Resource Stewardship and the Circular Economy
- Enquiry Question
- Starter Activity_Possibilities and Synthesis_Seventh Generation Thinking
- Student Activity_Processes and Synthesis_Enoughness, Restoring Balance to the Economy
- Student Activity_Places and Possibilities_Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool
- Student Activity_Places and Possibilities_The Resource Stewardship Tool Explained
- Student Activity_Synthesis_Should We Extend the Global Commons?
- Student Activity_Proceses and Possibilities_The Circular Economy as a Systems Approach
- Student Activity_Places and Possibilities_The Circular Economy at Work in the EU
- Student Assessment_Possibilities_Researching Circular Economy
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.
Lesson Time: 1 Hour
- To describe the characteristics of resource stewardship
- To discuss the value of the circular economy as a systems approach for effective cycling of materials and energy
Read the following text, which outlines indigenous economy thinking based on an ancient Iroquuio philosophy and suggest the opportunities and challenges of adopting an economic system like this.
Three major features of indigenous economies are that they are based on ancient knowledge that comes from:
- Interaction with the localized nature of the land
- A respect for the land and environment that maintains a successful balance between use, maintaining habitat for animals, and husbanding
- Social and economic equity
Indigenous experience tells us is that an economy is about fairness and equity. It should be for the well-being of all the people and the sacredness of creation. If one takes care of their environment because it provides for them. Then the environment provides for them because one is protecting it.
Integral to this indigenous teaching are the following
- Intergenerational thinking and equity - Does this use of the environment impact the sustainability of its use seven generations from now?
- Inter- and intra-species equity -Respect fo all life
- Valuing those spiritual and intangible facets of the natural world and cultural practice - This can be valued in monetary terms
Watch the following animation from First Peoples and write notes on the characteristics of indigenous economy in comparison to western economy.
Discuss how this represents resource Stewardship?
Study the image below, which shows a part of the resource stewardship tool produced by the the USDA in the USA
How do you think a tool like this can be used by farmers to conserve their resources?
Watch the following video and write down the benefits for farmers using the resource stewardship tool
Can you name the four global commons?
The global commons refers to areas of the world that lie out of reach of any nation state. The United Nations Environmental Programme state four global commons:
Watch the animation explaining Garrett Hardin's model called 'The Tragedy of the Commons'
Make notes on:
- How the Tragedy of the Commons and over exploitation takes place
- Why this model may be useful for increased resource stewardship
Can you think of real examples of the Tragedy of the Commons
Watch the following video and make notes on how the circular economy can be adopted as a systems approach towards resource stewardship
There are three key principles to the circular economy
- Preserve and enhance natural capital by controlling finite stocks and balancing renewable resource flows
- Optimize resource yields by circulating products, materials and components - this requires redesign away from planned obsolescence towards recycling and remanufacturing
- Develop system effectiveness by eliminating negative externalities such polluted oceans and climate change
Watch the EU video and make notes on the working examples illustrated
Research and produce a fact sheet on the circular economy in practice
In your fact sheet explain the principles of the circular economy (this could be visual) and how it can be applied as a systems approach.
Develop three specific examples of circular economy in