimately was reported to be transformative for both traditionally underserved students -- including second language learners -- and traditionally high achieving students. Successes in the Service arena included providing information about ecological impacts of power plants in both Spanish and Vietnamese, working with local schools and increasing the visibility of Environmental Justice issues in Silicon Valley.
KEY WORDS: environmental education, environmental impact assessment, service learning, environmental justice