Our discussion this week is going to be about two important topics: the first one is about the education of women and the second one is about light pollution.

    Daniel Defoe composed his essay on the importance of educating women in the 18th century.

    On the Education of Women

    Defoe criticized his society for excluding women from education since the focus was on educating men. Defoe’s point is that by educating women as daughters, wives, mothers, society will be more effective since women play very important roles in life. 

    Here is a passage from his essay:

    ” One would wonder, indeed, how it should happen that women are conversible at all; since they are only beholden to natural parts, for all their knowledge. Their youth is spent to teach them to stitch and sew or make baubles. They are taught to read, indeed, and perhaps to write their names, or so; and that is the height of a womans education. And I would but ask any who slight the sex for their understanding, what is a man (a gentleman, I mean) good for, that is taught no more? I need not give instances, or examine the character of a gentleman, with a good estate, or a good family, and with tolerable parts; and examine what figure he makes for want of education. “

    This essay was composed in the 18th century. 

    1- What is Daniel Defoe’s main point?

    2- Why is he arguing for the education of women in his essay, especially in an 18th century society?

    Light Pollution:
    Reading 2      Verlyn Klinkenborg    Our Vanishing Night p. 216
    Klinkenborg addresses the issue of light pollution and how much of life it has been affecting.  Here is an excerpt from the article:

    “This kind of engineering is no different than damming a river. Its benefits come with consequencescalled light pollutionwhose effects scientists are only now beginning to study. Light pollution is largely the result of bad lighting design, which allows artificial light to shine outward and upward into the sky, where it’s not wanted, instead of focusing it downward, where it is. Illdesigned lighting washes out the darkness of night and radically alters the light levels and light rhythmsto which many forms of life, including ourselves, have adapted. Wherever human light spills into the natural world, some aspect of life migration, reproduction, feedingis affected.”

    3- What does Verlyn Klinkenborg address in his article “Vanishing Nights”?

    4- What are the effects of light pollution on life, including humans, as discussed by Klinkenborg?

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