Do you eat…environmentally?

Being environmentally mindful can mean much more than composting your food scraps and recycling packaging. There are hundreds of little gestures that can contribute to making the planet healthier.

How many try to pack litterless lunches? Do you use plastic produce bags for your fruits and vegetables? Do you use reusable shopping bags? And more importantly, do you think that any of this makes a difference in the planet’s health?

And what about the way we buy food. Do you try to buy local? Can you tell which is local from the imported stuff? What do you know about how your food is produced? If you are like me, probably not enough.

If we look at food buying trends, it would appear that we are trying to shop and eat smarter. So what do you think that means? In this PBS Hot Mess feature, they take a look at global food production and why it is so hard to change methods that are depleting the planet of its resources.

About the video: the information is not always easy to follow. It is full of government references (I guess it must be interesting for someone) and they bring up many questions but don’t really get to the answers. Still, I suggest you get through to the end. The conclusion carries many of the main messages and leaves a few concrete things to think about.

Warm-up

  • How have you changed the way you buy food in the last 10 years?

The Video: PBS Hot Mess Food vs. Climate Change

Discussion

  • First, do a global Tell Back of the video…broad strokes.
  • What do they mean by a universal food reference?
  • Does eating more fruit and vegetables help the environment?
  • Why is it hard to change our food habits?

Agree or disagree

  • Adopting a universal reference diet is easy
  • To reduce carbon emissions, all we have to do is eat less meat
  • If people knew more about how food is produced we could change damaging food production practices
  • There is nothing we can to do change food production

What can governments do to stop climate change?

When we look at the ludicrous speed the planet is changing because of the human footprint, it can leave us feeling powerless. Thus all eyes are on our governments to fix the problem–to be the climate police. But is that fair? Can we trust them?

In this Frontline report, we are confronted by some of the barriers to climate change measures.

Pre discussion

  • What do you know about climate change?
  • What are some of the elements that contribute to fossil fuel emission?
  • What habits have you changed to reverse the trend?

The Video: Frontline: Leadership on Climate Change: Can America Summon the Political Will?

  • Why is there a disconnect between science and policy in America?
  • Why are some reluctant to support policy that puts constraints on manufacturers?
  • Should the government be financing innovation?
  •  Who wins by blocking climate friendly legislation? Who loses?
  • What are other countries doing that has helped the climate change movement?

What’s the weather today?

I love talking about the weather. It is the single most easy way to initiate a conversation with a stranger or acquaintance if you need to break the silence. Great for elevator rides, spontaneous waiting time and warm repartee.

This particular discussion lesson plan on the weather goes from general to scientific. The objective is to elicit some scientific vocabulary around a familiar topic. If you have no scientists among your students, you can always focus on the important of predicting the weather. And also the importance of being able to talk about the weather as a conversation starter.

Pre discussion

  • What are the different types of weather or climate you can name?
  • What affects the weather?
  • Do you use the weather forecast to plan activities?

The Video: The Science of Weather

  • Divide the video into 2 or 3 segments and do a Tell Back  of the main themes and words
  • How do meteorologists sort through information, identify trends, and make predictions.
  • Why do they often get it wrong?
  • What is it important to predict the weather

Where would you travel to?

If you could choose among National Geographic top 15 travel destinations, where would you go?

Scroll through the top 15 destinations suggested by National Geographic and say which you would choose and why (only read titles and look at pictures).

Go explore the picture of the chosen destination. What is happening? What is the weather like? Where are we, in the mountains, the city, the forest, etc? What do you like about it?

Now choose a destination you DON’T want to visit. Why? What is happening in the picture? Where are we? What is the weather like? What don’t you like about it.

What are you doing to prevent climate change?

What are you doing to prevent climate change?

PBS Frontline presents an innovative interactive presentation on how the people of Marshall Island are affected by climate change. Even though the presentation is a bit deep and disturbing, I would use it to spark a discussion on actions related to climate change. I would first do a  Tell Back  of the video centered around how climate change is affecting the daily lives of the people of Marshall Island (note: you must click the forward buttons to make the presentation go forward. You can stop at any point to discuss).

Here is a link to the PBS lesson plan. It includes some of the key vocabulary which can save you a bit of time in analyzing the content from the perspective of second language difficulties.

Discussion Questions

Do you notice any differences in the weather that could be related to the weather?

What are some of the current actions happening in your community that is intended to help stop climate change?

What habits have you changed?

If you review just this last year, is there anything you do differently?