The Price Isn't Always Right!
Claudia Orr loves to shop. Everyday after work, she goes home to get her mail. Next she makes a fire in her fireplace, and then she relaxes for awhile in her favorite chair. She looks at the many catalogs that have arrived in her mailbox that day. Claudia loves to look at all the latest fashions. After she has browsed through the catalogs and checked her e-mail, Claudia calls her friend, Carol. As usual, they decide to meet at the mall. Claudia goes out to her car, making sure to leave the outside lights on so she can see her way to the door when she gets home.
She drives to the Chelsea Mall and meets Carol at the Food Court. They buy salads and sodas and after eating throw away the styrofoam salad containers in the trash before heading down the mall to look at new clothes. As usual, the two of them decide that the clothes are too expensive, so they each get back in their cars and drive to the nearest discount store. Claudia and Carol each find new shirts to buy before driving again to the bookstore to purchase magazines.
At the bookstore, Claudia and Carol each buy copies of Time magazine and the latest Harry Potter book. Happy with their purchases, they say good-bye to each other and drive home.
When Claudia returns to her driveway, she waves to Carol as she walks into her house just across the street. The two friends are sure that another shopping trip will soon take place. Can you give Claudia some advice on how to become more environmentally friendly?
Planning A New Business
Mr. Sundberg has just moved to a small town in Wyoming. He discovers that there is not a dry cleaners in town, so he thinks that this would be a good business to open. Not only would he make money, he feels that he would be providing a service for the town.
Mr. Sundberg's teenage daughter, Barbara, is very concerned about the environment. In fact, she spent the summer at a dive camp in the Florida Keys where she and the other students took part in a project to save coral reefs. Barbara wants her father to be sure that his new business doesn't hurt the environment.
If you were Barbara, what advice would you give your father? Think about chemicals he could use, ways he could construct his shop, and the source of his power supply. Do you think he should use delivery trucks? Do you think computers should play a role in this new business? What kind of landscaping should Barbara advise him to use around his new business? Explain your thinking.
Can We Work Together?
Ann Howard really cares about the environment. She knows that trees are very important to our planet. Ann knows that a tree planted near a building is not only pretty, but it saves energy. This tree takes carbon dioxide from the air and uses it. This is helpful because carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. This means less carbon dioxide will be in our air. After the tree uses the carbon dioxide, it releases oxygen into the air. The tree can also shade a building. A tree planted near a building can save energy.
One day Ann hears that a small park near her sister's office building will be destroyed. The company her sister works for wants to provide more parking spaces for its employees.
Ann springs into action. She makes posters protesting the cutting down of the trees in the park and the paving of the lot. She and several of her friends walk around the company with the posters. They yell and scream about how bad the company is. The friends pool their money and take out an advertisement in the local paper telling about the company's plans. They ask the community to write letters to the company president. They want people to tell her that she doesn't have any right to cut down trees.
Soon the company president is quite angry with Ann. All the president wanted to do was help her employees by providing them with a free place to park. She thought she was being a good boss.
Can you give Ann some advice about how she could handle this situation? Could she have handled things differently?
What's Wrong with This Picture?
James Richards loves to go camping. He enjoys taking pictures of animals in the wild, and he likes to fish. His dad is planning to take James and two of his friends on a weekend camping trip to a park about three hours away from their home. James wants to get going early, and he and his dad are planning to leave around 8:00 in the morning to set up the tent. Chris and Walter play on the soccer team and have to make up a game early Saturday morning. Walter's dad will drive the two boys to the campground after the game.
James is quite excited and makes a long list of supplies the group will need for the weekend. He and his mom plan a shopping trip on Wednesday night. They buy all the supplies at a local discount store. Chris isn't as organized as James. He and his parents need to make several trips to different stores to buy a sleeping bag, mosquito netting, and fishing equipment. Walter borrows supplies from his next door neighbor.
The boys decide to go shopping together on Friday night to purchase the food they will need. They buy several bottles of soda, candy bars and marshmallows to make s'mores, hot dogs, buns, ketchup, mustard, chips, donuts, string cheese and other goodies. They have a great time together at the store and enjoy listening to the radio when riding in the car. In fact, the boys laugh because they hear the same song for the third time as they walk into James's house. It is blaring from the radio in his room as they unlock the front door to his house.
The next morning James and his dad are surprised to see a haze over the area as they near the park. When they pay for parking, the attendant tells them that a landfill and power plant have recently been built nearby. This seems to be what is causing the haze. James is disappointed because now his pictures won't be as clear.
Finally, they arrive at their campsite. James begins chopping small trees for firewood as his dad puts up the tent. About two hours later, Chris and Walter arrive. They cut branches for roasting marshmallows and begin to build the fire. After things are set up the four of them leave to go check out the lake.
What advice could you give to the four campers? Think about their preparations, the food they bought, and the way they set up the campsite. Be specific about how the campers could be more helpful to the environment. You might want to think about why a landfill might have needed to be built. Why are more power plants necessary? Think about the importance of trees and carbon sequestration.
Gathoni Anna lives in a remote village in Kenya. She spends a good deal of time collecting firewood so that she and her mother can cook meals in their hut. One day a school comes to Gathoni Anna's village. The teacher helps Gathoni Anna and her friends to understand how to collect and use biomass material so that their own lives and environment will be healthier.
What do you suppose the teacher tells the class? Pretend you are Gathoni Anna arriving home. Describe to your mother the helpful things you have learned during your first day at the new school. Try and convince Gathoni Anna's mother to collect and use biomass.
Note: Gathoni Anna is a name from the Kikiu tribe and means "daughter of man of learning."