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Exploring Preferred Futures for Marine and Coastal Environments

Sample Unit Sequence and Activity Ideas: Inquiry Learning



TUNING IN : Sample Activities

Ask students to imagine that they are a child born today and in 20 years time (2028) when they have grown into adulthood the marine and coastal environments of the world would have become almost unliveable due to emissions of toxic substances, climate change, inappropriate use of natural areas in addition to unsustainable energy, waste and water management practices.

Support students to reflect on how our understanding of the use of the Earth’s resources differ from that of our parents’ and grandparents’ generation. Also, consider what factors have contributed to our changing understanding of the environment and sustainable living.


Read the poem “The Seventh Generation” and reflect on the writer’s perspective on the importance of ecological sustainability.

The Seventh Generation

“Will it benefit the seventh generation?”
Was the question that the Hopi dwelt on.
“Will it help the future people who will walk on this Earth
Long after you and I are dead and gone?”
And if the Hopi saw that the answer was “No”
They would drop that new idea.
They thought not only of themselves
But future generations as well.
I speak now for that seventh generation,
For the seventh generation from now on.
I speak for the people who will walk upon this Earth
Long after you and I are dead and gone.
Will they reap a bitter harvest from the things that we have done?
Will they thank us for the healing that in our time has begun?
Will there even still be people seven generations on?
For I fear for the seventh generation.

Source: The Gap, Issue 5, 1994, p.7, Global Education Centre, Australia

Brainstorm the many factors that may have caused the situation described or that might result from it. Ask students to rank the 10 factors that they consider are the most important.

Concept mapping
Students write a text or develop a concept map describing the marine and coastal environment (locally, nationally or globally). Talk about the marine and coastal environment as all living things, as resource and a life support system. Use brainstorming to talk about and list the various and unique plant and animal species that live in marine and coastal environments.

Discuss the contributions that the marine and coastal environment makes to biological diversity. Talk with students about biodiversity being the variety of species, populations, habitats and ecosystems. As a class, discuss the benefits of biodiversity.

Talk about the meaning of ‘ecological sustainability’.

Discuss why people need to recognise the importance of:

• environmental stewardship and conservation;
• good water quality;
• good air quality;
• catchment care;
• biological diversity; and
• reducing emissions to air, land and water.

Consider issues affecting the marine and coastal environment and their effect on the sustainability of marine and coastal environments, their systems and its natural resources.

Visualise a sustainable marine and coastal environment with both natural and cultural values. Sketch it.

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