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Activity for Teacher Educators: Impacts of Degraded Ecosystems

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment was launched by United Nations Secretary- General Kofi Annan. Initiated in 2001, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) involved over 1360 experts world-wide, in an assessment of the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being. Their fi ndings, contained in fi ve technical volumes and six synthesis reports, provide a state-of-the-art scientifi c appraisal of the condition and trends in the world’s ecosystems and the services they provide (such as clean water, food, forest products, fl ood control, and natural resources) and the options to restore, conserve or enhance the sustainable use of ecosystems.

For the Teacher Educator
Discuss the use of websites for obtaining information with the trainees. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using websites?

There are several websites, including those of UN organizations, government bodies, NGOs etc that provide a huge amount of information on projects, research experiments, data on environmental status and quality, etc.

Let the trainees share information on websites they have found useful.

Ask the trainees to suggest ways in which they could use specific websites as teaching resources for school students during school hours. Caution the trainees on inappropriate content for children, and the need for adult supervision.

Impact of Degraded Ecosystems
Objective: To understand the impacts of disturbance of ecosystems, on human beings
Material: Internet access
Duration: One session
Ask the trainees to visit the website. It provides information based on the studies of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment project.
The material is organized as the following ten questions:
1. How have ecosystems changed?
2. How have ecosystem services and their uses changed?
3. How have ecosystem changes affected human well-being and poverty alleviation?
4. What are the most critical factors causing ecosystem changes?
5. How might ecosystems and their services change in the future under various plausible scenarios?
6. Why are both global and sub-global assessments of ecosystem change useful?
7. How do ecosystems change over time?
8. What options exist to manage ecosystems sustainably?
9. What are the most important uncertainties hindering decision-making concerning ecosystems?
10. Conclusion: main fi ndings
They may explore all the ten questions. Question 3 provides information on effects of ecosystem change on human well-being. The tasks for this activity are as follows:

  • Click on Question 3 and read the text under Level 1 Summary and Level 2 Details.
  • Write a short note on how ecosystem change most affects poorer people.
  • The trainees should also think about the city, town or village where they are located and try to identify examples of wateror soil pollution, poor air quality or any other ecosystem degradation. Who is most affected by such degradation? What is the impact of polluted or risky ecosystems on health?
  • The trainees may work in groups, pairs or individually. The examples of effects of ecosystem degradation can be shared in class.

Source: NCTE and CEE (2007) Environmental Education - A Resource Book for Teacher Educators, Level 1 - D.Ed.

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