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Population, Consumption and The Global Economy

Secondary

Description

This inter-disciplinary resource is one of four teacher's guides based on David Suzuki's film, "Force of Nature".  It's focus is on the challenges resulting from the rapid growth of the human population and the corresponding increase in consumption of the world’s resources. The lesson plans make a number of links between the film that is based on Suzuki's" Legacy Lecture 2010" and the high school curriculum

Within the context of sustainable development, students explore the topics of population growth, carrying capacity, overconsumption, resource depletion, waste production, trade globalization, and ecological footprints.  They develop strategies that will lead to a sustainable future taking into consideration global trade development, consumption patterns, persistence of world hunger and the depletion of earth’s resources.

This comprehensive 5-unit resource allows teachers to select excerpts from the documentary to support the teaching of a range of issues and concepts in the high school curriculum and provides links to useful websites.

Unit One: Population Growth

Activity One:  Snowshoe Hare and Lynx Population in Canada- A Case Study (2 X 60min) Students graph real population data and analyze the cyclical pattern of boom and bust of the horseshoe hare and lynx in Canada.  They then compare these patterns to the current trends in the world’s population.

Activity Two: The Lesson of Kaibab Deer (1 X60 min) Students analyze Kaibab deer population data to investigate the causes and consequences of exponential growth. Students use their findings to explore the implications of a human population graph.

Activity Three:  World Population Video (2 x60min) Students views a powerful 7-minute video that simulates the exponential growth of the human population growth from 1 AD to the present. Follow up exercises focus on future growth and trends.

Activity Four: Population Circle: (1X60min) This simulation provides a concrete demonstration of the rate of population growth over the past 510 years. It illustrates the concept of exponential growth as it applies to the human population.

Activity Five: Human Population and Dr. Suzuki’s Test Tubes (1x60min) After viewing a video showing exponential growth of bacteria in a test tube, students relate these principles to efforts to the human population and carrying capacity of the planet.

Activity Six: Power of Pyramids (1x60min) Students construct population pyramids and discuss differences in population growth rates among different countries, with an emphasis on reasons and consequences for uneven growth.

Activity Seven:  Lessons from the Past (1x60min) After reading a case study on the collapse of an early civilization on Easter Island students explore the consequences of unchecked population growth and compare these events to the current trend of resource depletion in Canada today.

Activity Eight: Consequence Chart (1x60min) Students hypothesize as to the possible consequences of a growing population, greater demand on natural resources, an increased demand on fossil fuels, greater waste, and a shrinking living space.

Unit Two: Globalization of the Economy

Activity One:  Causes of Trade Globalization (4X60min) Students research and report on the trends that have contributed to trade globalization in a jigsaw format.

Activity Two: The Story of Stuff 3X60min)  Students watch view “the Story of Stuff”, complete an information organizer, and discuss the life cycle of the products that we consume and the cost of each stage of the process.

Activity Three: Full Cost Accounting (3x60min) Students select a product that they consume and using a “Full Cost Accounting” approach, analyze and record the environmental cost at each stage of the life cycle of the product.

Activity Four: Effects of Trade Globalization (4x60min)  Students read case studies on the agriculture and the garment industry before discussing the effects of trade globalization. Fair trade issues, trends in consumption, agricultural subsidies, unequal sharing of wealth, and working conditions issues are addressed.

Unit Three- Overpopulation, Technology, and A Global Economy

Activity One:  The Blue fin Tuna Auction (2x60min)  Students examine the reasons for a possible collapse of the blue-fin tuna stocks and its effect on the ocean food chain. Discussion questions compare the fate of the bison and northern cod to the bluefin tuna, and ask students to consider measures to avoid a similar fate.

Activity Two: Ecological Footprint (3x60min) The combined effect of overpopulation, technology and the global economy is examined  by students using an on-line tool to calculate their individual ecological footprints as well as the per capita ecological footprints of a number of selected countries.

Unit Four- Identifying solutions

Activity One: Sustainable Development: A Framework for Analysis (4x60min) This peer teaching activity introduces the concept of sustainable development by having students recognize the interplay of economic, social, and environmental forces in developing strategies that should guide sustainable development policies. The class is divided into three groups to research and report on the rapid growth of the world’s population and its distribution (social), the persistence of world poverty,(economic), and the growing pressure put on the world’s resources.(environmental)

Activity Two:  Trade Globalization and Sustainable Development (4x60min) The students examine recent global trade developments and, using diagrams, identify the social, economic, and environmental consequences and changes that may result from these developments.

Activity Three:   Incentives/ Disincentives (1x60min) This brainstorming activity asks students to identify incentives for promoting sustainable consumption of common products and materials. (fast food, paper products, clothing, transportation, waste disposal, and energy use)

Activity Four:  Gross Domestic product (GDP) as a Measure of Well-Being (1x60min) Students explore the merits of using GDP as a measure of a country’s well-being and how some developments which increase the GDP have negative environmental and societal impacts.

Activity Five: Alternates to GDP (2x60min) In pairs students devise a set of indicators that serve as a better measure of a nation’s well- being  than the GDP. Groups share their suggestions and a set of criteria is created by the class.

Activity Six: Round table on Population and Consumption (2x60min) A round table simulation is organized which focuses on the issues and competing perspectives of population growth and consumption in the developed and developing world. Profiles are provided for assigned roles, and post simulation discussions focus on the challenges created by an increasing world population, and the impacts of increasing consumption on the carrying capacity of the Earth.

Unit Five:  Taking Action

Activity One:  Goal Mountain (1x60min) Students complete a “goal mountain” (action plan organizer) which helps to identify global, local, and individual actions required to meet the challenges created by unlimited demands on finite resources.

Activity Two:  Support an Organization of Your Choice (3x60min) Students are asked to evaluate and support an organization or organizations which promote sustainable development. 

Activity Three: Students research the reasons for the popularity of bottled water. consumption patterns and the effect on the environment. They outline possible actions that could draw attention to the issue via powerpoint, video or letter to the editor.

 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Working cooperatively with team members to develop and carry out a plan
  • Problem solving and decision making strategies
  • Critical and creative thinking strategies
  • Analyzing and interpreting information for research
  • Identifying further problems and issues to be investigated
  • Analyzing one's ecological footprint
  • Using appropriate tools and materials to design an action plan
  • Listening critically to others ideas, thoughts and points of view

Strengths

  • Examines various global issues within the context of sustainable development
  • Has links to a wide range of curriculum outcomes
  • Helps students form concepts, beliefs and attitudes
  • Has a multi-disciplinary approach
  • Good video links
  • Open-ended solutions
  • Promotes environmental stewardship
  • Students will enjoy the simulation role play activity
  • Action plan template is provided (goal mountain)
  • Group work allows for incidental peer teaching and dialogue
  • Demonstrates the complexity that characterizes environmental issues
  • A variety of authentic case studies
  • A wide range of learning activities

Weaknesses

  • Assessment tools must be developed by the teacher
  • No accomodations suggested for struggling students
  • No "hands-on" learning opportunities
  • No lessons designed for out of doors experience

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

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        • Social Studies 10-1 (Perspectives on Globalization) Globalization & Identity
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        • Social Studies 10-2 (Living in a Globalizing World) Globalisation and Sustainable Prosperity
        • Social Studies 10-2 (Living in a Globalizing World) Personal Response to Globalization
        • Social Studies 10-4 (Living in a Globalizing World) Globalisation and Identity?
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        • Biologie 30 :Population and Community Dynamics
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  • Ontario
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        • Biology 11(Univer.Prep.) Diversity of Living Things
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        • Forces of Nature: Physical Processes and Disasters (Univ./College Prep.): The Physical Environment: Sustainability and Stewardship
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        • Biology 12 (Univ. Prep.): Population Dynamics
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        • Global Connections
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        • The Environment & Resource Management (Workplace Prfeparation)
        • World Issues: A Geographic Analysis (Univ. Prep.):Sustainability and Stewardship
        • World Issues: A Geographic Analysis(Univ. Prep.): Interactions and Interdependence: Globalization
  • Prince Edward Island
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        • Science 421A: Sustainability of Ecosystems
        • Science 431A: Life Science, Sustainability of Ecosystems
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      • Biology
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        • Biology 521A: Biodiversity
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        • Practical Social Studies pt. 2
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        • Biology 621A: Change and Diversity
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        • What can I do?
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        • Geography 621A Global Issues : Inquiry- What are the issues?
        • Geography 621A Global Issues: Introduction- What is a global issue?
        • Geography 631A: What are the issues?
  • Quebec
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        • Contemporary World: Environment
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        • Science 10: Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics
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        • Biology 20: The Diversity of Life
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        • World Issues - Wealth & Poverty
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  • Yukon Territory
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    • Grade 10
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        • Life Science: Sustainability of Ecosystems
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        • Social Studies 10: Skills and Processes of Social Sciences
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        • Science Module: Natural Resources and the Environment
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        • Civic Studies 11: Civic Action
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      • Aboriginal Studies
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        • First Nation Studies 12: Land and Relationships
      • Geography
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        • Geography 12: Biomes
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        • Geography 12: Weather and Climate

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (5)

    • Alternative Globalisation
    • Community-Building and Participation
    • Ecological Footprint
    • General Guide to Taking Action
    • Sustainable Consumption
  • Economics (4)

    • Corporate Social Responsibility
    • Globalization
    • Poverty Reduction
    • Trade
  • Ecosystems (1)

    • Endangered Species
  • Human Health & Environment (1)

    • Human Population Dynamics
  • Human Rights (2)

    • Poverty
    • Social Justice

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Satisfactory

Students analyze information provided and are are encouraged to come to their own conclusions. This information comes from a variety of sources and is presented in different ways. The primary message is that over consumption from a population growing exponentially is threatening the carrying capacity of the planet.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Very Good

Through a wide range of activities students recognize the interplay of economic, social and environmental forces in developing strategies that are needed a sustainable development.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good

This very thorough resource promotes dialogue, discussion and action within groups of students. It encourages open-ended solutions, and many activities relate environmental, economic, and social issues.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Good
Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Good
Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

Case studies examining the demise of Easter Island and the far-reaching effects of the globalization of the economy on local culture fosters empathy for those whose lives are adversely effected by resource depletion, over consumption, and the unequal sharing of wealth.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Satisfactory

Although the resource has no out-of -doors experience, students are encouraged to take both collective and individual action on behalf of the planet.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good

Students are asked to create an action plan which has local focus. They also examine their own individual consumption and examine their individual and collective footprint.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Good

Students examine and analyze case studies which explore the consequences of unchecked population growth and over consumption.  Present day situations are researched, evaluated and discussed. The future is seen as positive if society chooses to adopt a philosophy and lifestyle which promotes sustainable consumption and development.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good

Although some guided inquiry is used, students are encouraged to consider and develop their own questions and solutions.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good

Although the primary fit is with social studies and geography, there are also learning activities related to language arts, science, and mathematics.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good
Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Satisfactory

This resource has a variety of actvities, including  simulations, research projects, cooperative learning opportunities, concept maps, graphic organizers, video analysis, and develping action plans. There are no accommodations suggested for struggling learners. Lessons touch on both the cognitive and affective domains.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Satisfactory

Experiential activities include a video simulation on the growing population of the world and a role play simulation of a round table on current challenges associated with population and consumption.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory
Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Poor/Not considered

Poor- although reflection questions are given, there are no rubrics, checklists, or any other assessment tools provided.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Good
Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Very Good
Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Good

There are opportunities for students to delve deeper into chosen issues, with good support from suggested resources.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.