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An Interview with Professor Kordavani on the occasion of the Environment World Day
Environment's interdisciplinary nature harms science
14 Jun 2012 - 14:25
Professor P. Kordavani considered the interdisciplinary nature of environmental science at the level of academic education in our country as an injury and said: the necessary expertise, including familiarity with chemistry and knowing about diseases are obligatory conditions for higher education levels in the field of environment, because otherwise students do not understand the content and the results of educational system would not be desirable.
IBNA: June 5 of every year, is the World Day of Environment. This nomination has been made by the UN General Assembly in 1972 and aims to increase public awareness for environmental conservation and to encourage the authorities to adopt measures to tackle environmental degradation and animal species. In Iran 5-10 June; (16 to 21 Khordad; Persian Date) has been named as Environment Week on the occasion of World Environment Day as well.
At the beginning of his speech P. Kordavani the Iranian enduring figure in geography and the owner of various works in the field of geography and environment, pointed out to the environment and said: the environment is partly consisted of water, soil and air, which are all together the settlement of living things i.e. when you are talking about environmental issues, you should talk about water, soil and air all of which include broad topics.
He continued: In our country, discussions about the environment are more focused on air pollution (and these days, Nano-dusts or particles) on which no specialized book has been written in Iran.
The professor said the other books related to environmental issues existed in Iran are on the other hand more translated, including books on tourism and ecotourism as well.
Referring to the European countries' measures on the environmental conservation issue said: in the European countries environment is one of the important topics open in the society, so that presidential as well as parliamentary candidates devote parts of their slogans to this issue. While in our country, we sometimes find that some of the environmental authorities lack enough executive power to shut down air or water polluting factories and their desirable activities are forbidden through leveraging.
Author of "Drought and the ways to Cope with it in Iran," referring to consequences of Caspian Sea pollution and this year warnings about swimming in these locations, added: dumping sewage into the sea is banned in Europe and America. In these countries a lot of researches are regularly conducted on these issues and lots of books are written in this regards. Today in Europe even suitable books are written in English on environmental issues in order to be read by all the people in the world. While in our country there is no clear description and cognition of environment and its related issues at all. Moreover, those involved in this field are not as professional as they are expected to be ; in fact they lack the necessary expertise in this field.
Emphasizing on the need for training children about environmental issues from the elementary level in Iran Kordavani said: lacking needed expertise among authorities and managers involved in the field of environment has caused them to put Tehran air pollution responsibly on the shoulders of each other and thus, not to do anything suitable in this regard. While environmental organization authorities as well as the managers of related institutes have to be well aquatint with environment professionally.
Criticizing the teaching method of environmental courses (and related disciplines) in our universities, Iranian enduring figure in the field of geography added: Some of syllabuses defined as the environmental academic courses have been remained just as a name, and due to the broadness of syllabus or the Professor insufficient expertise, what is taught in these courses has little to do with the defined topic or isn't of comprehensive content at all.
He defined the environment discipline as a combination of sciences such as chemistry and agriculture, and having a good command of these sciences -as he believed- is required for high levels of education in the field of environment and being an expert in this regard.
Professor P. Kordavani considered the interdisciplinary nature of environmental science as an injury in the level of academic education in Iran and said: right now, everyone with any level or kind of expertise can continue to study in this field at the higher education that is not correct. For example, a person who entered is graduated in geography cannot enter in Ph.D. degree in the environment discipline, because this field is full of chemical formulas.
This lack of necessary expertise, causes, for example, someone to write or translate some books in the field of environment .but faces problem in making exam questions based on the same book. It's because he or she lacks the necessary expertise in sciences, including chemistry and anatomy, thus the question would be wrong.
The founder of Tehran University Desert Research Center pointed out to the weakness in foreign language as one of the interceptive factors in our people cultural improvement in dealing with environment and added: Unfortunately, there is no specific Foreign Language Teaching plan (English) up to the Ph.D. degree in our country. So, due to the language weakness of translators; the foreign books translated and published on the environmental topics are not suitable in Iran as well.
The Professor pointed out also to the people improved culture in developed countries dealing with environment and said: the environments of other countries as well as their people treatment with environment are completely different from ours; as a result their books written in this field are not so applicable for us.
For example, in developed countries like European ones, topics such as prevention of dumping sewage into the sea, garbage segregation and recycling are well-institutionalized. While we still continue to bury our garbage and our waste water disposal is flooded in to the free natural rivers. So if we want to act in accordance with other countries' books, we will not succeed.
The author of the book: "The Geography of Soils" said: in addition to the need of improving foreign language level in our students, an environmental teaching plan should be compiled in our country from the elementary level up to academic one and then suitable books should be written in this regard.
These books should be started from the narrow and small topics and then they should be gradually expanded to be appropriate for the intended stages. The patterns applied in developed countries should not be offered in the Iranian environmental books, because our environment as well as our treatments dealing with environment is entirely different from that of these countries. Thus, suitable environmental patterns adapted to the conditions of our country have to be designated by professionals, and then based on these patterns some books must be written by them.
The Iranian enduring figure in 2005, attributed the developed countries' cultural progress (especially in European and American ones) in dealing with the environment to their correct reward and punishment program and stated: the levels of public culture in dealing with the environment in Europe has gone up. People refer to their own conscience, and do not do what is harmful to the nature and thus to them intentionally.
Pointing out to some weaknesses existing in our books in the field of environment, he said: neither in university nor in non-university sectors are the books judged in a good and underlying manner, that's why there are a few good books in this field. On the other hand, although some books are compiled, they are indeed the transcriptions of foreign books.
The scientific enduring figure of our country referred to his several half-worked books and stated: I'm writing a book entitled "Iran's Desert Ecosystems, and Desert Succession " that is to be finished. I have also been working on some books about the desert, arid areas and water; that if I get a chance I will finish them as soon as possible.