Lesson video

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Hi, I'm Miss Kendrick and I am teaching all the lessons in this matters of life and death unit.

And I would start this lesson with a question.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing humanity today? Do you think it might be poverty or homelessness? War and conflict? Is it inequality, or perhaps disease? Well, the UN has called the climate crisis, the defining crisis of our time.

And although people's responses to climate change may vary, it is undeniably clear that humans have a huge impact on the natural world.

And that impact more often than not has been a negative one.

So in this lesson, we're going to be looking at how humans have caused damage to the environment.

And we're also going to be looking at Islamic, Christian, and humanist views on stewardship and how humans should work to treat the environment better.

You are going to need a pen or pencil, a different kind of pen or pencil so you can add corrections and additions to your work.

And you're going to need some paper to write down your answers as well.

So if you don't have those things yet, then you need to pause the video now and quickly run and get them.

Now before we start looking at some examples.

We are going to begin by looking at some key terms. So in the next slide, I'm going to get you to pause so that you can start to familiarise yourself with some key words that can be really important for this lesson.

I wonder how aware you are of different environmental problems there are.

There's definitely been a lot in the news lately about things like plastic pollution and climate change as well.

What I want you to do is pause the video and I want you to see if you can write down as many environmental problems as you can think of.

So pause the video now to do that task.

I wonder how you got on with your mind map.

I've got a few ideas here that you can add to your own work.

So we've already talked about plastic pollution briefly.

And we've seen in the news, lots of research showing how plastic does not biodegrade properly and how it's affecting a lot of sea life in particular.

We've also got the use of pesticides.

Now pesticides are often used to get rid of insects and things like that, which will damage crops.

But the result of that is that these insects are killed, they're taking out the food chain, and that means that birds and things will die as well.

So it can have a huge impact on the wider environment.

We're going to look at deforestation a little bit more detail later on.

So I'm not going to go into that one now.

But water pollution can include things like plastic pollution or chemicals being put into the water, there's a huge amount of rubbish that's dumped into the ocean every single year or every single day.

Air pollution is going to involve fumes from cars and factories and things like that.

And it can affect people's breathing and cause respiratory illnesses.

Got to make sure I can say a word before I give it a go.

And we can also see a massive loss of animal habitats often due to things like deforestation or simply humans expanding into the world.

The increased numbers of humans in the world means that there's more houses and more roads and more farmland and things like that.

And all of this encroaches on animal's natural habitats.

Which means there's less space for them to hunt and find their food, which means many animals are dying out.

So I'm going to get you to pause for a moment and add any of my examples to your mindmap that you don't have.

So we're going to look at three different types of pollution in a little bit more detail, and we're going to start with land pollution.

So land is pollution is the destruction of the what? Of the Earth's land or surfaces, often directly or indirectly, as a result of human activity and misuse of land resources.

So that could include dumping waste, so here we can just see a huge rubbish tip.

So if you ever wondered where all of your rubbish goes that you put in the bin and that gets taken away by the bin men every week, then this is sadly often the case.

A lot of rubbish is not recycled and ends up in land field and this damages the environment around that land field, it will also attract rodents and things like that, that may spread diseases.

And any chemicals from land pollution can spread, it can wash into water systems and kill animals or just the surrounding wildlife will be negatively affected by it as well.

It can affect humans really negatively too.

So it can cause problems with human respiratory systems. Second time around I struggled to say that word.

Toxic materials in the soil again, can be washed into human water sources.

And I've already talked about the spread of diseases as well.

And also when we see these massive land field sites in lots of places, you often see people living on these huge rubbish tip and for some people is the only way they can make their living.

So we see here humans living in terrible conditions as well, just like we can see in this picture.

So the next example we're going to look at is climate breakdown or climate change.

So lots of scientists now are using the phrase climate breakdown, because what they're saying is that the effects of climate change is that the climate becomes much more unpredictable.

We have much more unpredictable weather patterns.

We can see here as our first point, weather becomes unpredictable and it becomes very extreme.

So this is going to affect the survival of plants and animals.

This is going to affect humans because it's going to affect their crops and their homes.

So it can result in famine, there not being enough food for everybody.

It can result in people having to leave their homes and becoming displaced.

So that's going to have a real impact, especially on people who are poor, as well.

Climate breakdown is caused by a buildup of carbon dioxide in earth's atmosphere, trapping the sun's warmth.

So this is caused by burning of fossil fuels, deforestation because forests and trees have a huge impact in terms of absorbing carbon dioxide.

So the more we clear forests, cut down trees, and things like that, the less this carbon dioxide is going to be absorbed by trees, and there's going to be more in the atmosphere.

So again, negative effects.

I've already talked about unpredictable weather patterns.

We've also been seeing polar ice caps melting, which will lead to raised sea levels, as well as increasing the speed at which the Earth's atmosphere warms up.

The habitats of lots of animals is lost in that respect as well.

So scientists have been observing lots of animals, like polar bears, not being able to get the food that they would normally get because they normally hunt on the ice.

Where is that ice? It's now melting so they're unable to get what they need.

We are also going to look at deforestation.

So deforestation is the cutting down of large amounts of forests.

And you can see some mind blowing statistics about how much of the Earth's forests are being cut down each day.

This might be done that so that they can get timber for construction.

But it might also be done to clear space for farmland, and especially for grazing animals like cows so that people can eat meat or to plant crops are very popular as well.

So there's been a lot of campaigns about palm oil.

So palm oil is in a lot of foods.

You might not realise how many foods it's in cause it's not really something you can taste, but it's added to a lot of food we eat and lots of forest has been cut down so that palm oil can be grown.

It also might be done to clear land for development for roads and buildings and things like that as well.

Negative impacts of deforestation is going to be loss of animal habitats.

And that can lead to break down of an ecosystem, and extinction of many animals as well.

So there's a huge number of species of animals that are really struggling to survive because their habitat is just being lost and lost and lost.

It can also contribute to the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and again contribute to climate breakdown.

So again, that's partly because the trees are not there to absorb carbon dioxide but often digging up the soil and cutting down these trees also releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as well.

And it can also lead to natural disasters such as landslides because the trees by their roots, they hold the soil in the ground in place.

And when they're cut down, and taken away and there's heavy rain or something like that, then all of this soil becomes loose and it can cause natural disasters such as landslides, which can lead to real loss of human and animal life as well.

And final point that we've already had, and it's often done to clear space for farming animals or to plant crops.

So you can pause your video now and add some of these key points to your mind map.

Okay, now you've added some of that information, and you're going to pause the video and answer some questions.

So next, we're going to look at sustainable development.

Because everything we've looked at so far, can seem quite bleak content.

And lots of people might feel very, very powerless when they hear these reports about climate breakdown, and pollution and things like that.

They might feel like there's not much they can do individually.

And everything might seem a bit, well, like the world's already lost in a way.

I think some of the information can be very, very overwhelming at times.

However, there are ways to make a more positive impact on the environment.

And one of these is sustainable development.

So the term sustainable development relates to buildings, technologies, and industries that try to reduce the impact on the natural world for future generations.

So for example, it might include buildings that are carbon neutral, that means that they're not going to use up more energy than they need.

Maybe they'll have solar panels on them, maybe they'll have very efficient heating systems so that they're not losing a lot of heat into the environment and using more energy than they should.

So lots of new buildings are being made so that they're more sustainable.

We can also look at things like wind turbines or electric cars or any way in which we can get energy without burning fossil fuels, like solar panels and things like that as well.

All of these are seen as sustainable.

For example, we are always going to have the wind and we don't have to burn anything to get the wind, all we have to do is make those wind turbines which has far less of an impact on the environment than burning fossil fuels.

So essentially, sustainable development means that the improvements as well do not have a negative impact on the environment.

So I'm going to get you to pause for a moment quickly and write down this definition.

I think you just need this top bit here so that you can talk about sustainable development and know exactly what it means.

Okay, so now we're going to look at some other things that people might do to reduce that impact on the environment.

And we've got a huge variety of examples.

I'm not going to cover everything in this lesson, but I'm going to give you some examples, which lots of people may choose to do.

And you might be familiar with some of these, you might have seen people talking about them, because a lot of these approaches to the environment have been discussed a lot recently.

So the first one is to change your diet.

Now some researchers argue that reducing or giving up meat and dairy is one of the biggest things an individual can do to have a positive impact on the environment.

Now this is because it takes a lot more energy to raise cattle for example, than it does to raise crops.

Because if you're going to rare cattle, then you have to grow the crops first, and feed them to the cattle and you have to clear a lot of land for the cattle to graze.

The cattle themselves release methane into the air and things like that.

And then all the transport and things like that for the meat to go to humans.

It's the amount of water that's needed as well to rare these animals.

So lots of people would argue that if you just cut out meat and dairy, then you're cutting out a huge part of that industry that contributes to climate change.

But many people would also say that reducing how much meat and dairy we eat is also going to have a positive impact.

So some people might decide to completely give it up and become vegan, others might decide to become vegetarian.

Some people might argue that it's not about a few people doing it perfectly and living a perfect carbon neutral life, but it's about everybody doing a bit better and that's why they would say reducing, rather than giving up meat and dairy is still really valuable.

Another thing is to shop local and in season.

So if you ever are on a food shop with your parents or you've run to the store to get something, then you can see on a lot of products where they come from.

And a lot of our food is brought in from other countries like Spain or South places in South America, and things like that, because that means that we can have things we want at any time of the year.

And lots of people would say that, actually if we eat in season, so only have cauliflowers when cauliflowers grown or only have apples in the autum and things like that, then we're having a much better impact on the environment and that you were working with the seasons, rather than having a culture of just having what we want when we want it.

So many people might give up eating food that's been imported and focus on eating locally grown food.

And another one would be to eat sustainably fished fish.

Because there's been a hugely negative impact on fish in the sea due to overfishing.

And we've seen the numbers of fish in the oceans really go down.

And that means that other animals in the oceans like whales and things like that are really affected as well because their food sources are being taken away.

So maybe we would argue that we should only fish sustainably that means there's limits on how much of that certain fish can be fished in a particular area.

See how many times I can say fish in a sentence.

And again, that's got a more sustainable impact on the environment.

The next one is reduce, reuse, recycle.

So many people would argue that we should reduce what we buy.

Say for example, fast fashion is said to be one of the biggest contributors to climate change because of all the materials that's used and all the shipping and things like that.

And that a lot of clothes just get worn once or twice, and then they just go in the back of a cupboard or go to a charity shop, or something like that.

Many people would also argue that the fashion industry treats humans very badly as well.

That lots of people are essentially in modern day slavery because they get such poor wages for the clothes that they make.

So many of these people would say that we shouldn't buy fast fashion, that we should only buy the things that we need and buy things that will last.

And that includes giving up single use products.

So you might have seen a lot of people now have stopped using paper cups and things like that.

And they've started carrying around reusable cups so that they can stop using single use products, like plastic and things like that.

And also maybe only buying recyclable things.

There are lots of things that are actually very, very difficult to recycle.

So some people would say that they're going to stop buying those products and buy recyclable alternatives.

And finally, sustainable power is another way in which a person might choose to reduce their impact on the environment.

So they may decide to use an electric car, or walk or cycle to work or around the place instead of driving because burning of petrol contributes to CO_2 in the atmosphere.

They may swap energy providers to ones that are more focused on using green energy.

And this has actually really changed in the UK in the last few years.

So it was this year, I think that the UK went for the longest amount of time, using only sustainable energy rather than fossil fuels or anything like that.

I can't remember exactly how long it was, it might have been a week or two.

So imagine all that time simply on sustainable energy.

So lots of people might swap their energy provider and also just simple things like turning off things when they're not using them, only having a light on in the room that you're in, not leaving the TV running or things like that.

Trying to reduce what you're using at that time, so that you're not using energy unnecessarily.

So these are choices that anyone may make to reduce their impact on their environment, regardless of their religion, regardless of their beliefs, whether they're humanists or Christian or Muslim.

Because these are ways in which anybody could work to make a positive impact on their environment.

So I'm going to get you to pause and do a couple of tasks to help you to familiarise yourself with these.

So as I was saying, when we were looking at the different ways in which a person might choose to reduce that impact on the environment, those examples we looked at might be done by anybody, regardless of their personal beliefs or their personal religious beliefs.

And this is because Christians, Muslims, and humanists will largely agree that humans should care for the environment.

But they might have different reasons which motivate them.

So we're going to have a look at some of those reasons there is going to be a little bit of overlap between them.

And we're also going to have a think about how Christians, Muslims, and humanists might respond to environmental problems. So first, the Christian views on caring for the environment.

So in Genesis 2, Christians can read that God created Adam and told him to rule over the Garden of Eden to work and take care of it.

We have this quotation here, and this was from Genesis one actually.

"Your descendants will live all over the earth "and bring it under their control.

"I am putting you in charge of the fish, the birds, "and all the wild animals." So we've got two words in Christianity that describes this job or responsibility that God gives Adam in the story of Genesis.

We've got dominion and stewardship, and they're slightly different ways of understanding this.

Dominion means to have a rule or power over something.

So you might say, the Queen has dominion over the UK.

And it has this idea of ownership on a rule.

And this is quite different to stewardship.

Stewardship is about caring for something on somebody's behalf.

So for example, if you ever go to an event, like go to the theatre or something like that, there will be stewards there.

And those stewards don't own the theatre, but they have a job to look after all of the people who come along to see a show, and make sure they know what they're doing and where they're going and checking tickets and things like that.

Another example would be if you were to buy a house, you would have dominion over it.

You could do whatever you wanted, you could paint the walls black if you wanted to, because it's yours.

But if you were to house it for somebody for a couple of weeks, you would not be able to do anything you wanted, you would have to look after the house respectfully, and yes, enjoy it because you'd be staying there, but you definitely would not be met with very happy face if your friends came back and you've painted the walls black.

And this is where some Christians might have different ideas about how much control overall they have over the world.

Many Christians would argue that there should be more of a focus on stewardship rather than dominion.

Because of this idea of responsibility of looking after the world and saying that we should just be able to do anything we want.

Even with an idea of dominion, there is still a sense of responsibility because you still want to continue to enjoy that world.

It's not just about completely destroying it and moving on to something else.

It's still something that needs to be cared for.

Here I've got another verse that particularly supports the idea of stewardship.

"The world and all that is in it belongs to the Lord, "the earth and all who live on it are his." So Christians believe because there's many verses in the Bible that talk about it, that the earth belongs to God.

It doesn't belong to humans, humans just have a responsibility to care for it.

And so that means Christians will believe they have a role, a job to be good stewards of the environment, and to care for it that they shouldn't damage it.

So we're going to pause for a moment so you can get down the Christian views on caring for the environment.

So how will Christians going to respond to environmental issues? Well, I've already given you some examples and said that lots of Christians, and Muslims, and Humanists will all take those approaches.

And we're just going to recap some ideas here.

So Christians might pray about climate change and the environment because Christians traditionally believe that God answers prayer.

And so they might pray for guidance on how to care for the environment better, they might pray for forgiveness when humans have not cared for the environment very well, and they may pray for a miraculous intervention, for example, that God would halt climate change or reduce the negative impacts of it.

Christians might campaign.

So there are Christian groups that work to educate people about climate change, educate churches about climate change as well.

And they are likely to reduce the amount of products they buy, and not be a consumer culture and they will recycle as well.

And I've got two specific examples for you here.

So the charity Christian Aid that we've learned about in previous units, works to combat climate change, which they call a justice issue, because they would say that it's poor people who contribute to climate change the least, but who will suffer from it the most.

So that's one of the reasons why they said it's so important that Christians respond to climate change and work to reduce its impact.

And there's also a charity called A Rocha, which works to educate people on the environment and provide resources for churches to use with their congregations.

So these are two different ways in which Christians will respond to environmental issues.

And these two especially are specifically Christian answers for you.

So what you're going to do is you're going to pause the video and answer a couple of questions based on this information.

Next, we're going to look at Islamic views on caring for the environment.

And Muslims also have an idea of stewardship.

So the word for stewards in Arabic is Khalifa.

And in the Quran, there is the teaching that Allah gave humans a responsibility to be stewards over creation.

So here we've got this quotation that says, "The world is sweet and green and verily, Allah is going to instal you as.

." And this word essentially means steward.

" In it in order to see how you act." That part about see how you act links to judgement.

So one slightly different belief in Islam to Christianity is that Muslims believe that they will be specifically judged on whether or not they've been a good khalifa, a good steward of the environment.

Part of this is again, the belief that the world belongs to Allah.

And the world was created by Allah, so it should be treated with respect.

If somebody you loved had I don't know, spent hours making a beautiful painting, you would be so careful with it.

You wouldn't just destroy it, would you? Because you care about something that they'd loved and created.

Again, we've got a quotation here.

"Indeed your Lord is Allah, "who created the heavens and the earth." So that quotation supports the belief that Muslims should be good kahlifa's, because they believe the world is created by Allah and belongs to Allah.

We've got one more idea from Islam about caring for the environment, and that is caring for the Ummah.

So the Ummah is the Islamic community.

These are like brotherhoods.

And it includes Muslim's past, present, and future.

So Muslims would argue that we should care for the environment, because it's going to be passed on to future generations.

And also because our actions now impact people in other parts of the world too.

So Muslims would argue specifically that one of the reasons why we should care for the environment is to care for the Ummah.

So again, we're going to pause so you can answer some questions on Muslim responses to caring for the environment.

So let's look at why Muslims are going to care for the environment.

How are they going to respond to environmental issues? Well, again, we've got some very similar ideas to Christianity when we look at the how.

Muslims are likely to pray, they're going to campaign, they're going to recycle, and reduce things that they buy.

So a specifically Muslim example for this is that the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences, that's a long name, IFEES makes teaching materials and raises awareness of environmental matters.

So that is an Islamic charity that is focused on how humans impact the environment and on educating other Muslims on how they can be better stewards of the environment as well.

So you're going to pause and get down some of this information.

It is worth learning the name of this charity because it's going to be really helpful example.

Right we are going to look at humanism.

So humanists are also going to agree that it's going to be a really good thing to care for the environment and reduce the impact humans have on it.

They do not believe that we should care for the environment because it was created by God because humanists are atheists, they don't believe in religion.

But they may argue that nature has inherent value due to its beauty and variety.

They may also argue that if we destroy the environment we are in, then that's going to have a negative impact on humanity.

So one example could be that in the rain forest, there's such a huge abundance of life.

There's so much variety.

And actually a lot of medicines and things like that have been discovered in plants and animals that can be found in the rain forest.

But the more we cut down trees in the rain forest, the more we impact that environment, then the more likely it is that those medicines that could be vital to helping humans could get lost.

So lots of humanists would say that, that is just one reason why people should treat the environment well, among many others as well.

utilitarianism is going to be applied here.

So utilitarianism is the ethical theory that people should do that action that brings about the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

So humanists might argue that for the sake of a greater good, perhaps humans should give up some things now that have a negative impact on the environment.

Because even though that might seem good in the moment that we've just, I don't know, bought a new outfit, which is part of fast fashion.

It might make us feel good for a little while.

But they might say that's going to have a long term negative impact on the majority of people.

So they might say, we should give up doing things like that for the sake of long term benefits.

So you're going to pause your video now so you can answer a couple of questions on humanist views on caring for the environment.

Thank you so much for taking part in this lesson on responses to the environment and environmental issues.

I hope that you've learned quite a lot about the differences between Christianity, Islam, and humanism and in these responses.

But I think one of the key things in this lesson is actually a real sense of unity, that even though these different groups might have different reasons for caring for the environment, they're all going to say that it is a good thing to reduce our impact on the natural world.

Make sure you can give specific examples about what people might do to reduce that impact on the environment.

Like I talked about reducing meat and dairy or recycling things as well.

Now you can do your exit quiz and thank you again for all of your hard work.