Ecology Connections

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Can our science help us share our planet?

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Complete the Ecological Footprint Quiz (you can feel free to ask family for information and use estimates) and then share your results and your thoughts to the footprint post of our fishbowl page.
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Visit "if it were my home" to compare demographic data between the USA and other countries.

logo_gapfinder.gifVisit Gapminder to ask your own comparison questions and look for strong correlations.


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Harvesting Wheat

This first story is optional. It explains how competition for food resources will impact the geopolitical landscape in the next decade. The following quote from the story sets the context for the story we will discuss and work with:
"We estimate that today there are probably close to three billion people in the world who are trying to move up the food chain, consuming more grain-intensive livestock products: meat, milk and eggs.
And we can see what that means if we simply compare the United States and India. In India, annual grain consumption per person is about 400 pounds a year or roughly a pound a day. If you have only a pound a day, you can't convert much of that into animal protein because you have to consume almost all of that to meet your basic nutritional and energy needs.
But in the United States, we consume about 1,600 pounds of grain per person per year, the better part of a ton. But we don't consume much of that directly. The great bulk of it is consumed indirectly, in meat and milk and eggs, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, all the animal protein products that we consume.
So we're now competing with other countries in a way that has never happened before for middle-class food like meat and eggs and milk. And this is coinciding with a time when there's less grain being produced because of climate change, over-pumping of irrigation wells resulting in water shortages, and diversion of grain to bio-diesel."
-NPR Fresh Air



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You could feed over 10 people for a year with the grain required to feed a cow to produce this much meat.

Listen to this story (here or download to your mp3 player). Write down a list of "Big Ideas" while you listen (important/interesting concepts). Bring this list to class.