M1/1.4 - Saving rainforests - An introduction to Global Action


Module one is designed to help students explore why existing forests need to be protected. Students will confront the threats to existing forests and contemplate the very real dangers that await us if we do not learn to effect change and contribute to a more sustainable world.

Learning Objectives

To explore existing programmes set up to protect rainforests.

Learning Outcomes:

All students will be able to connect classroom products to the issue of deforestation.

Most students will be able to identify and explain how students from around the world have taken action to combat deforestation.

Some students will be able to evaluate how Willie Smits ideas help combat deforestation.



Teacher notes: Link to Congo Jones and the Loggers of Dome can be found in bookmarks under Online Games.

Play 'Congo Jones and the Loggers of Dome.' It is an interactive game by the Rainforest Foundation UK that guides players in combating deforestation by helping communities organise against logging companies.

Task 1: My Connection to Deforestation

Teacher notes:To assist students in understanding their connection to deforestation, please check out the resource document entitled "Tropical Forests in Our Daily Lives" attached in the Assignment Documents below.

Student instructions:

Go around your classroom and make a list of items that may be made from items found in the forest.

Key Questions: How would it affect you if they were no longer around? Do you think any of those items, or the way those items are used, contribute to deforestation?

VIRTUAL CLASSROOM TOOLS: Post "photo-blogs" (individually or in teams) of things in the class that could lead to deforestation. Take photos of their connection to deforestation through the items used in school, and post the photos either as a photo-blog entry or in a photo album entitled "My Connection to Deforestation."

Task 2: What are students doing around the world?

Teacher notes: Students are to analyse actions taken by other students from around the world to combat deforestation (links located under Assignment Links). Students can work individually or in groups.

Student instructions:

Look through the following websites:

- Plant for the Planet: The Billion Trees Campaign
- Solar Generation
- Spread Trees, not AIDS

For each website answer the following questions:

- What do you think is the overall project goal and vision of that project? Does this project have a "global" component?
- Which causes/impact of deforestation does it address?
- What makes this action plan effective/ineffective?
VIRTUAL CLASSROOM TOOLS: Record research using the writing wall.

Task 3: Willie Smits restores a rainforest

Teacher notes: This activity is an introduction to the Masarang Foundation and Willie Smits. Module two will focus on student action and global change in greater detail. The link to Willie Smits' video can be found under assignment links

Student instructions:

Watch Willie Smits video - it's guaranteed to inspire you.

Smits believes that to rebuild orang-utan populations, we must first rebuild their forest habitat -- which means helping local people find options other than the short-term fix of harvesting forests to survive. His Masarang Foundation raises money and awareness to restore habitat forests around the world -- and to empower local people. In 2007, Masarang opened a palm-sugar factory that uses thermal energy to turn sugar palms (fast-growing trees that thrive in degraded soils) into sugar and even ethanol, returning cash and power to the community and, with luck, starting the cycle toward a better future for people, trees and orangs.
By piecing together a complex ecological puzzle, biologist Willie Smits has found a way to re-grow clear cut rainforest in Borneo, saving local orangutans -- and creating a thrilling blueprint for restoring fragile ecosystems.

VIRTUAL CLASSROOM TOOLS: Respond to the discussion thread entitled 'How does Willie Smits ideas help combat deforestation?

Play ‘Give me 5’ students are to share five key facts that they have learnt during this lesson.

Continue to M2/2.1: Endangered Species »