Truth In Water - Webcomics as Environmental Education Tools
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Comics have a long history in education, used from medieval politics to medical instruction. They are often better at learning, retention and engagement than traditional methods of instruction (lectures, long readings). Comics help readers process emotions, as well as information – steps needed to enact sustainable behavior and laws. This project uses comics to unwrap some of the difficult problems with water use in California, teaching readers how to understand different narratives in water use discussions and become more active participants in those discussions. A webcomic was created – Truth In Water – and shared with residents of California. Readers took surveys before and after reading the comic and evaluated how much they learned how willing they were to act on California water. The results show that the comic had no effect in teaching how to decipher California water narratives and had a slightly positive effect in engaging readers to action. A higher quality comic and stronger sampling may be lead to stronger conclusion. The project results imply that webcomics may be a valuable tool for shaping environmental values discussions – they can help educate and engage people on other environmental issues.