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Framework For Earth Systems Education

Earth Systems Science is an effort to establish effective programs in science education that will focus students on the study of the Earth around them. The underlying framework of this effort is found below.

Understanding # 1: Earth is Unique, a planet of rare beauty, and great value

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The beauty and value of Earth are expressed by and for people of all cultures through literature and the arts.

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Human appreciation of Earth is enhanced by a better understanding of its subsystems.

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Humans manifest their appreciation of Earth through their responsible behavior and stewardship of its subsystems.

Understanding #4: The Earth system is composed of the interacting subsystems of water, rock, ice, air and life.
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The subsystems are continually changing through natural processes.

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Forces, motions and energy transformations drive the interactions within and between the subsystems.

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Understanding #2: Human activities, collective and individual, conscious and inadvertent, affect Earth Systems.

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Earth is vulnerable and its resources are limited and susceptible to overuse or misuse.

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Continued population growth accelerates the depletion of natural resources and destruction of the environment, including other species.

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When considering the use of natural resources, humans first need to rethink their lifestyle, then reduce consumption, then reuse and recycle.

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Byproducts of industrialization pollute the air, land and water and the affects may be global as well as near the source.

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The better we understand Earth, the better we can manage our resources and reduce our impact on the environment worldwide.

Understanding #5: Earth is more than 4 billion years old and its subsystems are continually evolving.
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Earth's cycles and natural processes take place over time intervals ranging from fractions of seconds to billions of years.

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Understanding #3: The development of scientific thinking and technology increases our ability to understand and utilize Earth and space.
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Biologists, Chemists and physicists, as well as scientists from the Earth and space science disciplines, use a variety of methods in their study of Earth systems.

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Direct observation, simple tools and modern technology are used to create, test and modify models and theories that represent, explain, and predict changes in the Earth Systems.

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Historical, descriptive, and empirical studies are important methods of learning about Earth and space.

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Scientific study may lead to technological advances.

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Regardless of sophistication, technology cannot be expected to solve all of our problems.

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The use of technology may have benefits as well as unintended side effects.

Understanding #6: Earth is a small subsystem of s Solar system within the vast and ancient universe.
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Understanding #7: There are many people with careers and interests that involve study of Earth's origin, processes, and evolution.
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Teachers, scientists and technicians who study Earth are employed by businesses, industries, government agencies.

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