Resource Stewardship and the Circular Economy

Introduction

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.

Enquiry Question

What is resource stewardship and how does the circular economy help?

Lesson Time: 1 Hour

Lesson Objectives:

  • 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

Teacher Notes:

Starter_Reading Comprehension and Synthesis_Indigenous Economy_Possibilities and Synthesis_Project the text and have students read it. Then discuss the opportunities and challenges of adopting such an economy like that suggested by the Iroquuio

1. Video Comprehension_Indigenous Economy_Processes and Synthesis_Show the video from First Peoples and students should make notes on the characteristics of indigenous economy. Then discuss how does this represents resource Stewardship?

2. Figure Analysis_Resource Stewardship_Places and Possibilities_Show the students the USDA Resource Stewardship evaluation form and students can discuss how this tool helps farmers achieve improved resource stewardship

3. Video Comprehension_USDA Resource Stewardship_Places and Possibilities_Then show the short video explaining how farmers make us eof the USDA tool

4. The Global Commons_Can the students name the four global commons?_ Synthesis_Pose the question and then show them the commons in the drop down box

Discuss with the class whether the global commons should be extended

5. Video Comprehension_The Tragedy of the Commons_Power and Possibilities_Show students the video on the Tragedy of the Commons and students should make notes on:

  1. How the Tragedy of the Commons and over exploitation takes place
  2. Why this model may be useful for increased resource stewardship

Then see if the students can name any real examples today of the Tragedy of the Commons

6. Video Comprehension_The Circular Economy and Resource Stewardship_Places and Possibilities_Show the two videos, one of the circular economy and the second on EU examples of the circular economy in practice and students should complete the structure notes in the worksheet provided.

7. Student Research_Assessment_Possibilities_Students should research and produce a fact sheet on the circular economy in practice

In their fact sheet they should explain the principles of the circular economy (this could be visual) an how it can be applied as a systems approach.

Develop three specific examples of circular economy in

  1. Appliances
  2. Recycling
  3. Energy

Simon Oakes' piece is provided as further reading

Starter Activity_Possibilities and Synthesis_Seventh Generation Thinking

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.

Indigenous Economy

Indiginous Economy

Three major features of indigenous economies are that they are based on ancient knowledge that comes from:

  1. Interaction with the localized nature of the land
  2. A respect for the land and environment that maintains a successful balance between use, maintaining habitat for animals, and husbanding
  3. 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

Extension Reading

 Grist tribes have climate wisdom and good reason not to share it

Student Activity_Processes and Synthesis_Enoughness, Restoring Balance to the Economy

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?

Student Activity_Places and Possibilities_Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool

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?


Source: USDA

Student Activity_Places and Possibilities_The Resource Stewardship Tool Explained

Watch the following video and write down the benefits for farmers using the resource stewardship tool

Student Activity_Synthesis_Should We Extend the Global Commons?

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:

  1. The high seas
  2. Antarctica
  3. The atmosphere
  4. Outer space

Watch the animation explaining Garrett Hardin's model called 'The Tragedy of the Commons' 

Make notes on:

  1. How the Tragedy of the Commons and over exploitation takes place
  2. Why this model may be useful for increased resource stewardship

Can you think of real examples of the Tragedy of the Commons

Student Activity_Proceses and Possibilities_The Circular Economy as a Systems Approach

Watch the following video and make notes on how the circular economy can be adopted as a systems approach towards resource stewardship

Circular Economy

There are three key principles to the circular economy

  1. Preserve and enhance natural capital by controlling finite stocks and balancing renewable resource flows
  2. Optimize resource yields by circulating products, materials and components - this requires redesign away from planned obsolescence towards recycling and remanufacturing
  3. Develop system effectiveness by eliminating negative externalities such polluted oceans and climate change

Student Activity_Places and Possibilities_The Circular Economy at Work in the EU

Watch the EU video and make notes on the working examples illustrated

Student Assessment_Possibilities_Researching Circular Economy

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

  1. Appliances
  2. Recycling
  3. Energy

    Resource by Simon Oakes

    Extensive resources on Circular Economy - Kumo.io

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