In just a few decades since modern societies first began to recognize and debate their impacts on the natural environment, sustainable development has evolved into a deep and complex topic, attracting focused attention from scholars, governments, and individuals.
Through a series of individual, small group and class presentation activities, as well as PowerPoint presentations, graphs, charts, and maps, the curriculum unit Sustainability and Modern China explores these issues through the lens of China. Many environmental trends in China are unprecedented and often mind-boggling in terms of scale, rate of change, and potential for both positive and negative global impact. In order to make it easier to comprehend environmental sustainability in China and in the world, the overall unit has been framed with the following overarching threads:
- It is important for students to have a base understanding of pressing issues such as urbanization, water scarcity, energy security, and climate change.
- To attain a deeper and more enduring understanding of environmental sustainability, it is critical for students to identify and grapple with the interconnections between and among these issues. Dynamic tools, such as the IPAT Equation, help with this process, and can be applied to the content in this unit as well as to a broad and diverse array of current and future environmental issues.
- As the unit is discussed, cross-cultural perspectives and collaborative skills must also be incorporated, given their imperative application in both the local and global community as we engage in the ongoing and future development of sustainable solutions to interconnected environmental challenges.
- Lastly, to synthesize the knowledge gained in this unit, mitigate the possibility that students will feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the challenges of the future, and to move students to action, suggestions for the creation of personal action plans are provided. These steps encourage students to reflect their changing attitudes and practices, and to contribute toward positive change.
Lesson 5: Jeopardy (pg. 240)