Climate changes affect indigenous cultures

Watch this 15-minute video produced by the Guardian and read this article from the same news source detailing how some indigenous peoples experience changes to their culture due to effects of climate changes.

What challenges and benefits do the people on Greenland experience because of climate changes? And while Aboriginal Australians may have the same core problem, given their vastly different physiography the effects are even more devastating. Add governmental obstructions, for instance when it comes to infrastructure, into the equation, and it is hard to see any benefits from climate changes like the Greenlanders do. So what challenges do the people of Australia’s Northern Territory face because of climate changes?

Hilde

Sources:

In the news:  New species, some under threat even before they were discovered

Kew scientists have officially given 110 new species scientific names in the course of 2019, this Guardian article reveals. Among these 102 plants and eight fungi are species that can change medicine. One has the ability to trick our taste buds. Another has been used for centuries to treat arthritis. It has only this year been given a formal scientific name, and seems also to have abilities to combat cancer.

According to the article, “[t]here are almost 400,000 known species of plant, and about 2,000 new species are named every year”. Yet with their habitats being under threat due to a variety of dangers, the world is at risk of losing them before the species are even discovered, registered, named, or measures being taken to protect them.

Reflecting on all the undiscovered species still out there and all the potential they hold, particularly within medicine, should we not do more to protect them from becoming extinct? Should we not rage against the forest fires raging in several parts of the world, whether or not the destruction is deliberate? Should we not protest dam projects that could potentially wipe out an entire species? Should we not reflect around our own and our governments’ values and actions (or inaction), in the hopes of preserving nature?

In the news: Time Person of the Year 2019

Time Person of the Year is annually awarded to the person who “for better or worse […] has done the most to influence the events of the year.” Could there be a more deserving winner for 2019 than Greta Thunberg? Time Magazine’s editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal said in his announcement: “She became the biggest voice on the biggest issue facing the planet this year, coming from essentially nowhere to lead a worldwide movement.”Time magazine cover with Greta Thunberg

Congratulations!

 

 

COP25

For two weeks civil servants, activists and some politicians are meeting in Madrid for the 25th summit of the UN’s conference of the parties – COP25. By Friday, 13 December 2019, they will have debated issues concerning the climate – once again. Will it help? Hopefully, but only time will tell. The Guardian has compiled an excellent overview of what to expect before the climate conference started on 2 December. Read it, but also do your own research, for instance on COP25’s own website. For instance, how many did Norway send to Madrid during these two weeks? Did the UK send anyone, or were they too busy campaigning ahead of the general election on 12 December? Has COP25 actually achieved anything now that there are only days left, or are they postponing most things until next year and COP26, since most countries has 2020 as one of their deadlines, whether for attaining the previous targets, set in Copenhagen, or revising the objectives set in the Paris Accord.

Hilde

Making the world uninhabitable?

We are destroying the planet, in the words of Greta Thunberg “our house is on fire.”

What will happen if we fail to stop this trend?

Today we are going to watch A Plastic Whale, a documentary about how our ways of life are destroying our animal life. Before that, let’s read Brad Plumer’s article “Humans Are Speeding Extinction and Altering the Natural World at an ‘Unprecedented’ Pace” in the New York Times.

As you read, write down answers to the following questions:

  • how are we speeding extinction and altering the natural world?
  • how much has animal and plant life decreased for the past 100 years?
  • are any species particularly at risk right now?
  • which areas/countries are most at risk?
  • are any solutions offered?

Now, go to WWF’s Species List of Endangered Species. Pick a specie and find out: why is this specie threatened with extinction and what needs to be done to save this one in particular. And, why does it matter whether we preserve it or not?

Make a blog post combining your findings from The NY Times and about an endangered specie.

Hanna

In the news: Youth Climate Activist addressing the UN plenary on climate change

Listen to 15 year old Greta Thunberg from Sweden address the UN climate plenary in Poland – you are stealing our future

Greta Thunberg holds a placard reading "School strike for the climate" during a protest outside the Swedish parliament on November 30, 2018.

According to the Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment, Ola Elvestuen, the countries represented are getting close to a climate accord.

Global Warming

Climate change is a topic that the United Nations has taken seriously for decades, having founded the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) already in 1994, initiated during the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has existed since 1988. They work “to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and potential future risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies” (https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/session48/pr_181008_P48_spm_en.pdf).

In December, the IPCC will present to the Katowice Climate Change Conference a Special Report on the effects of a global warming of 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels. Read the press release from the IPCC in the link above and make a note of what it says about the difference between a 1- and 2-degree increase compared to pre-industrial levels. Draw upon studies from your other subjects as well and be prepared to discuss the topic in class.

Hilde

In the news: Hunger increasing due to climate change

 

Hunger increasing due to climate change, according to a UN report.

It found that 821 million people — one in every nine — were malnourished in 2017, up from 815 million in 2016, putting at risk the UN’s goal of eradicating hunger in the world by 2030.

Hanna

Goal nr. 14 – Life Under Water

Since Norad is hosting an event with a special focus on the UN Sustainability Goal nr. 14 right here in our town, we think it proper to spend some extra time on this too.

We are surrounded by fjords, but do we really know what’s going on in them?

If things continue the way they have, by 2050 the oceans will contain more plastic than fish. That is why the UN has made “Life Under Water” one of their 17 goals for sustainable development, and they hope to improve conditions somewhat by 2030.

So…what’s really the problem?
Let’s start by reading up about ocean pollution here.

That’s the problem. Trash, fertilizers, cleaning products dangerous for life under water, chemicals, and plastic.

The big bad wolf in this scenario is plastic, especially the plastic produced for one time use – such as cups, bottles, bags, straws, cutlery etc.

plastic turtle

(Picture from: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/watch-kind-hearted-biologist-save-6990496)

We are going to watch the 46 minute long documentary “The Plastic Whale” about an incident which took place right outside Bergen last year.

After watching this documentary, write a blog post where you:
– discuss the problems life under water are currently facing
– reflect on the impact this documentary had on you
– do you think it will help the oceans that we put more focus on this problem? Why/why not?
– Finally, what are you most likely to do in order to preserve our oceans, and what do you think others should do?

Find a fitting title to your blog post.

– Hanna

Preparing for the term test

Testing, testing, testing… Students are tested in every subject more or less all the time and International English is no exception!  To prepare for this we arrange term tests, because we want our students to be equipped for a written exam.  On December 5, Målfrid’s students worked with task 1 of a former exam. You can also listen to the speech as a Ted Talk. We want to share our knowledge with others and have made a padlet about literary devices and language features which you can access here.

Although we use blogs in our teaching, we still want our students to use a formal, academic style. Here is some useful guidance.  Good luck with your term tests!

exam