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Putting the US in sUStainability

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, Eastern Ontario

Cities, Ecosystems, and Sustainability
The word SUSTAINABILITY is used a lot these days in conjunction with being "GREEN" and "ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY" . But what does it all mean? And what do we have to do with it?

Let's take a look at how "SUSTAINABILITY" is being defined when it comes to Canadian cities. That's right - cities. Imagine that - a city is an ecosystem too! And you are an important part of the "animal life"!

But first we need to find out...
Who's the Greenest of Them All?
The Green City Smackdown puts 12 cities in the hot seat to compare who’s greenest.

1. In a computer classroom, write down the 12 featured cities on the blackboard. Every student should put their name beside a city of their choice. Make sure there is at least one name beside each city.

2. Tournament style, the teacher will pair up cities to fight against each other. Students will run the Smackdown animation either singly or in pairs.

3. The losers in the tournament will be crossed out on the blackboard and the remaining cities paired up to compete against each other until the greenest city wins the tournament.

Who's the greenest of them all?
Green City Smackdown
Science World
© 2007, Science World British Columbia. All Rights Reserved.
Play the Flash File

Learning Object Collection: Developing Story
Learning Object: Green City Smackdown
To Think About:
In the Green City Smackdown, there are 7 factors included in the contest. Write them down in a notebook. How is the city closest to you doing? Are you surprised at the factors that are included? Explain why or why not.
Putting the US in sUStainability
So now we know the greenest big city in Canada. But what does a green city have to do with being human?

Read the definition of sustainability on the “Reflect and Share” Learning Object.
Reflect & Share
Here are a number of activities to get you thinking about sustainability.
View the Learning Object

Learning Object Collection: Developing Story
To Think About:
Why do you think sustainability is not just about the quality of the environment, but also the quality of life for the people living there?
Getting Personal
1. In small groups, use the 7 factors from Green City Smackdown as a starting point to brainstorm ways to improve the sustainability of your own city or town.

2. Post your ideas on the aGOra class blog. Ask your classmates to post their comments on your ideas. Read the ideas of your classmates on the blog and comment on them.

3. As a group, based on your own thoughts and the response of your classmates, choose your best idea to improve sustainability where you live. Describe it in a paragraph that is suitable to be included in a letter to your municipal government.

Learning Objectives

Grade 7,10 Ecosystems, Grade 9 Geography (ON)

Students will:
-recognize that ecosystems are comprised of biotic and abiotic elements
-understand that humans are an integral part of ecosystems
-understand the meaning of sustainability
-understand that humans have impact, and some control of the ecosystems in which they live
-understand that local decisions have an impact, and make connections between local policy and their own lives, as well as the state of the environment
-recognize that individual responsibilities to engage in democratic process can influence quality of life and the environment
-make connections between quality of life and health of the environment
-assess the impacts of human technology and activity on their environment
-assess the prospects for Canadians of sustainable living and some of the challenges faced in achieving sustainability