Sunday, March 18, 2012

Discovering Delicate Deserts (3 Ds)


Tourism: Climate Change and Deserts Teaching Modules

‘Discovering Delicate Deserts’ (3D’s)

April 12, 2011

Introduction
    Many people visit desert environments as tourists. They visit the large open spaces for the appreciation of landscape, photographing geological land formations, to experience various sunrises and sunsets, and the diversity of desert species. However they don’t always know the affects that they leave behind. This is why we need young people to fully understand how Climate Change will affect every species on planet earth, especially humans. It is hoped that through knowledge of the processes involved, students will learn how to prevent the conflicts and be able to possibly prevent and maybe solve the problems that arise, before they begin travelling.
    Throughout these modules there will be topics which will contain a potential conflict, requiring at least one solution. As an expression of what students have learned, they may like to portray their ideas using language arts, technology and art work in the fields of music, art, drama, operetta, composition, orchestral productions, and sculpture.
    As climate change is a weather concern, this is already included in current curriculum These may include such things as:

1.    Summers in Canada which may become longer with more rain.
2.    Winters will be colder in areas where it is not expected. Canadian winters might be warmer with less snow.
3.    Desertification is already increasing dramatically in many countries due to slash and burn farming, urban expansion, and water reduction.
4.    Globally, humans are using more water than their ecological footprint allows, and this means that nature’s water requirements are no longer sufficient to keep the hydrological cycle working.
5.    Forests are burning due to lack of rain.(ie: Victoria, Australia)
6.    The Arctic pools have dried up and are burning.
7.    Ice is melting on land which increases the sea levels.
8.    Oceans will ingress coastal lowlands and coral islands will be the first affected.
9.    Populations are going to be relocated due to sea level rise.
10.    Communities will have to relocate because of desertification eg: China.
These are only some of the global crises we are experiencing which will require educators to include positive lessons in environmental studies, inter-cultural understanding, conflict resolution of the global commons and the relocation of political boundaries. Global commons include the Arctic, oceans, space, and atmosphere. Global Governance for the global commons will need to be addressed. All humans will have to re-assess how they will live on planet earth.

Educators will need to re-design their courses with a sustainability focus in all subjects taught at all levels of education. What has been taught in schools has been part of the problem of the global commons issues that we are faced with now. Creating educational modules that have a focus on peace and sustainability education, has always been one of the many aspects of IHTEC’s International School Peace Gardens program.

Deserts - a survival educational global common

It will be useful for everyone to know how live in a desert and cope with desertification. There will be problems that we can solve, also changes that we are not expecting, in every country. We all can learn techniques as to how to live in peace, as the planet heats up, and the sea level rises. Keep in mind that everything you do and suggest must COOL the EARTH.

World Geography
1.    Find a world map and draw all the world deserts.
2.    Use another colour and extend the world map with projected extended deserts due to climate change. It is expected that in North America the band of deserts will include Texas, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
    a.    For a list of the world’s deserts see  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_deserts
    b.    Map of world deserts http://attachments.conceptart.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=606519&d=1235908962
    c.  
List of North American deserts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_North_American_deserts
    d.    Map of Australian Deserts
    e.    In a classroom, create five groups of students, one for each of the five continents. Each student to choose one desert to study in that continent. Identify the desert eco-zone, how many species live in it, what these species are, which species are endangered, and where they live.

3.    Maslows Basic Values
    a.    Food
          i.    Science for Peace / Canadian Pugwash, Global Issues Project has developed a Food and Population statement .
          ii.    IHTEC has produced a Food and Population document.
         iii.    planting for food security.
   b.    Water - see Water Dedication and ‘Freshwater Document’
         i.    Dehydration and evaporation are the greatest concern.
   c.    Housing - Must be able to withstand increasing weather events. Many live underground (Cooper Pedy, South Australia).
   d.    Protection from the heat - Study how animals protect themselves from the heat.
   e.    Health - Protection from the desert environments. Some deserts are cold.
   f.    Physiological needs
   g.    Safety needs
   h.    Love and belongingness needs
   i.    Self - Esteem needs
   j.    Aesthetic and cognitive needs (complexity)
   k.    Self-actualization needs (relationships, hobbies and interests that generate FLOW eg Csikszentmihalyi)
   l.    Inner peace (relaxation, meditation, self esteem) http://austega.com/education/articles/flow.htm

4.    Desert Societies - Inter-cultural global governance
    a.    Choose a desert culture and show it on a map.
    b.    Study how one of the following desert cultures survives. This study is to be at the local level in their villages.
        i.    Australian Aboriginals in the outback.
        ii.    African villagers
        iii.    North American Indians - First Nations
        iv.    Chinese in the Gobi desert.
        v.    Cahuilla Indians - USA

    c.    How do their local village governments include them at the State or Provincial and National levels? Do powerful people listen to their values and needs? Discuss
        i.    Continued conservation and preservation of nature conservancies, parks and forests and the livelihood of indigenous tribes.
        ii.    Desertification which is ingressing on villages.
        iii.    Protection of wild lands that are uninhabited at present..

    d.    World Governments involvement in desert environments. Identify
        i.    Laws at all levels of Government.
        ii.    Actions that prevent desertification, or react to desertification.
        iii.    Countries where financial support has been given to protect forests.

5.    Environmental Science
    a.    Fragile landscapes -
        i.    Geographical adaption to life in deserts
        ii.    Extinction of desert species
        iii.    Desert species that are endangered. Study their habitat.
        iv.    Geological structure of sand, soils, rocks and landmasses
            (1)    Moon landscapes in deserts
            (2)    Uluru - Ayers Rock, The Olgas, Desert Marbles in Australia.
            (3)    The Arches in USA.
            (4)    Fossils found in deserts, which indicate the types of flora and fauna that used to be in the desert areas.
        v.    Deserts in mountains.
        vi.    Military use - use Google Earth and NASA maps to identify
            (1)    Military camps, such the one in New Zealand on a semi-arid mountain plateau.
            (2)    Military camps in deserts in the Middle East.
            (3)    Military use of fossil fuels affecting climate change.
            (4)    Nuclear weapon testing and storage sites
            (5)    Nuclear waste sites
            (6)    Antarctica (which is demilitarized under the Antarctica Treaty and is one of the driest places on earth with no rainfall) and the Arctic where there are numerous military bases plus nuclear submarines patrolling.
        vii.    Human occupation - caravan routes
            (1)    Oil fields
            (2)    Affects of solar energy sites on deserts
        viii.    Deserts and Arid lands - YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-St-I3qRFQE

    b.    Water -
        i.    Aquifers and the importance of water conservation.
        ii.    Desalination of saline and bore water.
        iii.    The role of melting snow.
        iv.    Sea water ingress into fresh water on costal sand dunes
        v.    Role of sand for purification
        vi.    Identify plants that contain water for drinking.
        vii.    Dry river beds and underground rivers
        viii.    Households
            (1)    Use small plastic bowls for washing dishes, with the same amount of water.
            (2)    Ensure sewage is away from your house. Use an eco-toilet.
        ix.    Dedicate in your International School Peace Gardens yourself to the ‘IHTEC Water Dedication’.

    c.    Food - Identify food eaten by humans and other species.
        i.    Indians in the USA follow the coyote, and if the coyote can eat it, then they can eat it. They check the animals dung.
        ii.    Make a slide show of the species you have found and share it.

    d.    Plants
        i.    Identify plants for food, water and  medicines. Creosote is one plant that  has over 50 uses.
        ii.    Identify plants that are poisonous.
        iii.    Tequila
            (1)    drink
            (2)    threads for dying and weaving
        iv.    Trees for shade and habitat.
        v.    Create a living environment that you could live in a desert. Use solar and  wind energy for all your needs. This can be as a planning document, a painting, or a computer model.
    e.    Species
        i.    Notice how various animal and plant species:-
            (1)    Collect water - arrow weed, palm fronds, sticks and mud, cactus
            (2)    Use the early morning and  evenings and nights - burrows
            (3)    Frogs that live underground for years (Uluru or Ayers Rock - Alice Springs, NT, Australia.)
            (4)    Plants that bloom only when it rains.
        ii.    Birds
            (1)    Migration patterns - as they often land in deserts during their return to warmer areas.
        iii.    Fish -
            (1)    Identify species of fish that live in the desert you have chosen to study.
            (2)    Name factors that have threatened many fish species from the list.
                (a)    Chemicals, predators, irrigation diversion, dams, overuse of available water by humans.
        iv.    Lizards and snakes

    f.    Energy
        i.    Solar - How does a power station affect a desert?
        ii.    Energy Conservation
        iii.    Wind - How windmills affect the soil in deserts.
        iv.    Fires - these are increasing.
        v.    Use of solar for homes.
            (1)    Air conditioner
            (2)    Hot water - see the ‘Sunovar - solar kettle’ Contact:-  helmut.burkhardt@bell.net
        vi.    Building Materials for Homes that reduce energy use.
            (1)    Blinds, curtains
            (2)    Colour - white is cool; black is hot

    g.    Soil
        i.    Dust Storms
        ii.    Top soil loss
        iii.    Dry river beds that have flash floods.
        iv.    Effect of rainfall on soil erosion.- mud etc
        v.    Rocks - Grinding stones that last for over 100 years.
            (1)    Fracking for oil and natural gass and its affect on rocks.
        vi.    Art from soil - Clay, Sand, use of ‘ochre’ from hillsides in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

    h.    Weather
        i.    This has already been included in most curricula.
        ii.    Climate Change and Energy documents. (Global Issues Project http://www.scienceforpeace.ca/global-issues-project  and  IHTEC http://www.ihtec.org

6.    Humans Impacts
        i.    Every vehicle leaves a mark for years.
        ii.    Humans’ effluent has a major affect on aquifers
        iii.    Need for meat for food, has required rain forests to be cut down for the production of beef cattle. The land that is left then becomes a desert and never grows back into an old forest again, even when re-planting occurs.
    b.    Protection
        i.    Use hats and sun protection at all times.
        ii.    Loose clothing that is made of light cotton materials.

7.    Population
    a.    Study the effects of increased human populations on deserts.
    b.    Study the effects of human populations on species - colour and pollination

8.    Economics - Affluence, Poverty and  Consumerism
    a.    How can we reduce our needs for the resources that are available to us from deserts?
        i.    Oil - Plastics
        ii.    Mining
        iii.    Gems
    b.    Consider what the ecological footprint is for 6 items that you use in your daily life. Find if it has come from a desert and how to reduce your use.

9.    Technology
    a.    Transportation
        i.    Roads - the affect of off-road vehicles on deserts.
        ii.    Vehicles
            (1)    Solar Cars - build one and use it.
    b.    Animals for transportation - Camels

Resources:
Phillips, S. J. and  Wentworth Conus, P. (2000) “A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert” Arizona - Sonora Desert Museum. Tucson.

Evenari, Shanan and Tadmor “The Negev - The Challenge of a Desert”.

Jampolsky MD, G. G. (1979) “ Love is Letting Go of Fear”.

List of Desert Museums and Interpretive Centres

Brace Research Institute for Arid Areas, Magill University, Quebec. - Many research papers and conferences held.

Indigenous Tourism Australia
http://www.indigenoustourism.australia.com/

Sonora Desert Museum. Tucson, Arizona
http://www.desertmuseum.org/about/

Osoyoos, BC Canada, Southernmost corner of British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley http://www.desert.org/

Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre, National Park Headquarters
Yulara, Northern Territory 0872, Australia  http://en.travelnt.com/

The Living Desert
47900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert, CA 92260
Telephone:  760-346-5694, Fax:  760-568-9685
www.livingdesert.org


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