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Lesson Plan by Mitchell Zuvela B. Sc., B. Ed.

Human Sustainability

Pixton Lesson Plan on Human Sustainability

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Pixton Lesson Plan on Human Sustainability
This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings environmental science to life with comics and storyboards.
This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings environmental science to life with comics and storyboards.

Featured Props

Human Sustainability

Student creations come alive with these themed objects – in addition to our library of over 3,000 props!

  • Bicycle
    Bicycle
  • Fire
    Fire
  • Glacier
    Glacier
  • Ground
    Ground
  • River
    River
  • Saw
    Saw
  • Sun
    Sun
  • Suv
    Suv
  • Wind
    Wind
  • Windmill
    Windmill
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Teacher Guide

Human Sustainability

Step 1Class discussion with students

Getting Started

What is human sustainability? Human sustainability is a form of development which satisfies the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

The idea of human sustainability can be supported by three foundational pillars:

  • Environment
  • Society
  • Economy

Both economy and society are limited by environmental constraints which makes them the most important pillars. The three pillars are the foundation for numerous sustainability standards certification systems such as those used in the food industry. It is important that these three pillars are the framework of future decision making processes so that sustainability can be achieved.

Opening Discussion

The United Nations has revised a popular index they designed called the Human Development Index (HDI), which was first used to measure the quality of life of a country's inhabitants. A revision was made to include per capita carbon emissions because it is a major factor in reducing sustainability. The idea behind this addition was that the people of today are enjoying life at the expense of the people of tomorrow.

They key results of the study are listed below:

  • The US ranks 4th in HDI, compared to 24th in HSDI
  • Hong Kong Ranks 21st in HDA, compared to 8th is HSDI
  • Norway and New Zealand are in the top three for both HDI and HSDI
  • The bottom five countries in both indexes are African
  • Cuba is the only country that has been deemed genuinely sustainable

Discuss the following questions with your class:

  • Why does the US quality of life drop so significantly when sustainability is taken into account?
  • Why is Hong Kong ranked higher than the US in HSDI?
  • Why are New Zealand and Norway ranked in the top three for both indexes?
  • Why are all the bottom countries from Africa?
  • Why is Cuba the only genuinely sustainable country?
  • What can the US do to increase it's HSDI ranking?
  • Do you agree with the change to include sustainability when comparing human development?
Step 2Pixton comic-making activities
  • Make a Comic
    Factors Influencing Human Activity

    View Activity
  • Make a Comic
    Environmental Technology

    View Activity
  • Make a Comic
    Global Interrelationships

    View Activity
  • Extension / Modification
    Poster (Extension / Modification)

    Create a Poster promoting more sustainable practices at your school.

  • Extension / Modification
    Analyze (Extension / Modification)

    Which century was / is the most sustainable? Why?

Step 3Concluding discussion with students

Take a look at the sustainability of your school using the guidelines that are listed below. Discuss some of things that the school is doing well or poorly. In what ways can your school improve sustainability practices?

  • Buying local food / goods
  • Recycling
  • Energy saving practices (efficient light bulbs, low flow toilets)
  • Minimalistic practices
  • Reducing fuel consumption
  • Using renewable resources
  • Using compost bins
  • Using less meat
  • No bottled water
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Pixton Activity: Human Sustainability 1 Factors Influencing Human Activity

Intro

For centuries, people have been influenced by resource availability. It is no coincidence that a majority of the world's settlements are close to water. Natural resources play an important role in our society and have an influence on where we live.

Instructions

Construct a Storyboard or Grid explaining how the availability of the following have influenced human activity:

  • Natural resources
  • Occurrence of natural hazards
  • Changes in climate

For each influence provide two examples of the impact on human activity.

Each panel should include:

  • A title
  • An appropriate illustration
  • A description of its impact

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Rubric: Factors Influencing Human Activity

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

4 3 2 1
Knowledge Understands scientific facts, procedures, concepts, principals, theories and methods. • demonstrates substantial scientific knowledge
• ideas are supported with strong supporting details
• Precise and advanced use of scientific terminology
• demonstrates adequate scientific knowledge
• ideas are supported with relevant supporting details
• appropriate use of scientific terminology
• demonstrates limited scientific knowledge
• ideas are supported with brief supporting details
• some use of scientific terminology
• demonstrates little scientific knowledge
• ideas are supported with weak or no supporting details
• Little to no use of scientific terminoloy
Application Applies scientific knowledge, skills and methods to hypothesize, analyze and conclude. • exceptional application of the scientific method when solving problems
• no errors in carrying out procedure
• accurately applies the scientific method when solving problems
• limited errors in carrying out procedure
• limited application of the scientific method when solving problems
• several errors in carrying out procedure
• does not apply the scientific method when solving problems
• multiple errors in carrying out procedure
Communication Communicates scientific knowledge through writing, speech and visuals. • panels are highly organized with exceptional use of relevant details
• written and visual content is highly effective
• accurate and precise communication of data
• panels are organized with consistent use of relevant details
• written and visual content is accurate and complete
• accurate and consistent communication of data
• panels are organized with few relevant details
• limited written and visual content
• incomplete or brief data communication
• panels are unorganized with little relevant details
• written and visual content is missing
• limited or no communication of data
Total

Example Storyboard

Factors Influencing Human Activity by Student
Natural ResourcesWater is a natural resource that has significantly influenced human activity. Water is an essential fluid for the human body, therefore, the ability to have access to water is a very important consideration when determining the location of a settlement. Water is also used for many other purposes such as industry, farming, and personal hygiene. Throughout time, humanity has always built settlements near water supplies which is evident in the way the world's population is distributed. Natural ResourcesWood is an important natural resource that has influenced human activity. Trees can be used for many purposes, most importantly for building structures and making consumer goods. Trees also provide wood that can be burned as a source of fuel. Since it is a cheap and readily available resource, it has been widely used over human history. It is estimated that in some regions of the world such as Latin America, tropical forests are being cut at a rate of 2% each year. Natural HazardsNatural hazards such as volcanoes have influenced human activity for centuries. The eruption of Mt. Vesuvius destroyed the city of Pompeii along with a large part of the Campania region. With recent technology, scientists have been able to predict major eruptions which has reduced their impact on humans. Major eruptions also have an impact on the weather which can be felt in regions around the world. Natural HazardsFloods have become a common occurrance throughout the world due to rising sea levels or heavy amounts of rain. Due to the close vicinity of settlements to water, floods are not uncommon and will occur more frequently as the effects of global warming becomes more substantial. Floods have environmental and economic impact on human activity. In the past 30 years, approximately 50 billions dollars have been paid out for insurance claims related to floods. Over the past five years, every state has experienced flooding. ClimateClimate has a major influence on human activity. People who live in locations that experience the cold of winter have a greater need for resources to keep themselves warm. Climate is a major determining factor in agriculture which produces the food society needs to survive. ClimateClimate plays a role in the recreational activities people enjoy. People who live in the North will enjoy activities that involve snow such as skiing, skating, or curling. Areas that are tropical will enjoy activities such as swimming, surfing, and sailing. People who live in warmer areas are typically more fit than those who live in colder areas.

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Pixton Activity: Human Sustainability 2 Environmental Technology

Intro

Scientists and engineers are making major steps forward in developing technologies that limit the amount of waste and pollution that enter our environment. When looking at these advancements, it is also important to evaluate a range of constraints including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics. It is also important to take into consideration the social, environmental, and cultural impact. The true value of a technology must take all of these aspects into account.

Instructions

Create a Storyboard or T-Chart comparing the constraints and benefits of various environmental technologies.

Each panel should include:

  • An appropriate visual
  • A detailed explanation as to why it fits the category

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Rubric: Environmental Technology

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

4 3 2 1
Knowledge Understands scientific facts, procedures, concepts, principals, theories and methods. • demonstrates substantial scientific knowledge
• ideas are supported with strong supporting details
• Precise and advanced use of scientific terminology
• demonstrates adequate scientific knowledge
• ideas are supported with relevant supporting details
• appropriate use of scientific terminology
• demonstrates limited scientific knowledge
• ideas are supported with brief supporting details
• some use of scientific terminology
• demonstrates little scientific knowledge
• ideas are supported with weak or no supporting details
• Little to no use of scientific terminoloy
Application Applies scientific knowledge, skills and methods to hypothesize, analyze and conclude. • exceptional application of the scientific method when solving problems
• no errors in carrying out procedure
• accurately applies the scientific method when solving problems
• limited errors in carrying out procedure
• limited application of the scientific method when solving problems
• several errors in carrying out procedure
• does not apply the scientific method when solving problems
• multiple errors in carrying out procedure
Communication Communicates scientific knowledge through writing, speech and visuals. • panels are highly organized with exceptional use of relevant details
• written and visual content is highly effective
• accurate and precise communication of data
• panels are organized with consistent use of relevant details
• written and visual content is accurate and complete
• accurate and consistent communication of data
• panels are organized with few relevant details
• limited written and visual content
• incomplete or brief data communication
• panels are unorganized with little relevant details
• written and visual content is missing
• limited or no communication of data
Total

Example Storyboard

Environmental Technology by Student
Benefit: Quality of LifeQuality of life can be substantially increased as new environmental technologies are discovered. It is estimated that the health impact of fossil fuels cost the US economy up to 800 billion dollars each year. The use of environmental technologies will also have a positive impact on the economy as hundreds of thousands of new jobs will be created. Constraints: EconomicThe cost of implementing new environmental technology is generally very expensive at the start. It may be difficult for companies to find funding to get projects off the ground which can be a major obstacle. The US government has policies in place that provide incentives to offset the costs of companies using environmental technology. Many economists fear that the economy of many industrialized nations would be negatively impacted if there was a reduction in the use of fossil fuels. Benefit: Lower EmissionsOne of the main areas of focus in the area of envronmental technology has been to reduce the amount of harmful emissions released into the atmosphere. The growth of environmental technology in the area of energy production has been of the utmost importance. Wind and solar energy are two forms of renewable energy that have benefited from the growth of environmental technology. With a reduction in harmful emissions, the goal is to curb the effects of global warming and develop a more reliable and resilient energy system. Constraints: TechnologyMany of the new environmental technologies that are in use today utilize first generation technology that may not be efficient. For example, solar panels are constructed through an intense industrial process that offsets many of its benefits of clean energy production. Batteries used in electric cars have a limited life span, thus requiring the owner to purchase a new battery, futher adding to the consumption of more resources. Many scientists believe that useful environmental technologies are several decades away from having the technology required to have a beneficial environmental impact.

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Pixton Activity: Human Sustainability 3 Global Interrelationships

Intro

In ecology, sustainability explains how biological systems remain diverse and productive indefinitely. In a broader sense, sustainability is the endurance of systems and processes. The chief principle for sustainability is sustainable development, which includes the four interconnected domains:

  • Ecology
  • Economics
  • Politics
  • Culture

It is important to study these connections so that our society can be more sustainable in the future.

Instructions

Create a Mind Map illustrating how sustainability can be attained through proper management of the following:

  • Natural resources
  • Human populations
  • Biodiversity

Your panels should include:

  • An appropriate illustration
  • A detailed explanation of the relationship

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Rubric: Global Interrelationships

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

4 3 2 1
Knowledge Understands scientific facts, procedures, concepts, principals, theories and methods. • demonstrates substantial scientific knowledge
• ideas are supported with strong supporting details
• Precise and advanced use of scientific terminology
• demonstrates adequate scientific knowledge
• ideas are supported with relevant supporting details
• appropriate use of scientific terminology
• demonstrates limited scientific knowledge
• ideas are supported with brief supporting details
• some use of scientific terminology
• demonstrates little scientific knowledge
• ideas are supported with weak or no supporting details
• Little to no use of scientific terminoloy
Application Applies scientific knowledge, skills and methods to hypothesize, analyze and conclude. • exceptional application of the scientific method when solving problems
• no errors in carrying out procedure
• accurately applies the scientific method when solving problems
• limited errors in carrying out procedure
• limited application of the scientific method when solving problems
• several errors in carrying out procedure
• does not apply the scientific method when solving problems
• multiple errors in carrying out procedure
Communication Communicates scientific knowledge through writing, speech and visuals. • panels are highly organized with exceptional use of relevant details
• written and visual content is highly effective
• accurate and precise communication of data
• panels are organized with consistent use of relevant details
• written and visual content is accurate and complete
• accurate and consistent communication of data
• panels are organized with few relevant details
• limited written and visual content
• incomplete or brief data communication
• panels are unorganized with little relevant details
• written and visual content is missing
• limited or no communication of data
Total

Example Mind Map

Global Interrelationships by Student
Mind MapGlobal Interrelationships EnvironmentEcological economics refers to a field of academic research that addresses the interdependence and coevolution of human economies and natural ecosystems. Ecological economics focuses on issues of intergenerational equity, irreversibility of environmental change, uncertainty of long-term outcomes, and sustainable development. EnvironmentSociety can reduce the negative human impacts of human activity on the environment through the use of environmentally friendly chemical engineering, environmental resources management, and environmental protection. Through the study of green chemistry, earth science, environmental science, and conservation biology, society can better understand how to protect our ecosystems. Natural ResourcesSustainable forest management is the management of forests according to the principles of sustainable development. It is defined as: 'The stewardship and use of forests and forest lands in a way, and at a rate, that maintains their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality and their potential to fulfill, now and in the future, relevant ecological, economic and social functions, at local, national, and global levels, and that does not cause damage to other ecosystems.' It was adopted by the United Nations and promoted as a starting point for countries to manage their forests. Natural ResourcesSustainable fishery practices promote the harvesting of seafood at a sustainable rate, where the fish population does not decline over time because of fishing practices. Sustainability in fisheries combines a number of theoretical disciplines with practical strategies. Some primary concerns around sustainability are that heavy fishing pressures will result in the loss of significant potential yield; that stock structure will erode to the point where it loses diversity and resilience to environmental fluctuations; that ecosystems and their economic infrastructures will cycle between collapse and recovery; each cycle is less productive than its predecessor; and that changes will occur in the trophic balance. Population ManagementHuman population control is the practice of artificially altering the rate of growth of a human population. Countries in the Middle East and Asia have been faced with finding ways of controlling rising births rates. India provides incentives for families who limit the number of children per household to two or less. In the past, the Iranian government promoted courses that discussed the benefit of birth control with couples. It is important that society understands that the need for resources in the future will exceed the world's supply, therefore, controls are necessary. Population ManagementSenicide is the policy of euthanizing the elderly. This idea has been debated in the past as a method of population control. In India, several religious groups promote senicide when people reach a certain age. In China, it has been a common practice to euthanize babies that have birth defects or are disabled as a way to prevent a drain on society.

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