Sarah Ferguson UWS ePDP

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December 15, 2016
by Georgina Brown
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Sustainable Development Placement Task

Mapping of school grounds/area:

The school building itself is quite small, but considering its size, it still has a good amount of space for the pupils to play/learn outdoors in. There is a sizeable playground with a grassy area next to it, and a garden area that the children help to look after.

Evidence of existing engagement with sustainable education:

There is evidence of existing engagement with sustainable education in the form of a garden area with an area for minibeasts and trim trails in it. This allows the children to learn more about the environment and do more activities outdoors. The school also has recycling bins which helps to encourage the children to take better care of their environment. The school used to, but do not currently have an Eco Schools committee as they have been investing a lot of time in the pupil council and Rights Respecting Schools council, but it is something that they have been thinking about re-introducing.

Consideration of actual play space and its suitability: 

The play space gives good opportunities for the children to explore their own environment. The space is used mostly for play at breaks and lunch, but outdoor learning can take part out here too. An example of this was the pupils in my class during their dinosaur topic.

 

November 18, 2016
by Georgina Brown
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Learning Log: Energy

In the energy input of this module, we first learned about the importance of renewable energy. Previous to this input, I was already aware of the rapidly dissipating levels of fossil fuels and also how bad they were for the environment, therefore it is important to have renewable energy. Going through the lecture, I was quite shocked to realise the amount of things that actually contained fossil fuels.

Renewable energy is very important as it allows us to sustain ourselves without using fossil fuels. Examples of this are: solar power, wave power and wind turbines.

We focused on wind turbines and had a debate on the pros and cons of them: it was very interesting but probably not an activity I would carry on in to a classroom setting as I feel that primary children would not be able to work in groups as big as we did.

The practical workshops last week and today were very interesting and provided a good insight of different activities that could be done within a classroom.

I believe that learning about renewable energy is vital for children today as it is going to become increasingly more common in their lifetimes and may one day have to entirely rely on it-so it is important that they understand what it means and how it all works.

November 3, 2016
by Georgina Brown
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Learning Log: Interdependence

Theme: Interdependence

I really enjoyed the farm visit that we had for this input. Coming from a farming background myself, it was nice to see a different way of doing things. I think it is very important that we know and understand where our food/milk comes from.

I found the whole process very interesting and was amazed when I discovered that the cows spent their whole lives in this giant barn, as opposed to grazing in the fields. At first, this fact bothered me and I thought it was cruel to keep them from roaming in the fields, but after the farmer further explained it to us, I understood that it was not cruel as cows do not need a large amount of space to exercise and the shed was able to adjust itself to the weather outside. We saw this firsthand towards the end of our visit, when the temperature dropped and so the shed accommodated this by having large ‘shutters’ that closed.

I also loved the modern aspect this farm had compared to others I have been to. There were robots cleaning the ground where the cows lived to keep it more hygienic as well as a very large robot that went in a loop around the barn to push the feed closer to the cows. It was a very fresh take on dairy farming that I loved to see.

I think it would be very beneficial to children to see and understand where their food and milk came from to have a greater understanding of the world that we live in. I would love to take a class to a farm in the future, Strandhead farm especially!

 

October 21, 2016
by Georgina Brown
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Learning Log: Disasters

Theme: Disasters

Previous to this input, I was already very aware of natural disasters, especially with the recent Hurricane Matthew that devastated parts of Haiti, the Bahamas and Florida being all over the news and social media.

What I was less aware of, however, was the varying responses by different governments, how some countries were more prepared for disasters than others, and how some governments were not as quick to help their citizens as others.

An example of this is the case studies that we looked at during the Political Factors and Economic Impact workshop.

When a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, it was devastating for the small, poor island nation. Much of the response for the people in Haiti came not from their own government, but from the US military and other UN nations who sent relief and aid from all over the world. This in itself had many issues, for example a language barrier between the natives and the aid workers as well as many countries promising financial aid but not fulfilling their promises. I found this awful as I had never thought of the government to not prioritise their people’s safety.  I researched further different charitable organisations such as CAFOD who aided in Haiti to find out more about what they did in the aftermath. As well as helping to combat disease and give people food and water, they have also been helping with preparations for future earthquakes, such as training farmers to create natural barriers that can reduce the risk of landslides. I think it is vital for Haiti, as well as other less developed countries, to prepare as much as possible for natural disasters.

Alternatively, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck Japan in March 2011, making it the 5th largest recorded earthquake worldwide since 1900.

Japan had preparations in place for the earthquake, but the shock was the Tsunami. The government had issued a tsunami warning 3 minutes after the earthquake and the Prime Minister had an emergency meeting to do what he could to minimise damage. Most of the relief effort was done by the Japanese government, and they did a lot for their people. Social media also provided a massive help using Twitter for updates.

References
Haiti Earthquake-Your Questions Answered (2013) [Online] Available: http://cafod.org.uk Accessed 3rd November 2016

October 7, 2016
by Georgina Brown
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Learning Log: Climate Change

Theme: Climate Change

Key learning:

This input really opened up my eyes to the dangers of climate change. It is becoming increasingly more important that we do our best to prevent it before the damage becomes irreversible. I was somewhat aware of the effects of global warming such as the icecaps melting, but watching the video of the build up of CO2 was a huge shock.

Deforestation plays an immense part in the build up of CO2. Trees take in the CO2 in the atmosphere and produce oxygen, what we breathe in. With the deforestation happening at such a rapid pace, there are less trees to take in the increasing levels of CO2.

Climate change is something that we are briefly told about, and then every so often reminded of, but it isn’t reiterated often enough for people to take more than a fleeting interest in. More should be done in the media to show the effects of climate change, what can be done to prevent it and to help people really understand that they world they live in is in danger and that it does affect them.

I never realised that the more developed countries tried to get the less developed countries to cut their emissions so that they did not have to. I thought this was awful, as it was be even more challenging for these countries to develop while trying to cut back on emissions and this in turn furthers the imbalance between developed and less developed countries.

I think that it is vital that we teach children about climate change, especially as it is the future generations that are in more danger from it. It is important that it is taught in a way that is informative and highlights the importance of making changing to our lifestyles, but not so that it scares the children.

October 7, 2016
by Georgina Brown
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Climate Change-Study Task

Looking at the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 was eye opening as it made me realise the government are setting more targets and plans to try and tackle climate change than I previously thought.

After researching further, I found through WWF that there is a target for Scotland’s electricity to be 100% renewable by 2020 and we are currently on track for this to be achieved.

I completed the WWF Footprint Calculator and discovered I had a carbon footprint of 140%.

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This surprised me because I have been trying to improve my carbon footprint as I have become increasingly more aware of the dangers to the environment. My family and I try to be as environmentally friendly as possible-with double glazing, insulations and recycling.

However, I think what let me down was my reliance on my car. As I live in a rural area, there are not many amenities nearby, meaning I have to travel to a different town/city to do almost everything.  I also work in a village 7 miles from my town and as I sometimes work split shifts, I find myself driving out and back up to four times a day. While there is a train station in my town, the trains do not run very frequently so most of the time it isn’t very helpful to rely on trains.

While it is not practical for me to give up driving, I could try and use public transport more often. If there are any days where the train would get me in on time, I could take it to university instead of driving. I could also use the train instead of driving if I go to Ayr or Glasgow to go shopping. I could also make an effort to walk more in the town instead of opting to drive for quickness.


References:

WWF, 2016. Tackling Climate Change in Scotland. Available at: http://www.wwf.org.uk/what_we_do/tackling_climate_change/how_we_re_tackling_climate_change/tackling_climate_change_in_scotland/ (Accessed: 6 October 2016).

 

September 23, 2016
by Georgina Brown
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Learning Log: The Environment

Theme: The Environment

Key Learning:

After the input on the environment, I have became much more aware of how important it is. I have always been somewhat aware that the environment is an important issue that we need to address more, but this input has helped to put into perspective that we can not continue to rely on fossil fuels to sustain us. It is important to find other, more environmentally friendly ways of sustaining ourselves before we damage the world beyond repair.

Previously, when I thought of the environment I thought of nature, and of mountains and greenery. I now understand that it encompasses so much more than that-that everywhere around us-towns and cities-are also part of the environment.

When previously thinking of the impact cities can have on the environment, I always assumed they were all negative and that it was the people who lived rurally that were acting in favour of the environment. However, after reading the EEA Extract on Urban Environment, I have learned that cities also have positive connotations. While factors such as over-crowding and social inequality are still rife in cities, ‘the proximity of people, businesses and services provides opportunities to build a more resource-efficient Europe’. As people in cities live closer to everything, they often consume less energy than people who live rurally.

Impact on my views/ lifestyle/ practice:

I’ve always spent a lot of time outdoors and have never been bothered with the cold or poor weather stopping me from doing something. To get the chance to have classes outside and to physically interact with the environment rather than sit inside and imagine it has helped to change my views regarding the way topics on the environment should be taught.

In terms of my lifestyle, as I live in a fairly rural town, I will try to decrease my carbon footprint by walking more instead of just driving out of ease.

In practise within a classroom, the outdoor classes have made an immense difference to the way I would want to teach topics regarding the environment. It would be a topic I would enjoy teaching and would aim to make it as interactive as possible.

September 23, 2016
by Georgina Brown
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Urban Development- Study Task

I live in Girvan, a small town on the South West coast of Scotland. Girvan has a population of approximately 6,600 people.

Physical Characteristics

Most houses are built either detached, semi-detached or terraced. There are flats above the shops on the ‘Main Street’ and 5 blocks of flats about 4 or 5 storeys high. As the population is not dense, there is no major need for high blocks of flats. There is a street of shops, but increasingly more and more of these are shutting down, leading this part of town to look rundown.

There is a large park in the centre of the town, with a football pitch, rugby pitch, play park and a community garden. The park is situated right next to Girvan Academy, meaning in good weather the pupils can take PE outdoors and make use of the park to play sports such as rounders or football.

As well as this, all surrounding the town there are plenty of hills and greenery. On a nice day, many people enjoy walking up the nearby Byne Hill which makes for a fun day out and there is a beautiful view of the town and Ailsa Craig.

Girvan is situated on the coast, and has a beautiful beach that stretches the entire length of the town. Ailsa Craig is clearly visible and boat trips are offered from the harbour to visit Ailsa Craig.

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Girvan Harbour

Transport

Most people travel within the town by either car or on foot, as it does not take long to walk from one side of the town to the other.

There is a bus service which connects Girvan to the relatively nearby larger towns of Ayr and Stranraer, and all the towns and villages in between. It runs quite frequently, making it easy for people who don’t have access to a car able to travel with ease between these towns and villages.
Girvan also has a train station and trains run to Stranraer, Ayr and Kilmarnock as a relatively frequent pace. This is another way of allowing people to travel from one area of the county to another.

The problem with Girvan being so small is that there are not many opportunities for jobs or things to do nearby. For example, I work in a restaurant in a village nearby called Maidens-which means I have a 10 minute drive to work. At my work, almost everyone lives in either Maybole or Girvan and drives to takes a bus to work. This means that there are more emissions given off in order for people to travel to their work, than there would be if it was in a city setting-where there are plenty more job opportunities in a much denser area.

Community Spaces

Girvan has three primary schools- Girvan Primary, Sacred Heart and Invergarven. Many pupils who attend these schools go on to Girvan Academy-although some go on to Queen Margaret Academy in Ayr.

There is a local library and community centre that both hold events frequently for people in the community to attend.

There are two community gardens in Girvan that are both beautiful in the summer when the flowers are all in bloom.

Industry and Work

There are lots of factories outside of Girvan, and this is where many of the locals work.

The biggest company and employer of locals is William Grant & Sons, making the area famous for Hendricks Gin and Grants Scotch whisky. The company offers a number of apprenticeships which helps to boost the economy and also helps a number of young people get jobs.

Another major company, Nestle, have a factory in Grangestone Industrial Estate, just outside of Girvan. This has created many jobs for the locals and continues to do so.

The Alginate used to employ lots of Girvan locals, but in 2009 is was bought over and most of the production was moved to Haugesund, Norway. It was a devastating blow as it affected the lives of lots of locals. Despite this, many people still have jobs in the factory here, but it is a substantially smaller number.

As there are a number of farms surrounding Girvan, jobs can be found involving agriculture.

Recreation Spaces

Girvan itself does not have many recreation spaces. There is a theatre in Girvan Academy, which also hosts a number of different events-for example, the local Musical Society puts on performances every year there. Girvan used to have a swimming pool, but it was closed down in 2009 due to safety concerns. There is a currently construction on a new building for a pool/leisure centre, due to open in Spring 2017.

There are also tennis courts, a golf club and clubs for children such as karate and dancing.

Peri-Urban

As Girvan is a rural town, there is a lot of farmland surrounding the town.

Population Density

Using the Neighbourhood Statistics page, I found out there are 92 people per sq km in South Ayrshire, meaning my area is not dense.

Air Quality

Scottish Air Quality page shows that South Ayrshire has an air quality of index 1.

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