Contains the full lesson along with a supporting toolkit, including teachers’ notes.
Human intelligence allowed the development of civilisations. Knowledge grew and people developed an ability to exploit the environment in a way denied to other species. Economies developed according to a linear model where resources were obtained, products were manufactured and were ultimately disposed of. The supply of resources seemed limitless while the human population was small.
Today we face potential shortages of food, water, fuel, timber and critical materials. Historical events have been driven by drought, famine and climate events, and continue to be. Our current wasteful use of the limited available resources cannot be sustained.
Travelling to Mars
In recent years there has been much publicity about a proposed manned mission to Mars. It would be a one-way trip, mainly because it would be virtually impossible to bring along a second rocket large enough to make the return journey.
The outward journey would take several years during which the astronauts would need food, water and oxygen. The only realistic way the crew could get these essentials would be to recycle them. They would need to grow the necessary food and recycle all waste. With only a limited amount of materials they could not afford to waste anything.
The Earth is a somewhat larger spaceship. It travels around the Sun at a speed of almost 30 kilometres per second! (You can easily work this out.) The supply of resources such as food, water, fuel and minerals is not limitless. We are already running out of certain materials and fossil fuels and as a result there is a growing realisation that we need to use the available resources more efficiently and sustainably.