Promoting Environmental Sustainability
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- Subject(s): Social Studies & Geography, Science
- Grade Level(s): 6–8, 9–12
- Related Publication: Global Issues | Environmental Sustainability
In this WebQuest, students will research a variety of global environmental concerns. For several issues – including species conservation and climate change – they will investigate the local relevance of the problem and review an example of how a community in another part of the world worked to address the issue. Students will then view a slide show demonstrating how youth in Costa Rica conducted community surveys to identify, analyze, and address issues of local concern. Similarly, students will conduct research on environmental issues in their own communities, and develop fact sheets and suggested actions for addressing local environmental priorities.
More about how Peace Corps Volunteers address global issues:
More about global environmental issues:
- United Nations Environment Programme
- United States Agency for International Development (USAID) - Environment
More about environmental issues in the United States:
- Identify and describe major local and global environmental problems
- Compare and contrast environmental issues occurring in other communities with environmental issues occurring in their communities
- Conduct community research using multiple information sources
- Develop recommendations for environmental action in their own community
- Arable: Suitable for growing crops
- Atmosphere: Natural layer of gases surrounding the earth
- Biodiversity: Variety and variability of life on earth
- Carbon: Element that makes up all plants and animals
- Carbon dioxide (CO2): A colorless, odorless gas produced through combustion and respiration, and absorbed through photosynthesis; a type of greenhouse gas
- Conservation: Protection or careful usage, especially of wildlife and natural resources
- Ecosystems: Communities of living organisms and their environments
- Ecotourism: Tourism in natural areas that conserves the local environment and supports local people
- Endangered: At serious risk of extinction
- Extinct: No longer living
- Fish stock: A local population of fish
- Fossil fuels: Fuels formed in the earth from the remains of ancient plants and animals (e.g. coal, petroleum, natural gas)
- Greenhouse gas: A gas in the earth’s atmosphere that absorbs infrared radiation and contributes to the greenhouse effect
- Mitigate: Alleviate
- Natural resources: Natural materials or substances that can economically benefit humans (e.g., land, minerals, water, forests, etc.)
- Photosynthesis: The process by which plants produce energy and oxygen using carbon dioxide, sunlight, and water
- Renewable energy: Energy generated from sources that can be naturally replenished (e.g. wind, sun, tides, geothermal heat, etc.)
- Sustainable: Able to continue for an extended time period, without the depletion of resources
- Terrestrial: Land-based
- Student access to computers with Internet and audio
- Begin by brainstorming critical environmental issues in the world, the United States, and your community. Discuss what students know about the causes and effects of these issues.
- Explain to students that they will be engaging in a WebQuest, in which they will conduct research about environmental issues of global concern. As they investigate, they will learn about community-based environmental initiatives led by Peace Corps Volunteers around the world. They will then conduct in-depth research on an environmental issue in their own community. If students are unfamiliar with Peace Corps, view the video available on the Peace Corps website .
In the computer lab, direct students to the Promoting Environmental Sustainability WebQuest . On the Student Page, read the Introduction and Task sections together, demonstrating how to navigate through the WebQuest and collect information requested on the data collection sheet.
- Allow time for students to work on the WebQuest independently, in pairs, or in small groups. Provide assistance to students as needed during their work time.
- When students reach the Community Survey section, have students work in pairs or small teams. Provide guidance as needed as students select locally-relevant environmental issues to research. You may also wish to provide guidance on sources of information for students to consult.
- Once students have completed their research, they will develop a one-page fact sheet on the issue they investigated and will make recommendations for how the issue should be addressed. Compile the fact sheets and provide an opportunity for groups to share their findings and recommendations. Consider taking action through service-learning or spreading the information to a wider audience.
- Use the questions in the Conclusion section of the WebQuest to guide a class discussion, or ask for students' verbal or written reflections.
- To engage students in further interdisciplinary exploration, see the teaching suggestions listed in Investigating Environmental Sustainability . .
Framework and Standards
- All human communities and living things depend on the wellbeing of the natural environment.
- Human activities can have positive and negative impacts on the environment.
- Ensuring environmental sustainability must be a collaborative global effort.
- What are the world’s most pressing environmental issues and why?
- How can you help address environmental concerns locally and globally?
- How do human activities affect the environment, and how does environmental change affect human activities?
National Science Education Standards
- Content Standard F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
- Personal and community health
- Populations, resources, and environments
- Environmental quality
- Science and technology in local, national, and global challenges
National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
- Thematic Strand IX: Global Connections
- Use maps, charts, and databases to explore patterns and predict trends regarding global connections at the community, state, or national level
- Explore the causes, consequences, and possible solutions related to persistent, current, and emerging global issues
Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts
- Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects
- Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: Compare and contrast findings presented in a text to those from other sources (including their own experiments), noting when the findings support or contradict previous explanations or accounts.