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    General Course Details

    Course title


    Authors/ Instructors

    Alan Bainbridge, Beate  Cyboran, Dorota Gierszewski, Pnina Schur, Stan Sofer, Sulev Vladmaa, Tina Gelashvilli, Urwe Laanemets, Yocheved Yorkovsky, Michal Yuval

    Course status/ level


    Course code


    Teaching Semester



    5 – Israel

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      Course Rationale

      Rapid technological development in the last century (in agriculture, industry and transportation, exploitation of natural resources, ecological damage to the environment and biodiversity, consumption habits and more), has led to an environmental crisis. The global environmental problems are common to all mankind and could unite citizens of the world to act together in preventing the environmental deterioration. One way to reduce the harm to the environment is to increase environmental knowledge of students by providing them information about the environment and ecological issues and problems, and encouraging them how to act in an environmentally friendly way.

      The current course is based on the concept of sustainability as developed in the United Nations in recent decades, highlighting the different issues reflected in the field. This definition states that sustainability creates a culture that allows an equitable existence that will ensure the well- being of mankind in the present and future generations. It rests on the humanistic point of view through which learners can approach a level of awareness and responsibility towards sustainability issues. Sustainability refers to the relationship between people and the environment when the environment is a broad concept including the natural world, culture and society. According to this concept, the learning is interdisciplinary by nature reflecting the natural sciences, literature, history, culture, languages, and more........ The course designers believe that academic institutions should also approach this course from this interdisciplinary perspective.

      Our hope is that providing students with this approach towards sustainability will contribute to students’ pro-environmental behavior. Moreover, student teachers who will be future teachers, have an important role in educating and shaping the future citizens of the world, providing them with that knowledge, to enhance their awareness, attitudes, values, skills and sustainable behavior.


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        Course Objectives and Prerequisites

        Course Objectives

        • Understanding the complexity of the relationships between humans and environment includes a spiritual, cultural, political, economic and social perspective
        • Understanding global and local challenges of the environment and their inter-relationship
        • Understanding basic concepts of ecology and environmental issues
        • Enhancing the awareness and the implications of human activity on the environment
        • To help students develop civic values concerning environmental involvement and activity
        • To promote and develop critical and creative thinking regarding future sustainability issues from different perspectives (political, social, ecological, cultural, economic, legal, etc[u1] .).
        • To help students realize the relevance of sustainability issues in their personal lives.




        There are no pre-requisites for course attendance


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          Learning Outcomes of Course

          After completion of the course, students will be able to:

          ·         acquire and apply knowledge relating to sustainability in the community

          ·         analyze and suggest solutions to problems regarding sustainability

          ·         integrate traditional and innovative knowledge in developing attitudes towards sustainability from different perspectives (political, social, ecological, cultural, economic, legal, etc[u1] .).

          ·         develop a sense of responsibility towards sustainability on a global level

          • acquire a sensitivity towards different opinions regarding sustainability issues.
          • apply interactivactive relationships between local and global sustainability issues.


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            Teaching methods of course

            The following activities indicate some of the pedagogical approaches which might be used to promote participatory and interactive learning.  Tutors will need to select activities which they think will be appropriate for the subject they are teaching and the age, ability and national context of the students they are teaching. The aim is to engage students rather than to attempt to achieve comprehensive coverage of all issues. Active learning has many advantages.  It is memorable, meaningful, engages students who might otherwise be passive and helps to create situations where new ideas can be generated in a secure and supportive environment. If students are to be active members of their community then practical learning needs to be part of their learning at university.


            ·         Warm up activities

            Use a variety of expressive ways such as drawings to express their emotional and personal response to environmental issues

            Students write down questions which interest them about the environment on post-it notes

            Use articles and movies to develop critical thinking and to show different viewpoints

            Put students in groups of four or five.  Ask them a set of questions eg 'Can you think of a moment in your life when you have been personally engaged in sustainability? Can you think of an activity when your community has been engaged with sustainability? What would you suggest for the improvement of the environment?

            ·         Case studies

            Introduce students to personal, fictional or real stories/situations regarding environmental issues

            ·         Dilemmas

            ·         Explore and discuss extracts from books, poetry, religious texts and so forth which relate to sustainability issues in order to express the relation between culture and environmental issues

            ·         Find out about a problem where there is a conflict between two values eg oil refineries in a populated areas create air pollution (life value) but brings also provide jobs (work value)



            ·         Frontal Lectures


            Lectures can be made interactive by using questions between both staff and students.  Visiting lecturers can bring new ideas.


            Using concept maps to organize and structure knowledge

            Students read an article and analyze the content by drawing a diagram showing how the ideas inter-relate.


            ·         Interactive games

            ·         For example:

            ·         (1) Canteen room Explore and issue about which students have strong opinions e.g. vegetarian for or against. Ask the students to stand up in the center of the room facing each other according to their views.  Each student then can explain their opinion.  When everyone has spoken the students are invited to change their position according to what they have learnt.  You can play several rounds.

            ·         (2) . Ask students to stand in a circle. Each student has a card with a word on it eg water, tree, leaf, flower, bee, honey.  Give the student who represents 'water' a ball of wool.  They then throw the wool to a person they are linked with e.g. the 'tree' who then throws it to 'leaf' and so forth.  At each point the student needs to explain the connection. When all students are connected by the wool they can reverse the process to show how the leaf depends on the tree which depends on water. 

            ·         (3) Links and connections






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            Course Assessment and Requirements

            • Preparing and implementing an activity for civic action regarding an issue dealing with sustainability in which students justify their choice of focus, reflect critically on the impact of their activity and evaluate its wider significance. Activities can include a power point presentation, essay, poster preparation, video, etc. with reference to literature.
            • This will be a group presentation, which encourages students to learn in a collaborative manner. We suggest 50% of the grade goes towards the presentation itself and 50% of the mark goes towards an individual written assignment relating to the theory and impact of the activity.

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              Course Outline

              Unit 1: Introduction to Sustainability and Sustainable Development

              Perceptions of Sustainability


              Historical  Relationship between Humans and the Environment


              Unit 2: Pollution and Environmental Degradation

              Air Pollution

              Water Pollution

              Land Resources and Soil Degradation 

              Unit 3: Ecology and Biodiversity


              Ecological Footprint

              Unit 4 : Economy

              Energy Sources

              Food Security and Sustainable Development of Agriculture


              Transportation and Communication

              Unit 5: Social and Political Dimension

              Local and Global Community

              Government: Local and Global Regulation

               Safe and Just Environment

              Unit 6:  Towards Sustainable Living for a Better Future

               Teaching about Sustainability

              • View only 'Topic 8'

                UNIT 1: INTRODUCTION TO SUSTAINABILITY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT-- Topic : Perceptions of Sustainability


                The aim of this unit is to introduce students to the challenge of living sustainably within planetary limits. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and conflicts between unequal social groups raise complex and interrelated issues. Higher education institutions have an important role in developing critical and creative thinking about such important issues – the meta-narrative of the supposed anthropocene  epoch.

                Sustainable thinking requires us to engage with ‘wicked problems’ which although connected, involve complex feedback back loops leading to unpredictable outcomes. In many cases there are no simple solutions and as such students will need to be able to tolerate uncertainty and ambiguity as they engage in critical and creative thinking. Difficult thinking is therefore the fundamental stance from which to make wise decisions for a sustainable future.

                In the development of a deeper understanding of sustainability and sustainable development students will become more aware of the contested nature of sustainability. This will include encountering, within cultural contexts, terms and concepts derived from ecology, economics, social and political theory.

                LEARNING OUTCOMES:

                • Analyze the conceptions of the sustainable development
                • Recognize the socio-cultural and economic implications of the sustainable development
                • Identify the importance of identity with the place of life in the context of sustainable development
                • Delineate the significance of responsibility for the place where I belong

                TEACHING METHODS:

                • Frontal teaching followed by active group work.
                • Watching video and exploring definitions of sustainability
                • Exploring community definitions of sustainability
                • Encountering "wicked problems" 


                Activity 1.

                 Frontal teaching using ‘exploring-sustainability’ website to provide definitions of sustainability and how these have been developed. 

                Students engage with the website and video links to explore further definitions of sustainability.

                Compare definitions with each other and the wider group.

                ‘Interview’ 2-3 family members and friends – focus on older and younger members to contrast generational understandings of sustainability. 

                ‘Interview’ 2-3 Students from other universities in the CURE project to contrast cultural understandings of sustainability.

                Reflect on the Living Report and respond to the following questions …

                Explain the patterns on the graphs on p16. 

                What do you think these graphs will look like in 10, 20, 50 and 500 years time?

                Panel Discussion

                Role Playing

                Narrative/Video Analysis

                Case Studies

                Collaborative Learning

                Jigsaw Group Work

                Technology-Based Activities

                Problem-Based Learning

                Activity 2.

                 Watch the movie

                to find out about a range of global problems 


                Compulsory Literature:


                Raworth, K. (2012) A Safe and Just Space for Humanity. Oxfam Discussion Paper

                Available from:



                WWF (2016) Living Planet Report 2016. The summary

                Available from:





                Supporting Literature:

                Scoffham, S. (2014) Exploring Sustainability Website.



                Kellert, S.R. and Gustave Speth, J. (2009) The Coming Transformation/; Values to sustain human and natural communities. Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Available from:



                Kingsnorth, P. and Hine, D (2009). Uncivilisation: The dark mountain manifesto.



                Lovelock, J. (1979/2009) Gaia: A new look at life on earth. Oxford: Oxford University Press



                Environments and livelihoods: strategies for sustainability. Koos Neefjes.Oxford: Oxfam Publication, 2000

                Sustainability and communities of place. edited by Carl A. Maida. New York; Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2011

                Fundamentals of sustainable development. Niko Roorda with Peter Blaze Corcoran and Joseph P. Weakland. London; New York: Routledge, 2012.

                Health and sustainability: an introduction. Tee L. Guidotti. Oxford [etc.]: Oxford University Press, cop. 2015

                Environment, health and sustainable development. Megan Landon. Landon, Open University Press, 2006

                Science, ethics, sustainability: the responsibility of science in attaining sustainable development. ed. Anders Nordgren. Uppsala: Uppsala Univ., 1997

                Transitions to sustainable development: new directions in the study of long term transformative change. John Grin, Jan Rotmans and Johan Schot; in collaboration with Frank Geels and Derk Loorbach. New York; Abingdon: Routledge, 2010

                Cultural sustainability and regional development: theories and practices of territorialisation. edited by Joost Dessein, Elena Battaglini and Lummina Horlings.Dessein. London; New York: Routledge, 2016

                Biodiversity, sustainability, and human communities: protecting beyond the protected. ed. Tim O'Riordan, Susanne Stoll-Kleemann. Cambridge


                 אחירון-פרומקין  ת., פרומקין,  ר. (2004).  המחיר הסביבתי של ניצול משאבי הטבע על ידי האדם.  אאוריקה:  כתב עת להוראת מדעים וטכנולוגיה. אוניברסיטת תל אביב, הוצאת

        רמות מתוך




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                  UNIT 1: INTRODUCTION TO SUSTAINABILITY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT-- Topic: Historical Relationship between Humans and the Environment


                  The aim of this unit is to provide an insight to modern man’s historical development and his effect on the environment. The effects of man’s technological advancements and how they influenced the natural environment during the agricultural and industrial revolutions will be discussed and analyze.

                  LEARNING OUTCOMES

                  ·         To identify the historical components of human interaction with the environment

                  ·         To understand different levels of human involvement with the environment throughout history

                  ·         To analyze environmental issues and problems caused by rapid technological development


                  Activity1 : The students will be divided into groups. Each group will be assigned a reading text from different periods of man's history describing the relationship between humans and the environment.  The different historical periods can be prehistoric, medieval, industrial revolution and modern day.Each group summarizes   the text that they read and presents the material to the class. The different texts will be compared from the vantage point of man and his environment i,e. analysis of resource use during different historical periods, advantages and disadvantages. They will be asked , where do we go from here? and what can we do about it?

                  Activity 2: Movie clips depicting different periods of time from man's natural history will be presented to the class. A class discussion will be held and questions will be asked regarding the different movie clips. The clips will be described from the vantage point of man and his environment. Based on what you have seen, where do we go from here? Students should realize that mankind has reached a critical point in his development and interaction with the environment and should ask themselves, where do we go from here?

                  Activity 3: After a frontal lecture the class will be divided into groups in which each group will present their vision of the world in 200 years. What can we do to ensure our future on this planet?

                  Activity 4: Present different items such as an ink pen, clock, watch, book, etc. Analyze the item from the past, present and future. How were they produced? What materials were needed to produce them? What resources were needed to produce them?  Show how the items have changed over history in relation to the resources used and implications of the article use in the future. 



                  1.      Harari, Yuval Noah; Vintage (2014). Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

                  2.      Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive, Penguin Books, 2005 and 2011


                  1.      דיאמונד ג', 2005, התמוטטות, מטר הוצאה לאור

                  2.      נח- הררי. י. 2011. קיצור תולדות האנושות, הוצאת- דביר

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                    UNIT 2: POLLUTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION-- Topic: Air Pollution

                    RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES

                    The air is an essential resource for the existence of life on earth. It is a mixture of gases, containing  around  79% nitrogen,  around  20%  oxygen and around one percent of other gases.

                    The development of agriculture, industry, and transportation, over the last centuries  have led to a continuing increase in air pollution. The pollution affects life on earth, both domestically and globally, causing of morbidity,  global warming  / climate change and the formation of the ozone hole.

                    In order to stop the deteriorating situation, and to reduce the environmental damage, citizens of the world should be able to understand the causes and consequences of air pollution, and should be provided with the skills that will allow them to reduce their contribution to the pollution.

                    LEARNING OUTCOMES:

                    Students will have a better understanding of the air pollution sources,  about the possible pollutants and about air pollution consequences. They will be able to understand the relationships between local and global air pollution, and climate changes. They will know how they can reduce their impact on air pollution in their daily life.

                    The knowledge they will acquire may be a stage that might affect their daily pro-environmental behaviour, which will reduce their contribution to air pollution.

                    • The main sources of air pollution: natural and man-made.
                    • The air pollutants: gases, particulate matter (PM) and secondary air pollutants
                    • Regional air pollution issues: acid rain, smog
                    • Global air pollution issues: the ozone hole, the greenhouse effect / global warming
                    • Air pollution effects on health
                    • Air pollution monitoring
                    • How to reduce their contribution to the air pollution
                    • International conventions  and agreements to reduce air pollution
                    • Indoor pollutants


                    Activity 1:

                    The students will be divided into groups. Each group will present a specific issue dealing with the subject of air pollution and prepare a power point presentation. 


                    ·         The main sources of air pollution: natural and manmade.

                    ·         The air pollutants: gases, particulate matter (PM) and secondary air pollutants

                    ·         Regional air pollution issues: acid rain, smog

                    ·         Global air pollution issues: the ozone hole, the greenhouse effect / global warming

                    ·         Air pollution effects on health

                    ·         Air pollution monitoring

                    ·         How to reduce their contribution to the air pollution

                    ·         International conventions and agreements to reduce air pollution

                    ·         Indoor pollutants


                    Activity 2:

                    The students /teacher will suggest a dilemma involving an issue regarding to  air pollution.  Then the students will be divided into groups of interest.  The groups will debate these issues selecting representatives presenting the pros and the cons relating to each issue.


                    1.       Constructing a new highway within the city.

                    2.        Building a refinery within a populated area.

                    3.        Building a nuclear power plant within a populated area.

                    4.        Building a coal-based power plant within a populated area.

                    5.       Using an electrical car instead of a fuel car.


                    Activity 3:


                    Watch the movies:  An Inconvenient Truth / Al Gore, and  Before the Flood/ Leanardo DiCaprio



                    After watching the films, the students should relate to the following question:

                    1. Are the “desires” of human desirable for planetary well-being?

                    2. Discuss the provocative statement in the context of the films you have just watched.

                    Hint: Can you make a list of desires? What is the impact of the planet of each desire?

                    Activity 4:

                     Skills of reading graphs.

                     The students will answer questions about the given graph.

                    1.      Explain the variables and units of the X and Y axes.

                    2.      Explain the relationship between the two graphs and what can be concluded from this.



                    Compulsory Literature:

                    International Energy Agency (2016). Energy and Air Pollution-World Energy Outlook Special Report, European Commission 



                    איכות האווירמזהמיםמקורות זיהום:

                    קלצ'קו שושות', (2003). עוברים לירוק ב'משרד החינוך האגף לתכנון ולפיתוח תכניות לימודיות, 27-40, 52-73.

                    תופעות מקומיותבזיהום אוויר והשלכותיהן:

                    קלצ'קו שושות', (2003). עוברים לירוק ב'משרד החינוך האגף לתכנון ולפיתוח תכניות לימודיות, 95-97, , 117,46-51.

                    תופעות גלובליות  של זיהום אוויר והשלכותיהן:

                    קלצ'קו שושות', (2003). עוברים לירוק ב'משרד החינוך האגף לתכנון ולפיתוח תכניות לימודיות, 97-117.

                    קלצ'קו שרה  ושות', (2014). יש לנו רק כדור אחד   אוויררעש וקרינה. אוניברסיטת בר אילןמטה מל"מ ואגף מדעיםהמזכירות הפדגוגיתמשרד החינוך המרכז להוראת המדעים.

                    שטסל ז' ושות', (2004). משאבים וסביבהמשרד החינוך, הוראת המדעים, אוניברסיטת ירושלים, 135-222.


                  • View only 'Topic 11'

                    UNIT 2: POLLUTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION -- Topic: Water pollution

                    RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES:

                    About three quarters of the earth's surface is covered with water. Most of the water (97.5%) is ocean, another 2% is locked in glacial ice and the remaining 0.5% is fresh water found in rivers, streams, lakes and the groundwater system.

                    Although water resources have always been thought as being renewable, since the advent of the industrial revolution and especially during the last couple of decades, the earths water supply is going through a process of degradation. 

                    In order to develop students' civic responsibility towards the deteriorating situation of our water supplies, they should be able to understand the causes and effects of water pollution.

                    LEARNING OUTCOMES:

                    Students will have a better understanding about the sources of water pollution and the degradation of water quality. They will learn about the various water pollutants and their consequences. They will be able to understand the relationships between local and global water pollution, and the effects of global warming on water resources.  They will know how they can reduce their impact on water pollution in their daily life and how they can influence others in shaping a more sustainable attitude towards water use.

                    • Water quality
                    • Principal forms of water pollution
                    • Pollution of streams and lakes
                    • Ocean Pollution
                    • Oil spills and their environmental effects
                    • Effects of water pollution on health
                    • Water pollution monitoring
                    • Water resource management


                    Activity 1:Dividing students into groups. Each group will be responsible to analyze a case study in water pollution and present it to the class.

                    Activity 2: Each student will describe what pollutants are created by the use of various appliances in the household (washing machines, showers, toilets, sinks, faucets). They will classify the pollutants according to biodegradable and non biodegradable pollutants. They will then suggest solutions towards reducing the pollution produced at the home. 

                    Activity 3: Each student will monitor the amount of water they use in one day (showering, toilet, drinking, using household appliances, gardening,etc.) The students will present their findings in table or graph form and will compare their results in the class. They will then suggest methods of reducing water use on a daily basis

                    Activity 4: The students will conduct a field trip to a source of water and they will sample the water quality: ph,oxygen levels, turbidity, temperature,salinity,etc. microorganisms, protozoa) . They will measure these parameters in the field and the results will be compared in the classroom. The students will discuss the environmental implications of their findings. 


                    Alley,W.M., and Alley,R.(2017). High and Dry: Meeting the Challenges of the World's Growing Dependence on Groundwater. Yale University Press.

                    Bernal, P.J. (2011). Water and Life in the International Year of Chemistry. Journal of Chemical Education, 88(5), 526 -531.

                    Colten,C.E. (2013). Cities and Water Pollution: An Historical and Geographical Perspective, Urban Geography, 16 May 2013

                    Nayor,V. (2013). The Water Crisis- Rethinking Water Governance, Journal of Land and Rural Science, 1(1): 75-94

                    Van Vang L., Dao Nam C., and Xuan Phoung N. (2017). The Overview of Water Pollution in the World, International Journal of Scientific and Technological Research, 6 (8): 221-224. 

                    פרת,א. (2004). אדם וסביבה בישראל. הוצאת רמות אוניברסיטת תל אביב, עמי 9 -33, 222 -235.

                    גבירצמן,ח. (תשס"ג). משאבי המים בישראל: פרקים בהידרולוגיה ומדעי הסביבה. יד יצחק בין צבי: ירושלים

                    סופר,א.(2006). המאבק על המים במזרח התיכון. עם עובד קתדרת חייקין לגיאוסטרטגיה  אוניברסיטת חיפה

                     שטסל,ל., זריחן, ל., ןןיצמן ,א. (2004). משאבים וסביבה . המרכז להוראת המדעים: ירושלים, עמי  9 -122.



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                      UNIT 2: POLLUTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION-- Topic: Soil Pollution and Degradation

                      LESSON TOPIC:

                      ·            The importance of the land and soil as one of the necessary resources for the existence of mankind; 

                      ·            The trends of the land resources reduction and its causes; 

                      ·            Types of the land degradation; 

                      ·            Types of the land and soil erosion – caused by the water, wind, technical and technological of the soil depletion – mechanical, chemical; 

                      ·            Negative results of the land and soil degradation through natural and anthropogenic impacts; 

                      ·            Types of  soil contamination; 

                      ·           Imbalance of the useful nutrients in the soil’

                      ·            Activities for the protection of the land and soil resources; 

                      ·            Alternative agriculture. 

                      RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES:

                       Students will realize the importance of the land resources and the role of civic activism in ensuring the sustainable development of the land and soil.  

                      LEARNING OUTCOMES:

                      ·            The student learns and understands the results of degradation and the role of civic involvement in ensuring the sustainable   development of the land and soil; 

                      ·            The student knows the importance, types, reduction trends, degradation, causes of depletion of the land and soil resources and ways of overcoming it. 

                      ·            The students will be able to  access updated information about  land and soil resources and  analyze it. 

                      ·            The students will know  about the modern approaches, technologies,and means of alternative agriculture and land resource use 

                       ·            The students will be able to analyze the possibilities and need of effective use of  land resources for development of civic education and democracy; 

                      ·            The students will realize their professional and personal role in the protection of  land resources, improving their civic awareness and democratic values in this regard; 


                      Activity #1: The teacher will ask students to define soil and what they know about soil erosion and degradation. The teacher will present the following video  to the class:

                      After watching the film the students will explain what new things they learned from the film. They  will then be divided into groups according to the different factors affecting land use and degradation Each group will discuss a specific  factor and will present it to the class. After the group presentations there will be a class discussion concerning how students personally affect land resources and their civic responsibilities in maintaining and preventing further degradation of land resources.

                      Activity #2: Role play 

                      Students will be divided into groups in which each group will represent various stakeholders such as: citizens, politicians, lawyers, mayors, municipality supervisor, etc. Each group will detail their role  with regard to various issues concerning land pollution and degradation (building a quarry in an open areas, developing residential areas in agricultural areas, constructing gas and oil pipelines in open areas).

                      The end product will be a letter sent to the proper authorities regarding this specific matter. 




                      3.  - Erosion Processes:
                      4.  Lend degradation: physical, chemical; wind, water;
                      6. Weathering: Definition, Types, Causes & Rates
                      7. Effect of Erosion and Deposition on Landforms
                      8. Soil Erosion: Effects & Prevention
                      10.  Soil Protection:



                    • View only 'Topic 13'

                      UNIT 3: ECOLOGY AND BIODIVERSITY-- Topic:Biodiversity and Conservation

                      RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES:

                      The aim of this unit is to consider the importance of biodiversity and to discuss the role of humans in protecting the non-human world.

                      The main focus shall be on considering what is meant by biodiversity and the impact that this has had and may have on the planet. The role of humans as ‘responsible stewards’ will be considered from ecological, humanistic and spiritual contexts.

                      This unit aims to problematize what the role of humans might be, indeed, if they should have one at all, in ‘protecting’ the planet. There is also a consideration of where the values and attitudes towards biodiversity and its conservation emerge from and how these can be engaged with to encourage sustainable behaviours.


                      1. Understanding the relationships between humans and environment from a spiritual, cultural and social perspective

                      2. Understanding global and local challenges of the environment and their inter-relationship

                      3. Understanding basic concepts of ecology and environmental issues

                      4. Enhancing the awareness and the implications of human activity on the environment

                      LEARNING OUTCOMES:

                      It is expected that students will gain an appreciation of the current paucity and continual decline of biodiversity and the immediate impact that has. Students will be able to come to an understanding of what may motivate humans to respond to the planet and biodiversity in the way they do. Potential reasons for behaviours such as ‘stewardship’ or ‘capitalist exploitation’ may provide insight into human/non-human interactions.


                      1.       To acquire and  apply knowledge relating to sustainability in the community

                      2.       To enable students to integrate traditional and innovative knowledge in developing attitudes towards sustainability from different perspectives (political, social, ecological, cultural, economic, legal, etc.).

                      3.    To acquire a sensitivity towards different opinions regarding sustainability issues.

                      4.    Applying the interactive relationships between local and global sustainability issues.


                      Activity #1:Small group discussion (face to face/blog/on-line discussion) after ‘provocative question’ provided by teacher. (for example ‘Rats are pests – why don’t we exterminate them?)

                      Read Living Planet p6-9. Watch the two videos.

                      Removing elephants 

                       Answer: ‘Why is biodiversity important?

                      Activity #2: Think about and plan a short presentation on the implications of human interference on biodiversity. Use one of the following scenarios ..‘Which species to remove and which species to keep and which species to eat.’

                      Your presentation should last 10 minutes (no less than 8 slides) and include examples of what you could do to  maintain biodiversity.


                      Jordan, K. & Kristjánsson, K. (2016): Sustainability, virtue ethics, and the virtue of harmony with nature, Environmental Education Research, DOI:10.1080/13504622.2016.1157681


                      Lovelock, J. (1979). Gaia. Oxford: Oxford University Press

                      Porritt, J. (2013). The World We Made: Alex McKay’s story from 2050. London: Phaidon Press. (Biodiversity and the Natural World sections)

                      Vane-Wright, R.I. (2009). Planetary awareness, worldviews and the conservation of biodiversity. In Kellert, S.R. & Speth, J.G. (eds), The Coming Transformation. Values to sustain human and natural communities, pp. 353–382. New Haven: Yale School of Forestry& Environmental Studies.

                       WWF (2016) Living Planet Report 2016. The summary

                      Available from:





                      1.     אתר קמפוס טבע, האוניברסיטה העברית:







                      Supporting Literature:

                      Armstrong, J.C. (2005). En’owkin: decision-making as if sustainability mattered. In Stone, M.K. and Barlow, Z., (eds)., Ecological Literacy: Education Our Children for a Sustainable World. San Francisco: Sierra Book Club: 11-17

                      Bainbridge, A. (2016) Building a world unfit to live in: the deception, distraction and disavowal of the fetish. Pedagogia Oggi, 1/2016, 62-72.

                      Dietz, T., E. Ostrom, and P. C. Stern. (2003). The struggle to govern the commons. Science 302:1907-1912

                      Wilson, E.O. (1984). Biophilia: The Human Bond with Other Species. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

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                        UNIT 3: ECOLOGY AND BIODIVERSITY-- Topic: Ecological Footprint

                        RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES:

                        The world's population grows, and should be provided with food, quality water a place to live, energy and other needs. Open spaces are decreasing, drinking water sources are becoming fewer, and the urban territories are expanding. The industrial and technological development, the agriculture expands, the increased consumption habits, all of this and more, causes a rapid depletion of the earth's natural resources and space. Moreover, a greater amount of land and water is required to assimilate the growing waste generated by humans.

                        It is important that the world citizens will  realize the harsh environmental reality. Understanding the concept of ecological footprint, can increase students internalization of the shortage in worlds' space, and empower their motivation to live a more sustainable life.

                        LEARNING OUTCOMES:

                        Students will be aware of the shortage in space on earth to provide humans the modern lifestyle, and will acquire the skills to
                        reduce their ecological footprint. They will internalize that: "Humanity's Ecological Footprint is as much as 30 percent larger than
                        nature can sustain in the long run. In other words, present consumption exceeds natural income by 30 percent and is therefore partially dependent on capital (wealth) depletion. The lavish partying by the wealthy few today means a hefty bill for everyone tomorrow", (Wackernagel and Rees 1996.p.90).


                        Activity #1.       Weight your/family garbage for 7 days:

                        1.1.     Compare your average waste weight to your country average per person, and  global average:

                        1.2.    Suggest ways to minimize your personal waste

                         Activity #2:  The 5 ‘Rs’ are 5 key factors when thinking about how to minimize your waste, Find out what  they are and give an example from your personal life.

                        Activity #3.       Ecological footprint:

                        3.1.     Calculate your own footprint: link to  survey


                        3.2.    List of countries by ecological footprint:


                        USA and Canada have a similar Ecological footprint, However one country has a deficit and the other does not. Explain why.

                        3.3.  What is  the connection between Ecological footprint, Country area and population?



                        2.       The story of stuff- Short movie

                        3.       Waste Land- movie by Vic Moniz

                        4.       טלט', מורגא', גן דואלכסנדרי א' (2009).  חינוך סביבתי וחינוך לקיימותעקרונותרעיונות ודרכי פעולה, עמודים 39-42 המשרד להגנת הסביבהמשרד החינוךנדלה מ:


                        6.       קלצ'קו שרה וחובריה. (2014). יש לנו רק כדור אחד – פסולת מוצקהמשאב המים.  אוניברסיטת בר אילןמטה מל"מ ואגף מדעיםהמזכירות הפדגוגיתמשרד החינוך המרכז להוראת המדעים

                         Galli, A., Giampetro, M., Goldfinger, S., Lazarus, E., Lin D., Saltelli,A.,  Wackernagel, M., Muller,F. (2016). Questioning the Ecological Footprint, Ecological Indicators,  69: 224-232

                        Galli,A., Wackernagel,M.,Kotsunori,I.,Lazarus, E.(2014).Ecological Footprint: Implication s to Biodiversity,Biological Conservation, 173: 121-132

                        7.       Wackernagel, M., & Rees, W. (1998). Our ecological footprint: reducing human impact on the earth (No. 9). New Society Publishers.

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