Category Archives: Ecology & Conservation (Core and Options)
A Plastic Ocean. Genuinely Terrifying.
Streaming now on Netflix and available through other means, A Plastic Ocean is a terrifying (but well done) feature-length documentary on the rapidly growing crisis in the oceans as a direct result of human impacts.
IB Bio and ESS students will find many curricular connections in this movie, from food webs, water cycles and ocean currents to animal behaviour, biomagnification and endocrinology. Including the impact on human and animal health, this film raises and alarm and shows where we’ve gone wrong. There are some really insightful sections of scientists at work, where we can see “how we know what we know” and what actions are being taken. The final section has some fascinating solutions and actions. Give it a go.
Tanya Streeter, world-record freediver, narrates and is featured in much of the film. Her TEDx Talk tells a similar story.
Ocean plastics have really come into vogue the last couple of years, and it is a safe bet that someone near you is involved in taking action. From beach cleans, reef surveys and cleanups to campaigns to ban single-use plastics (chapeau, Costa Rica), plastic is clearly one of those issues that is indisputably – embarrassingly – human made.
What’s your school doing to reduce the scourge of plastic?
Final morning of #EcoClub camp to Shiraishi Island. Working with local fishermen to get rid of the #bigspringbeachclean trash. #CAinspires pic.twitter.com/G4pobUxoD0
— Stephen Taylor (@sjtylr) April 16, 2017
Fun morning #beachclean with @mcsuk & @sascampaigns at Saltburn. I'll try the survey sheets with #EcoClub in Japan next time. #oceanaction pic.twitter.com/SGGmWYwCBS
— Stephen Taylor (@sjtylr) July 8, 2017
This 30-Foot Ship Made of Plastic Has a Foreboding Message About Our Trash https://t.co/Ij6oCy4l6w @onegreenplanet #PlasticFreeCoastlines
— SurfersAgainstSewage (@sascampaigns) August 16, 2017
Let's work together to make single-use plastic water bottles a thing of the past. https://t.co/4GPJTSQbpE pic.twitter.com/ESg4zaLfpx
— Surfrider Foundation (@Surfrider) August 28, 2017
Outrageous⚠️ Every second an amount of #plastic the size of this 10m whale enters the ocean. Remember to reduce, reuse & recycle! #oceanhero pic.twitter.com/6pvpzNC9vY
— MCSUK (@mcsuk) August 29, 2017
We know there's trash in the ocean, but why is plastic #MarineDebris so common? Learn more on #TrashTalkTuesday https://t.co/cSWqam2JGw pic.twitter.com/lbhzRm4P6H
— NOAA Marine Debris (@NOAADebris) August 22, 2017
Beautiful and terrfiying in equal measure, this is a good new documentary on Netflix for thinking about the relationships between human actions and ocean health, as well as some good technical stories of collecting footage and data. Great visuals and explainers for symbiosis and how the corals “work”.
Before the Flood: The Science is Clear, the Future is Not.
New from Leonardo DiCaprio and National Geographic, Before the Flood is a compelling and powerful climate change documentary. Where are we in the world right now with our understanding, challenges and potential solutions. What actions need to be taken right away?
The full movie
is was available initially for free on YouTube, and their action website hosts more resources for use in class or discussions. Click here for other platforms where you can view, rent or buy the movie.
Making the Invisible Visible: Climate Change & CO2
This is very neat video from NASA, showing carbon dioxide changes over time, with annotations. See a breakdown here.
#SharkWeek Fail. Some Sharky Remedies*.
Over the last couple of years, Discovery’s #SharkWeek event has taken a beating for producing pseudoscience and spectacle over actual educational output that will help shark conservation. From CGI-lame Megalodon junk (they’re extinct already) to ‘Voodoo Sharks’, serious shark-science educators are getting annoyed. Sadly it seems that some of the scientists who appear in the “documentaries” have been duped into taking part, or misquoted: see this piece by David Schiffman (@WhySharksMatter).
Fortunately, there is a lot of actually good content out there. This year, Emily Graslie (@ehmee, scientist, YouTuber and focus of perhaps one of Cosmo’s only proper articles ever), has created a series of five shark videos to entertain… and educate!
*Remedies for bad science. Not remedies made of sharks. That
would be is bad.
John Oliver: Climate Change Sketch
This funny (but sweary) John Oliver sketch skewers the non-debate on climate change.
“The debate on climate change should not be whether or not it exists, but what we should do about it.”
With 97% agreement from scientists on the human cause of climate change, are the media skewing the debate with 1:1 representation?
This is connected to the Greenhouse Effect topic resources. Don’t play it in class without listening first – there is some strong langauage.
The Great Barrier Reef: An Obituary
In the current age of environmental destruction it can be difficult to keep paying attention to the news. But some stories stand out as being real alarm bells, and this very sad piece on the iconic barrier reef highlights a lot of purely human-caused issues. To add to the misery, now the reef is under further threat from destructive dredging and dumping… to make way for shipping lanes for coal mining in Australia. #EpicFail.
MrT’s students: note the image above has a caption and links back to the original source, not to an image hosted on my WordPress. Make sure your writing does the same.
Ending Overfishing Animation
This is a neat animation by The Black Fish (@theblackfishorg) on Ending Overfishing, highlighting issues of overfishing, bycatch, fish-farming and the tensions between science-recommended catches and econonmy-driven catch limits. It connects directly to the Population Ecology option topic.
Niches for Species: How Wolves Change Rivers
This video is an excerpt from George Monbiot’s recent TED Talk (posted here a while back), and really sets up the imagery of an ecosystem as it responds to change. A great clip, well suited to starting off the Ecology units.
Niches for Species: George Monbiot’s TED Talk on Rewilding.
This TED Talk from Guardian environment writer George Monbiot (@GeorgeMonbiot) makes a compelling argument for rewilding: putting back what we have taken from nature, letting the ecosystems do what they will and allowing the megafauna to re-reshape the ecosystem.
“It offers us the hope that our silent spring can be replaced by a raucous summer.”
The connections across the curriculum here are clear, most notably to 5.1 Ecosystems and HL Option G4: Conservation of Biodiversity. Well worth 15 minutes and could be the stimulus for class discussion.