Guidebook for Survivors
Students are asked to imagine a dystopian climate change scenario and create a guidebook for climate change survivors. They are then asked to return to present day and see if they could act on the insights in their guidebook to prevent the climate change threat and to what effect they can create change in their own community.
Climate change writers such as James Lovelock and Mark Lynas have imagined a world in which humanity has lacked the willpower and resolve to prevent dangerous climate change and human society has shrunk to a remnant living close to the Arctic Circle and sub-polar areas in a few contracting ‘belts of habitability’. For a few minutes students deep breathe, relax, close their eyes before being taken through the following guided visualization, read slowly with pauses, that is based on the Lovelock and Lynas scenarios (see the link attached).
The visualization over, students maintain reflective silence for a few minutes before, again silently; they paint their felt response to what they have heard. Paintings are hung on the class wall. Class discussion is at this stage avoided.
The teacher introduces the idea of a Guidebook for Survivors as proposed by Lovelock:
“One thing we can do to lessen the consequences of catastrophe is to write a guidebook for our survivors to help them rebuild civilization without repeating many of our mistakes”. Students, working in groups of four of five, are asked to think of themselves in the visualization scenario and to decide what would be the insights they would most want to pass on to generations of survivors of global heating, especially when, after many generations, the climate cooled and humans could move south again into a greening world. Each group prepares a one-sheet presentation. Groups report back. Class discussion follows.
The teacher makes the point that the ‘belts of habitability’ scenario is preventable and asks groups to re-form and imagine that they have just received their own guidebook and should consider what they and others could do in the present day to prevent the scenario ever becoming a reality. Groups are asked to prepare an action plan on a sheet of newsprint. Groups report back and class discussion follows.
Chart paper, markers/paint/stencils, masking tape.
Resource Type:Lesson Plan
Subject(s):Science, English / Language Arts, Interdisciplinary Studies, Social Studies, Environmental Studies,
Topic:Air, Atmosphere and Climate, Solutions, Taking Action,
Level:Primary / ElementaryIntermediate / Middle
Grade: 7 8 9 10 11 12
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