Global Resource Consumption and Security

Lesson Plans for Global Resource Consumption and Security


1. Global Trends in Consumption

Global and regional/continental progress towards poverty reduction, including the growth of the “new global middle class”

Measuring trends in resource consumption, including individual, national and global ecological footprints

    Synthesis, evaluation and skills opportunities

    How different patterns and trends are interrelated and involve spatial interactions between different places

    Poverty Reduction and the New 'Global Middle Class'

    This page provides a superb collection of interactive data sets and infographics on poverty reduction and the emerging new global middle class. It relies on the marvelous Our World in Data website for much of its data visualisation, which brings this dramatic change alive. Students develop their skills in data analysis and graphicacy. There is stunning class presentation with worksheet. The lesson moves on to look at the new middle class and in addition to describing the numbers, students finish the lesson by contemplating the challenges and vulnerability of this new middle class as well as consider the squeezed middle classes of the west.

    Consumption of Resources

    This page sets out resources that focus student's attention on rates of resource consumption. It introduces key vocabulary and concepts and uses the cartoons of Steve cuts to introduce the subject. Through a variety of different graphics, students look at the extent of resource depletion and then students can explore ecological footprint as a tool by measuring their own footprints. The page then goes on to look at the increasing rate of consumption as well focusing on the causes of this consumption through a 9-card diamond ranking exercise. There are multiple worksheets to support the students on this page.

    Measuring Trends in Consumption and Ecological Footprint

    This page introduces the patterns of global consumption of resources, focusing specifically on trade and energy through a 3D animation on trade and a number of graphs and maps supported by a student worksheet. Students then go on to explore the use of ecological footprint at the national scale through a case study on Switzerland. They look at both the advantages and shortfalls of ecological footprint before discussing the complexity of its use at the global scale as well as in the context of the broader definition of sustainable development.


    An overview of global patterns and trends in the availability and consumption of water, including embedded water in food and manufactured goods


    This page provides a fun introduction to the concept of embedded water, which begins with a rank the water content starter activity. This is followed by a more serious account of the impacts of global trade in food on India by Vindana Shiva. Students use a worksheet to answer questions based on her view. Students then investigate the main message and content of the US Infrastructure infographic on water availability and consumption  before finishing the lesson with a thinking skills activity based on sketch and number note taking based on an informative and visually impressive short video on water availability and consumption.


    An overview of global patterns and trends in the availability and consumption of land/food, including changing diets in middle-income countries

    Land and Food Availability and Consumption

    This page introduces global patterns of food and land availability as well as consumption through a number of well chosen graphics and maps. Students follow a number of skill based questions to identify patterns as well as explore strengths and weaknesses in the graphics. Through a series of thinking skills questions students develop their understanding and ability to synthesise. Students use the fantastic National Geographic site to produce their own infographic on changing middle income diets, before looking at the reasons for this change through a news item and question sheet and finally a supported discussion exercise.


    An overview of global patterns and trends in the availability and consumption of energy, including the relative and changing importance of hydrocarbons, nuclear power, renewables, new sources of modern energy

    Energy Availability and Consumption

    This page uses a numbe rof different graphs, maps and infographics to help students to explore the trends in energy production and consumption. It begins with a starter activity on peak oil and then looks at the complexity of energy supplies in relation to optimistic and pessimistic views. A resource pack is provided for a group written activity and students apply the energy sector to aspects of Ellen MacArthur's circular economy. Students go on to make detailed notes on the efficiency and opportunities and challenges of different energies including low carbon solutions and technologies, developing the UK as an example.


    2. Impacts of Changing Trends in Resource Consumption

    The water–food–energy “nexus” and how its complex interactions affect:

    • national water security, including access to safe water
    • national food security, including food availability
    • national energy security, including energy pathways and geopolitical issues

    Synthesis, evaluation and skills opportunities

    How perspectives on, and priorities for, national resource security vary between places and at different scales

    The water-food-energy "nexus" and Security

    This page explores the water, food and energy nexus in regard to national resource security and different perspectives at a range of scales. It begins with a simple animation introducing the nexus and then builds students' application of the nexus with a three-step hexagon nexus sorting activity. The first, based on characteristics of the nexus, the second, based on challenges and the third, a range of specific located examples in picture and text form. Students then go on to explore through a group activity, using a noting sheet and a collection of resources within the site, different perspectives and located examples focused on resource security and the challenges of applying the nexus into policy.


    The implications of global climate change for the water–food–energy nexus

    • Detailed examples of two countries with contrasting levels of resource security

    Climate Change and Contrasting Resource Security

    This pages recaps the impacts of climate change on water, food and energy security through a supported mind map activity before looking in more depth through an IPCC infographic card sort question and jigsaw activity. Students then go on to investigate the contrasting resource security and vulnerability to climate change in India and South Africa through a number of structured activities and resources, including paired research, security indices and in depth case studies of both climate change impacts and use of the water, food and energy nexus.


    The disposal and recycling of consumer items, including international flows of waste

    Waste Disposal, Recycling and International Flows

    This page introduces a hierarchy of effective waste management. It begins with a look at what the circular economy suggests and then students attempt to rank different management strategies. It then explores the different types of waste management and their challenges through a number of place contexts, including the EU and developing countries. Students focus on the winners and losers. In the second lesson students look more specifically at the issue of global flows in waste; in particular e-waste, the patterns and causes as well as the problems of lack of regulation, child labour and toxic waste exposure.


    3. Resource Stewardship

    Divergent thinking about population and resource consumption trends:

    • pessimistic views, including neo-Malthusian views
    • optimistic views, including Boserup

    Synthesis, evaluation and skills opportunities

    Different perspectives on global resource use and the likely effectiveness of management actions at varying scales

    Divergent Views on Resource Consumption

    This page revisits some earlier concepts such as carrying capacity, overshoot and optimum population. It begins with a starter activity looking at economic growth factors and production rates with selected natural resources. Both of which show exponential growth. Student then follow a number of resources on carrying capacity and ecological footprint before being introduced to different population resource theorists. Students complete a noting sheet before beginning their supported research for an air balloon debate on the subject, The human race faces a tragic self made Malthusian collapse.


    Resource stewardship strategies, including:

    • The value of the circular economy as a systems approach for effective cycling of materials and energy
    • The role of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and progress made toward meeting them

    Resource Stewardship and the Circular Economy as a Systems Approach

    This page develops resources that first look at a more balanced focus on resource stewardship. It starts by exploring indigenous economy and the fundamental role of resource stewardship. Students then look at resource stewardship in practice through the USDA resource stewardship tool and the Global Commons. Well chosen videos are used with noting worksheets to develop a critical understanding. The lesson then goes on to develop the circular economy and its application as a systems approach. The Ellen MacArthur foundation video is used as an introduction and then concrete examples of it application are given through the EU. Students are then given a research task.

    UN Sustainable Development Goals

    This page introduces the role of the SDGs. It begins with a simple slideshow to test students current knowledge, before introducing the role of the goals through a SDG website text comprehension and video Q&A. Students then look deeper at the role of the goals in terms of both Civil Society groups and the Private sector. Animations as well as an annotation activity based on an essay paper are used. Students then go on to research the progress made with the goals, comparing at least two regions for three chosen goals. They assess progress using the PDF resource based on the SDGs 2016 report and key data.

    All materials on this website are for the exclusive use of teachers and students at subscribing schools for the period of their subscription. Any unauthorised copying or posting of materials on other websites is an infringement of our copyright and could result in your account being blocked and legal action being taken against you.