Christie Mackay UWS ITE ePDP

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Sustainable Development

FRIDAY 23rd SEPTEMBER: THE ENVIRONMENT

THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT

My urban environment is Prestwick, a small town on the west coast of Scotland in South Ayrshire. This is the town which I grew up in and still live in to this day. Prestwick has a population of roughly 14,900 people.

Physical Characteristics
Prestwick is made up of all different types and styles of buildings. Sandstone buildings are very common, as are small brick bungalows. There are many different housing estates which are often made up of semi-detached houses. Prestwick has many different churches which are some of the oldest buildings in the town. There are now modern blocks of flats scattered throughout the town. Prestwick Academy was knocked down back in 2009 and a brand new modern school was build in its place. There are some historical buildings and features throughout Prestwick such as the Mercat Cross, which is now used as a war memorial, the Salt Pan Houses and Bruce’s Well.
The dual carriage way brings you in past Prestwick Airport and into Prestwick’s Main Street. The Main Street runs all the way along until it eventually leads you to Ayr. The Main Street breaks off into many other roads which then break off again. As there are lots of housing estates there are many roads, streets, avenues, crescents and cul-de-sacs.
There are many green spaces within walking distance. There is “the oval” which is a group of fields with a running track, play park and football fields. There are two different golf courses in Prestwick which provide a huge amount of green space. My favourite place is the beach which is within five minutes walking distance. It is used by many dog walkers, children playing at the two play parks, joggers and children playing on the fields in front of the promenade.

Transport
Luckily, everything in Prestwick is within walking distance from my house. However, if I was needing transport else where there are many ways of doing so. There are multiple bus stops throughout Prestwick, with many different routes and a regular timetable. The train station is also nearby and the easiest way to avoid rush hour traffic. Many people, like myself, drive to work and university and although traffic can become congested at rush hour this is nowhere near as bad as cities like Glasgow. Prestwick also has an airport. Prestwick also has a cycle path/route which runs all the way through and takes you to Troon.
Although planes, cars, buses and trains can make a lot of noise, as we are so used to hearing this all the time it just becomes a part of our daily lives and we see it as normal so don’t really notice it as much.

Community Spaces
Prestwick Main Street is full of many different businesses and places for the community to gather. It consists of food shops, restaurants, bars, cafes, clothes boutiques, hairdressers, beauticians, doctors surgeries, pharmacies, dentists, opticians, library, pet shops, veterinary practice, banks, post office, travel agents, art galleries, churches, estate agents and the police station. Further out there is the swimming pool, tennis centre, gym, community centre sailing club and golf clubs. There are three different primary schools in Prestwick and one secondary school. There are many activities and sports held in different locations, Scouts and Brownies, sailing club, soft play area are just a few of many.

Industry and Work
As mentioned previously, there are many different businesses in Prestwick town which gives opportunities for work. As well as that there is plenty of work available in retail, construction, mechanics and salesmen.

Air Quality
According to the Scottish Air Quality Website, http://www.scottishairquality.co.uk/latest/site-info?site_id=HARB, Prestwick has a score of 1. This is the lowest band, showing that Prestwick has very little air pollution. This is most likely because Prestwick is just a small town, it’s right next to the beach and surrounded by a lot of fields and farms. If you compare the air quality to a built up city such as Glasgow, it has a score of 2 showing that the air quality is not as pure and unpolluted as Prestwick.

Theme: THE ENVIRONMENT

Key Learning:

I learnt about both the natural and urban environment. The natural environment is made up of the elements which surround you, for example: the land, the people and the community. It is important to teach sustainable development and the environment topic. If pupils can form a relationship with nature, and become interested in it, then they are more likely to care and look after it.

The urban environment refers to a built-up area such as a town or city. Urban areas tend to be packed full of buildings, roads, factories and transport.
Cities are responsible for a large amount of carbon emissions, whether this is from deforestation or burning of fossil fuels. There are a finite amount of fossil fuels and the demand for these is much greater than the supply.
As there is an increasing growth of the human population the urban areas must grow to suit. This can lead to cutting down forests, to make more space for buildings, which results in the loss of animal habitats and then eventually the loss of different species.
Our urban area is able to support human growth, allow us to physically develop through health care, allow us to socially develop through clubs and communities and provide us with education. It also provides lifelong care such as nursing homes and provides resources for life. Our urban area allows us to interact with nature and shows the diversity of different species.

I also learnt about the different parts of a flower as well as the process of germination and photosynthesis. I also learnt that hydroponics is the process of growing a plant without soil.

Impact on my views/lifestyle/practice:

During the input on the environment we were able to go out onto the grounds surrounding the university and complete different tasks relating to the topic. We were given sheets with different types of plants, birds, insects and lichen and we were to go out a walk and try and identify them. This made me realise how little attention I pay when walking from the car park into the university as there were all these different species of living things that I had never really noticed before. It was good to get involved in the task.

I was able to look further into my own urban environment and it was interesting to see how many details you don’t really think about on a day to day basis. For instance I never really thought about the carbon emissions and how driving in my car every day is in some way adding onto this. It makes you think what a difference it would make if we were able to use different modes of transport, like the trams in Edinburgh, or try cycling to work and university instead of taking the car.

In the science lab we set up an experiment to compare the difference between two seedlings. One was set up with the complete solution and the other was without nitrogen. Over the course of the week we have been checking up on the seedlings and comparing the length and appearance of the two.

Areas of interest to explore further/develop:

I’m looking forward to becoming more confident about teaching science and sustainable development. To further develop my knowledge on the environment topic so far I am going to engage in some further reading as well as doing some more research online.

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FRIDAY 7th OCTOBER: CLIMATE CHANGE

CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate is the average weather at a given point and time of the year over a relatively long period of time. Although weather can change a lot from day to day, the climate is expected to remain constant. The climate system is important as it determines the weather, affects long-term decisions by humans and affects long term trends in plants and animals. Climate change is mainly caused by the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. There is evidence of the climate changing from weather recordings, ice cores, rocks and fossils and from analysis of pollen and trees. One of the greenhouse gases which contributes to climate change and global warming is carbon dioxide.

CARBON FOOTPRINT

I carried out the online quiz to find out my carbon footprint. This is the amount of carbon dioxide which is produced as a result of my lifestyle and the decisions I make.
According to the WWF Footprint Calculator, I am using 187% of my share of carbon dioxide emissions. 20% of this is being produced as a result of the food I eat, 8% from the energy used in my home, 64% of this result was from travel and 8% from the things in my home.
For food I stated that I eat meat in most of my meals. I spend roughly £10-£50 on food from restaurants/takeaways/canteens in a week. I waste about 10-30% of the food I buy. I do source some food locally but the majority is imported.
For travel I stated I had a small, petrol car and used this to commute for about 2-5 hours a week. My last holiday was a long-haul flight to Australia and before that a short-haul flight to Corfu within the past year.
For home, I stated I lived in a 4 bedroom, semi-detached house with four adults living in it. Our central heating is gas and during winter the house is usually heated between 18-21 degrees. We have energy saving bulbs, insulation and double glazed windows.

The government is aiming to drastically decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 and there are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint. As my carbon footprint was pretty high, I am now going to be making some changes in my lifestyle and make different choices to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
To reduce energy usage, layer up with jumpers before turning the heating on. If it’s too hot then don’t open windows and let all the heat go out, turn the heating off instead and save energy. I’m pretty bad for leaving my back door open for my dog to get out and in at his own leisure but I’m thinking this is maybe why we always have the heating on.
Use energy saving bulbs.
Don’t waste hot water.
Install double glazing in windows and insulate the house and loft.
Switch off lights when not in the room, seems like such a simple thing but the amount of times I go back up to my room after a few hours and realise I’ve left the light on is pretty bad.
Make sure to switch off any electrical equipment when finished. I’m quite bad for having my laptop on charge even when it’s battery is full, so changes like this can save energy and as a result reduce CO2 emissions.
For waste, make sure to recycle and use food waste bins.
Reuse carrier bags at supermarkets, bags for life etc.
For travelling shorter distances try to walk or cycle instead of taking the car. Car share with other people going the same journey to reduce CO2 emissions. Use public transport instead of the car. Electric vehicles have been introduced as an alternative to petrol or diesel cars.

Not only are there environmental benefits of reducing your carbon footprint but also health benefits. Walking/cycling instead of taking the car encourages people to be healthier and to lead a physical lifestyle. It can also help with mental health, taking a break and taking advantage of the green spaces around you is a good way to relax, going on cycle routes instead of taking the car allows you to get fresh air and clear your head.
There are financial benefits as if you are using less electricity and heating then your monthly bills are going to reduce.

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, informs people about climate change and the target they are aiming to achieve. By 2050 the goal is to have reduced the emissions by at least 80%. The act is to encourage individuals to try and contribute towards this goal. If everyone takes action and reduces their carbon footprint then this goal could become achievable. Hopefully we will be able to make a difference and make a better life for future generations on this planet.

 

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Friday 21st October: INTERDEPENDENCE

 

Independent study task

Independent study task

 

Theme: INTERDEPENDENCE

Key learning:

Interdependence is the way in which two or more living things depend on each other to grow and remain healthy.

Years ago many groups such as the aboriginals worked with the land but many people seen it as unnecessary and hippy-like. Now there are more positive attitudes towards farming and more people are realising the need to practice this. They are realising that this is efficient for sustainability.

There are three ways in which we are interdependent:

Economically

Socially

Environmentally.

 

Economic Interdependence
We are part of a global society. All goods can be produced globally, our society can be greatly impacted through factors such as the global market and trading. Our economy is affected by the value of the euro, dollar, yen etc through international stock market.

Social Interdependence
We can be socially interdependent through the sharing of media products. Hollywood movies and american television shows are viewed globally. As there is a high demand for them, there are more created this in turn boosts America’s economy.

Environmental Interdependence
Society’s awareness for environmental interdependence is now growing e.g people recognise that plants can now be used to make medicines and cure different diseases. When one thing changes in a system this can have huge changes/affects on others. For example as the sea temperature is rising due to global warming, fish are migrating to different areas, this then changes the food chain and it is necessary to look for other sources. In the independent study task I looked at over fishing and the problems this can cause.

 

Impact on my views/lifestyle/practice:

This session made me aware of interdependent relationships that I wasn’t even aware of before. I wasn’t aware that such little changes in our environment, economy and society can have such drastic effects. The whole population of the world relies on interdependent relationships to survive in life.

Areas of interest to explore further/develop:

I am going to do some further reading on this topic so I can get to grips with the main concepts and perhaps find some more real life examples of interdependence and how it relates to my microworld as well as my macroworld.

 

 

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FRIDAY 4th NOVEMBER: DISASTERS

 

Theme: DISASTERS

Key learning:

An event is only classed as a disaster when human society is impacted by social disruption, material damage and loss of life.

There are many different types of natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, floods, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons. We learnt more about these in detail after listening to PowerPoint presentations made by each group in our section. We learnt how these occur, how residents in areas commonly affected by these can prepare, what happens during the disaster and what is done to help afterwards.

Humans can have an impact on natural disasters. We looked at how global warming is making sea levels rise and causing flooding. Also looked at how deforestation can have drastic effects when a tsunami or flood occurs, the trees help distribute the water and stop the flow being so harsh, when these trees are cut away there is nothing stopping the flash flood or tsunami. Countries such as Japan have building regulations which mean that when a building is built it must meet the regulation to be able to withhold an earthquake.

There are many risks which come with these disasters other than the obvious of mass destruction and many lives lost during the disaster. For example, after a disaster water can become contaminated which then leads to disease. Or chemicals can be washed into the ocean causing pollution and killing off wildlife, habitats can be destroyed and many different species of animals killed.

We looked at the many different ways you can prepare and respond on a local level, a national level and an international level. Such as radio warnings, forecasting systems, government policies, funding and resources. There are many charities who come together to help out countries in need after they have been affected by a disaster.

Impact on my views/lifestyle/practice:

I think this input was very useful as many of us hadn’t really given much thought into the topic as some people can’t relate to it. It is seen as something that could never happen to us and is so far away, but this input made us all realise how horrific it would be to be in that situation. I was also quite upset to find out how long it takes some of these developing countries to recover from the disasters. Initially aid is given but when the news are no longer reporting it on TV then most people forget about it and stop giving to these charities.

I think it is important to teach disasters in the class as although it may not feel relevant to pupils it’s important to show them that these things do actually happen and look at what we as a country/nation can do to help those in need. It is also useful to look at the scientific side of things and look at why these disasters occur. When teaching this I would need to be aware of how I delivered the lesson as some parts can be quite upsetting for pupils. Certain videos with death tolls etc would be inappropriate to use in class. It would be more useful to look at how the disaster occurred, how the country prepared for it and how any aid was given after the disaster. I liked the independent study task of creating a PowerPoint on a chosen disaster and delivering it to the rest of the section. We were all able to learn about different disasters and look at what different child-friendly activities you could use relating to that in the classroom.

Areas of interest to explore further/develop:

I would like to look further into the delivery of this topic to primary pupils. I will look through everyone’s PowerPoints on moodle and take notes of the different activities so that one day I can possibly use them with my pupils.

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