Students utilize classroom learning and multimedia projects to identify key aspects of urban ecosystems and explore the concept of environmental justice locally and globally.
Two 50-Minute Class Periods
The learner will:
Option One: Students may use these images to ask for donations and help from neighbors or funding from an environmental clean-up organizaiton, public service agency, or local business.
Option Two: Students may initiate a smaller-scale cleanup, They may ask for help from friends and neighbors to pick up trash, clear weeds, cover graffiti, and plant flowers. They may request help from the city to remove the garbage they pick up or provide the flowers.
Distribute Handout One: "What Is Environmental Justice?" Relate the reading to the discussion of unequal distribution of water resources in the previous lesson.
Tap into youth knowledge of technology and social media to spread the word about the importance of cleaning up the city. They may give general information or promote a specific cleanup project. Youth may create a brief slide show of their photographs with corresponding text and sound for public viewing on YouTube. Youth should be encouraged to use statistics about urban decay, personal statements, famous quotes about the environment, and other relevant text in the videos. Youth should also be encouraged to add appropriate music, and/or to consider reading their text aloud along with the slides.
Ask youth to brainstorm ways they can share information publically to raise awareness about the issue of pollution. Youth may create one-minute public service announcements (PSA) for radio, podcast, or television broadcast. Youth will focus on one area of their learning and will seek to raise awareness about an issue and/ or create a change by promoting behavioral change in others. (For example: Create a PSA stating the amount of litter collected in their neighborhood “pollution reduction” area in lesson one, encouraging others to use appropriate trash receptacles; include a montage of trash-strewn areas, or a before/after video of an area youth help to clean. Sample PSAs and information about creating them can be found at the Ad Council website.
Arts: Students depict their surroundings by writing a song, poem, or a narrative. Or they may draw or paint an image of their environment.
Geography: Students make a map of the area they targeted for cleanup, or of the natural area they visited in a field trip.
Geography: Visit the Environmental Protection Agency website to create an "environmental justice" map (EJView) of any area in the United States. They can track race, poverty rates, life expectancy, and cancer risk. Go to www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/mapping.html. Students may create one map of the local area, and then compare it with another map in another area or the same area with a different focus.
EPA Environmental Mapping www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/mapping.html
On the day of the field trip:
Post field-trip followup:
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