Category Archives: Human Impacts

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.

Taking Action

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?

 

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Chasing Coral

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.

 

The Great Barrier Reef: An Obituary

The Great Barrier Reef: An Obituary. This haunting multimedia Guardian piece could be a perfect provocation for a unit.

The Great Barrier Reef: An Obituary. This haunting multimedia Guardian piece could be a perfect provocation for a unit.

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.

Crash Course Ecology: 12 Videos with Hank Green

I’ve featured Hank Green’s Crash Course Biology here a number of times and many of his videos have been embedded into the topic pages for the IB Biology course around this site. Prolific as he is, his ‘Crash Course Ecology’ series has just finished, so here are 12 episodes that pull together elements of the the Core and Option topics (as well as a lot more).

The full playlist is here: Crash Course Ecology. It’ll take about as long as Avatar to get through it all, and you’ll learn more about environmental change, impacts and solutions.

Episode 1: The History of Life on Earth

The rest of the episodes are linked after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry

Atmosphere & Pollution Resources

These are for the Grade 10 Environmental Science students. More are on the topic page, here.

Habitable Planet chapters

Somewhere, by Miadox. Beautiful timelapse of nature & industry.

Just in time for Earth Day, here’s a lovely Vimeo video by Miadox. Timelapse images of human impacts and influences, mingled with nature.

I saw this on Twitter from the QI Elves. They also posted this great clip of an eagle owl. Follow them!

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