In “Fire Line,” Arnold Schwarzenegger joins an elite team of wildland firefighters as they battle a new breed of forest fire, one made more deadly by climate change. In “Last Stand,” Harrison Ford travels to Indonesia to investigate palm oil and deforestation.
Students will use the stories in episodes one and two to better understand the long term impacts deforestation and longer wildfire seasons have on the environment.
- Students will examine evidence and sources of evidence to draw conclusions and make predictions.
- Students will quantify changes in land cover over time
- Students will recognize the role deforestation plays in climate change and the serious implications it has on the economy, communities, and the environment.
Land cover change has effects and consequences at all geographic scales: local, regional, and global. Human changes to the land are enabling our own populations to grow, but they also are affecting the capacity of ecosystems to produce food, maintain fresh water and forests, regulate climate and air quality, and provide other essential functions necessary for life. It is critical for us to understand the changes we are bringing about to the earth system, and to understand the effects and consequences of those changes for life on our planet.
Rainforest loss around the globe releases as many heat trapping gasses (greenhouse gases, GHG) into the atmosphere as all the world’s cars, trucks, ships, and airplanes combined. Accounting for around 20% of global carbon dioxide emissions, tropical deforestation is a major driver of global climate change, when the carbon stored in our planet’s forests is released as forests are cut and burned. Deforestation also threatens the local biodiversity of a region, such as the orangutan populations whose numbers of significantly declined due to habitat loss from deforestation. Deforestation also reduces and degrades water supply and soil quality and has devastating impacts on local communities – all key factors that perpetuate global poverty. When people think of the causes of deforestation, logging for timber and paper usually comes to mind. In fact, the largest driver of deforestation in Indonesia, Malaysia, Borneo, and Sumatra is for palm oil. Palm oil is used in many processed foods, cosmetics, household products.
For this lesson, students will need their science notebooks and individual or paired use of a computer with Internet access to watch a Global Forest Watch video on YouTube. You will also need to print the student handouts from pages 14-20 of the PDF Lesson Plan.
Carbon cycle, carbon sinks, climate, climate change, commercial agriculture, dendroclimatology, deforestation, evidence, emissions, fact, greenhouse gases, Green Peace, hectare, impact, local versus global, opinion, palm oil, palm oil conglomerate, peat, pine bark beetle, plantation, refuge, scarcity, sequester, want versus need
Have students take our online quiz both before and after the lesson.
Have students investigate globalforestwatch.org, particularly the scrolling stats across the home page screen. Students may want to continue taking a few notes as this lesson will require them to retrieve and analyze data.
Explore the statistics and information about Indonesia on globalforestwatch.org. This exploration time with the analysis tool is important to student success in the upcoming Explain section. Please do not bypass the Explore section.
We are going to use Global Forest Watch, GFW to look more closely at Tesso Nilo National Park, one of the areas Harrison Ford focused on during his work in Indonesia.
Explain to students that they will quantify tree loss in Tesso Nilo National Park. You will need to go back to the Global Forest Watch site and get students to this map:
The interactive online quiz provides instant feedback about your knowledge of this subject. The justified true/false questions are meant for use in the classrooms.
Taking actions and/or designing solutions to our local, national, and global problems are a personal journey. Via Facebook and Twitter (#YEARSproject), share how you are taking action to combat climate change or if you’ve designed potential solutions share those on Instagram or make a Vine.
Without language there is no science. To be practicing scientists and derive new knowledge, we need language – reading, writing, talking, listening, enacting, and visualizing. Writing is one way to communicate understanding of our learning while allowing us to be creative in our delivery and provide insight and possible solutions to problems.
Michael Mann, Ph.Di, is Director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center and a member of the Penn State University Faculty, holding joint positions in the Departments of Meteorology and Geosciences, and Earth and Environmental Systems Institute.
Inspired by Episode 2? Thinking about your future? You have the power to make a difference today and in the future. Look into careers inspired by the issues presented in Episode 2: End of the Woods.
Use the following print and online resources to supplement your understanding of the material covered in this lesson.
Download the standards tables for High School Lesson 2: NGSS, CCSS, and NCSS. You can also read the different standards applicable to High School Lesson 2 here.
Download a printable lesson plan for use in your classroom.