Science and education across cultures: another look at the Negev Bedouins and their environmental management practices
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This is a rejoinder to the original article written by Wisam Sedawi, Orit Ben Zvi Assaraf, and Julie Cwikel about waste-related implication on the welfare of children living in the Negev’s Bedouin Arab community. More specifically, the authors discuss the role of environmental education in the improvement of participants’ life conditions. They do so by analyzing the impact of current precarious waste management practices on children’s health and proposing the implementation of a science study unit in school that could assist them in dealing with the problem. My argument here is divided in three parts: first, based on the original article’s information, I comment on some important characteristics of those unrecognized settlements and their waste production practices; second, I try to determine what kind of environmental education—if any—is necessary in that context to promote the desired changes put forward by the authors; and third, I adopt a cross-cultural approach to science and environmental literacy as means to provoke readers to consider the scientific value (often neglected) of traditional knowledge in attempting to solve the issues described in the original paper. In addition, both the Tbilisi Intergovernmental Conference on Environmental Education (1977) and the Treaty on Environmental Education for Sustainable Societies and Global Responsibility (1992) are used to support my argument, which also encompasses the concept of empowerment. Ultimately, bridging the Bedouin’s traditional knowledge and Western modern science can help to improve science education at the school level in the unrecognized township under study by linking present and past in search of a more sustainable and peaceful future.
KeywordsEnvironmental education Waste Water Empowerment Indigenous knowledge
The author is thankful to Alishia Valeri for her assistance in the preparation of this manuscript.
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