MODULE 3. ATONG AMPINGAN, LET’S TAKE CARE OF OUR OCEAN!

go easy on the sea illustration Source:  USAID, F.I.S.H. Project, 2006

Lesson 1:  Valuing Our Ocean

Subjects:  Science, Social Studies, Science, and Language Arts

Target Audience: Grades 6-8, 9-12

Background

Coral reefs have often been referred to as the “rainforests of the ocean.”  They are very important to mankind for many reasons.  They provide shelter and sustenance for marine organisms, which in turn feed millions of people worldwide.  Fishing communities rely heavily on their bounty for their livelihoods.  Coral reefs also protect coasts from strong currents and high waves, and they control carbon dioxide in the water that could be dangerous to marine life at high levels.

Hence, the global importance of Philippine reefs is immeasurable.  In addition, reef organisms live interdependently with other reef ecosystems.  For instance, several highly migratory fish, such as tuna, spend their early life in the Philippines before moving on to other countries and the open ocean.  Certain reef species in Japan and those in the South China Sea depend on the health of the Philippine reefs for the replenishment of their populations (McManus, 1994). To put is simply, healthy coral reefs ensure the survival of millions of people in the world.

Unfortunately, coral reefs face many threats.  Cyanide fishing is one of them.  Fishermen use cyanide, which is a poison, to stun and capture the fish.  They typically dive onto the corals and squirt them with cyanide.  The initial exposure kills half of the fish and invertebrates while the stunned ones float to the top.  These fish are then placed into plastic bags where they are taken to aquarium and live-fish food dealers in Manila, the capital of the Philippines.  They are then sold all over the world. The aquarium and live-food fish trades are a billion dollar industry, and the high demand for exotic fish keeps this destructive activity alive.

Dangerous activities such as cyanide fishing will quickly deplete the Philippine coral reef ecosystems.  It is a shame, because they are not only an invaluable piece of the Filipino’s heritage, but they are also the world’s legacy for future generations.  It is our duty to protect them no matter where we may be, and it begins with helping our youth cultivate a love for the ocean and our global environment.

Keywords

Conservation, Sustainability

Objectives

  • Students differentiate between the terms conservation and sustainability.
  • Students gain knowledge about environmental issues.
  • Students learn to value their local environment.

Standards

National Council for Social Studies (NCSS)

  • Time, Continuity, Change
  • Culture
  • Individual Development and Identity
  • Science, Technology and Society

Common Core Standards

  • English Language Arts
  • Science and Technical Subjects

Materials Needed

None

Procedure

1. Students observe the picture above.  Students discuss what they see.

2. Students then define and discuss the terms conservation and sustainability. Have them provide examples.

Conservation: The protection, preservation, management, or restoration of wildlife and of natural resources such as forests, soil, and water.

Sustainability: “Going green.”

“Sustainable developments are those that ‘meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs’ (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987).

“Sustainability refers to a very old and simple concept (The Golden Rule)…do onto future generations as you would have them do onto you.” Robert Gillman, editor of In Context magazine.

Children’s definition:

    • “Sharing what we have with others and not taking more than our   share.”
    • “Thinking about what you need rather than taking what you want.”
    • “Taking care of the air, water, land and those who live there.”
    • “One thing leads to another, then another.  Let’s make the chain good.”
    • “Sustainability is not just cleaning up your own room – It’s about keeping tidy and even bigger room that belongs to everyone!”
    • “Taking care of the planet and its creatures.”
    • “Something that is good for everyone.”
    • “Loving and caring for our planet and others.”Ask students how they would feel if their natural environment (their home) is threatened with destructive activities, such as the paving of parks, their favorite playgrounds, and forests, to make way for parking lots and shopping malls?
                                                         From “Definitions of Sustainability for Children… and From Children”

 Assessment

Students write their own definition of sustainability.  What does a sustainable environment look like?  Does your hometown follow sustainable practices?  Option:  Students draw a picture of their idea of what a sustainable environment would look like.

Lesson 2:  Caring for the Environment:  Coral Reefs in Danger

Subjects:  Science, Social Studies, Science, and Language Arts

Target Audience: Grades 6-8, 9-12

Brief Overview

“Coral reefs face many threats.  Cyanide fishing is one of them.  Fishermen use cyanide, which is a poison, to stun and capture the fish.  They typically dive onto the corals and squirt them with cyanide.  The initial exposure kills half of the fish and invertebrates while the stunned ones float to the top.  These fish are then placed into plastic bags where they are taken to aquarium and live-fish food dealers in Manila, the capital of the Philippines.  They are then sold all over the world. The aquarium and live-food fish trades are a billion dollar industry, and the high demand for exotic fish keeps this destructive activity alive.”

Keywords

Cyanide Fishing

Objectives

  • Students gain content knowledge on environmental issues facing our ocean.
  • Students learn to read purposely.
  • Students learn to adapt their communication in relation to their audience, task, purpose, and topic.

Standards

National Council for Social Studies (NCSS)

  • Time, Continuity, Change
  • Culture
  • Individual Development and Identity
  • Science, Technology and Society

Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

  • English Language Arts
  • Science and Technical Subjects

Preparation and Materials Needed

Read

http://www.malaya.com.ph/index.php/news/nation/8158-destructive-fishing-threatens-philippine-coral-reefs-says-study

Procedure

 1.     Read the paragraphs below.  Have students define the environmental issues present in these paragraphs.

 Fishing is an important livelihood for many Filipinos.  Small-scale fin fishermen use traditional ways of fishing, such as spear fishing and hook and line, which are adapted to the natural environment.  However, commercial scale fishing has contributed to the decline of fish because of overfishing. It is a part of a billion dollar industry that supplies the demand for high-end fish, such as tuna and live exotic fishes for the aquarium and live-food fish trades.

 Filipino fishermen used to fish only to provide food for their communities. Now they supply fish to many countries all over the world.  As a result, many are using destructive fishing methods to keep up with the demand.   For instance, cyanide fishing became rampant beginning in the 60’s to capture fish.  Fishermen and young boys typically dive onto the corals and squirt them with cyanide, a poison that stuns fish.  The initial exposure kills half of the fish and invertebrates while the stunned ones float to the top.  These fish are then placed into plastic bags where they are taken to aquarium and live-fish food dealers in Manila, the capital of the Philippines.  They are then exported to Japan, China, the United States and many other countries where they will end up in pet stores, aquariums, and restaurants.

2. Students debate the issue of fishing versus conservation.  Have them prepare a position paper before the debate.  Divide the class into pairs and have each pair role-play the following parts:

a)    Small-scale fin fisherman:

      “Fishing is my job.  I need to fish to feed my family.  Besides, I only

       use spear fishing and hook and line.”

b)    Commercial fin fisherman:

“Exporting fish to other countries is big business.  I have to use the

 most efficient way to harvest as much fish as I can.  There’s plenty of

 fish in the water! I also provide jobs to many people.”

c)    Cyanide fisherman:

      “This is the easiest and fastest way to capture live fish.  I need to meet

      the demands of my customers and I need money to provide for my

      family.”

d)    Aquarist (a person who keeps an aquarium as a hobby or a director of an aquarium):

     “Our aquarium provides educational programs on marine preservation

      and management to the public.  These fish are important in

      education.”

e)    Amateur aquarist:

     “These exotic fish will make good pets.”

f)      Gourmet (someone who wants to eat the best food):

      “I only like the best when it comes to the food I eat.  Live fish-food kept

       in tanks in restaurants is the freshest and the tastiest fish.”

g)    Environmentalist:

      “We have to stop exploiting our marine resources.  We need to protect

       them for future generations.”

h)    Philippine government official:

     “We must provide jobs for the people, but also need to manage our

      marine resources so that we will not run out of fish for our community.”

 Assessment

Students write a reaction paper on the debate.  Did the debate change their perception on fishing and conservation?  What were the highlights of the debate?    

Lesson 3:  Coral Reefs in the News!

Subjects:  Science, Social Studies, Science, and Language Arts

Target Audience: Grades 9-12

Brief Overview: 

On June 22, 2012, Filipino Americans and Vietnamese Americans held a rally in front of the United Nations headquarters in New York over China’s claims over the West Philippines Sea in the Panatag Shoal (or Scarborough) and over Vietnam’s Sea.  Both Philippines and Vietnam opposes China’s claims and maintain that China has been violating international laws of the sea.

Keywords

Water Conflict, Grassroots Activism

Objectives

  • Students learn how to distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.
  • Students learn how to describe how a text presents information.

Standards

National Council for Social Studies (NCSS)

  • Time, Continuity, Change
  • Culture
  • Individual Development and Identity
  • Science, Technology and Society

Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

  • English Language Arts
  • Science and Technical Subjects
Materials Needed
Read
1. Lugay, Elton.”Filipinos, Vietnamese in US close ranks:  boycott Chinese products.”  Digital copy:  http://globalnation.inquirer.net/41565/filipinos-vietnamese-in-us-close-ranks-boycott-chinese-products
2. Ortigas, Marga. “Scarborough Shoal stand-off sparks protests.” Digital copy:  http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2012/05/2012512191343212584.html
3. Pennington, Matthew. “Analysis: US Dilemma in South China Sea response.”
 Procedure
1.  Students define and discuss water conflict and grassroots activism.
Water conflicts have appeared throughout history.  It is a term that describes disputes between groups, states, and countries over water access. It affects many countries from China to the United States.
Grassroots activism consists of a group of like-minded people coming together for a cause they believe in.
2.  Students divide into discussion groups.
3.  Students read “Filipinos, Vietnamese in US close ranks: Boycott Chinese Products,  “Scarborough Shoal stand-off sparks protests,” and “Analysis: US Dilemma in South China Sea response.”
4.  Students define and discuss the conflict.  These are some of the questions to they need to answer:  What countries are involved in the conflict?  Why are they involved in the conflict? How is this conflict affecting the coral reefs and the communities nearby.
5.  Students evaluate the role of the following in the conflict: (1) The national leadership (How are the respective leaders of each country dealing with the conflict?) (2) The local leadership (How are the local leaders dealing with the conflict?)  (3) Grassroots activism (How are the local people reacting to the conflict? How about those Filipino Americans, Vietnamese Americans , and Chinese Americans living in the United States?) (4) Media (How is the media covering the conflict?)
6. Have each group present on their understanding of the conflict using a multimedia presentation such as PowerPoint Slides, Videos, and On-line presentations (i.e. Prezi.com).
Assessment
Students research and write a report on a water conflict in their state (i.e. The Great Lakes Water Conflict http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/GOSSEJP/).  Some questions to consider:  How is this issue affecting their local community?  What can they do to help solve this problem?  How can they encourage their peers to care about this environmental issue and take action?
 

 

 

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