Recommended Age Level: Later Elementary, Middle School, High School
How would different community people look at and try to solve an environmental problem in their neighborhood?
Environmental decisions - People most often affected by environmental abuses may be the least able to bring about effective action to correct or prevent them.
Arrange class into small groups of three to five.
Briefly set the tone for the activity by asking and discussing these questions:
Often, the very people who are directly impacted by local environmental problems and solutions—the community—have little input. Today, we will break into small groups and try to see how different members of a community might view and respond to a community environmental problem.
Class breaks into small groups of three to five. Each group identifies a "recorder" to write down information for the group.
Share that each group is to pick a community environmental issue on the hand out-or they may pick another issue and write it on the "other" line.
On the back of the hand out are examples of different community members. Groups are to discuss and record how they think various community members would respond to the problem and how they might contribute to solving the problem.
Groups discuss and record ideas.
Bring class back together and let each group summarize the problem they addressed and how three to five different community members might contribute to solutions. Ask questions like:
Why might community leaders avoid involving people from the community in understanding and dealing with local environmental problems?
In your opinion, why should or shouldn't community people be involved in local environmental problems?
What skills and roles are necessary for community teams to work well on environmental or other issues?
How can more people in your community get involved in dealing with and solving local environmental problems?
Class might choose a local environmental problem and meet with those who are dealing with it. Students can interview people involved to understand and clarify the problem, to learn about options and solutions, and to define impacts on different community members. Students might offer support to garner community input,to meet with community people, or to promote students and the community to be aware of an issue.
Class or individual students might join a community team dealing with a local environmental issue.
Class or individual students might interview and write articles about community environmental issues for school, township or local papers, sharing how different members of the community view or are impacted by the issue or problem.
Students and everyday citizens often feel left out or don't even know about community environmental issues or problems. Help students explore resources and groups in their community who try to have input and help solve problems. Invite these people to come and share information about their group and programs.
Discuss strategies for the everyday citizen to be more informed and a part of community environmental issues.
Encourage interested students to form a group that explores and shares local environmental issues with fellow students via flyers, newsletter, paper articles and group/class presentations.