This article outlines the cause of the deaths of these elephants and explains how this recent development is the result of climate change.
Introduction to the article (perhaps by having everyone read it)
The plight of the polar bear has received great attention as an indicator of the negative impacts of climate change. There are, however, many other examples of how climate change is negatively affecting our environment. One only needs to examine such things as the catastrophic forest fires that have ravaged the landscape, the increasing number of violent weather events and the unusual droughts and floods that have occurred around the world to understand the urgent need to address this challenge. The recent deaths of many elephants in Botswana is another example of how climate change is bringing about dramatic consequences. As the result of global warming, drastic changes in our environment are occurring. Rising temperatures resulted in the growth of toxic algae which produced deadly neurotoxins which, when consumed, caused the elephants’ deaths. This, however, is but one example of the negative consequences of climate change. Another example is the retreating of the icecaps, which is allowing the permafrost to melt, thereby releasing copious amounts of methane gas into the atmosphere which speeds up global warming.
This lesson will use this article as the basis of a study of the impact of climate change. It will have the students select examples of catastrophic environmental events around the globe and then explain how those developments relate to climate change.
Subject Area(s) covered
Environmental studies, world issues
New Terms to explain
Neurotoxins, cyanobacteria, aquatic ecosystems
Access to the article
Internet access for research
Key things students can learn from this lesson
- An awareness of examples of the negative consequences of climate change;
- An understanding that there are direct and indirect consequences of climate change;
- An appreciation of the need to address climate change now.
Action (here’s how we’ll do it)
This lesson will require the students to do independent research and prepare a report for submission. It will also involve having each student interact with one other classmate at a specific stage in the lesson.
- Begin the lesson by establishing a partner for each student.
- Establish the focus of the lesson by reminding the students of the attention the plight of the polar bear has been receiving because of climate change.
- Indicate to them that there are many other examples of how the natural world is suffering because of climate change.
- Ask them to read the article.
- Point out to them that the deaths of the elephants are an example of how there are both direct and indirect consequences of climate change.
- Remind them that not only is the natural world under threat from climate change, but also there are dramatic environmental consequences.
- With this as background, hand out the following assignment:
- Identify three significant disasters or alarming developments that have occurred in the natural world recently.
- For each, students should explain the nature of the calamity and how it is the result of climate change.
- Once this has been completed, they should contact their partner and exchange information about one of the selected topics in order to get their response and feedback about the completeness of their research.
- Once they have completed the confirming activity below (select one of the examples that they researched and, as part of their submission, outline what needs to be done in order to correct this situation) they should submit their assignment
The students will:
- Develop an understanding of how climate change is negatively affecting our world.
- Realize the need to address climate change.
- Appreciate that there are both direct and indirect consequences to climate change.
- Students should select one of the examples that they researched and, as part of their submission, outline what they believe needs to be done in order to correct this situation.
Helpful Internet Searches
- Climate Change background – https://clean.ns.ca/climate-change-background-info?gclid=Cj0KCQjwzbv7BRDIARIsAM-A6-1-QYGrtsK0OHJJAVKJdqeDlSMt7f3GGlTrV2lm0jbduaGrw3jn0YAaAvtoEALw_wcB
- Climate Change and Oceans – https://www.conservation.org/blog/5-ways-that-climate-change-affects-the-ocean?gclid=Cj0KCQjwzbv7BRDIARIsAM-A6-0XiWl3zmG2wAHheHBr-BoEnRz6KO4cPE_W8RifFc6wXZ2lkMEKXPoaAu14EALw_wcB
- 5 Natural disasters – https://www.oxfam.org/en/5-natural-disasters-beg-climate-action
- Climate change and natural disasters – https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/how-can-climate-change-affect-natural-disasters-1?qt-news_science_products=0#qt-news_science_products
Activities to do together
- With their partner, students should select one of the items of concern and prepare a report for classmates on what they think the class could do to help in the efforts to address this concern. When possible, share this with fellow classmates.