Looking back on history is an important way for us to understand how decisions effect critical factors which in turn shape our communities.
Observe the historic data in Shifting Skyline and consider the following questions.

1) What’s your favourite city and why?

2) What do you like about living in Vancouver?

3) Rank your three favourite neighbourhoods in Vancouver and explain what makes each special.

4) Pick 5 of the following characteristics that you think make a city nicest to live in and compare these to those of other people. How do they match-up? (Stability, Healthcare, Culture, Environment, Education and Infrastructure, Tax Rate, Crime Rate Cost of Living etc.)

5) Do you think Vancouver is “green” enough?

6) If sustainability means “modifying human activity so that we are able to meet present and future needs, while preserving biodiversity and natural ecosystems”do you think Vancouver is a sustainable city?

Here are some activities to try with groups of people.

1) Debating Sustainability

Brief Description
Students Read More

Looking back on history is an important way for us to understand how decisions effect critical factors which in turn shape our communities.
Observe the historic data in Shifting Skyline and consider the following questions.

1) What’s your favourite city and why?

2) What do you like about living in Vancouver?

3) Rank your three favourite neighbourhoods in Vancouver and explain what makes each special.

4) Pick 5 of the following characteristics that you think make a city nicest to live in and compare these to those of other people. How do they match-up? (Stability, Healthcare, Culture, Environment, Education and Infrastructure, Tax Rate, Crime Rate Cost of Living etc.)

5) Do you think Vancouver is “green” enough?

6) If sustainability means “modifying human activity so that we are able to meet present and future needs, while preserving biodiversity and natural ecosystems”do you think Vancouver is a sustainable city?

Here are some activities to try with groups of people.

1) Debating Sustainability

Brief Description
Students assume the roles of various stakeholders in a debate. Debate topics included.

What to do:
Establish a proposition as the debating point that people or teams will either be for or against. An example is Sustainability should be society’s number one priority.
You could run a traditional debate, assigning people to particular position either in favour of or against the proposition, or you could assign people particular identities as stakeholders and then let them decide which side of the debate they should be on. Some designated “an entrepreneur” could, for example, either support the proposition if they have an exciting new “green” invention or they could oppose it if they were worried about taxes being imposed on them.

The debate begins with the debater or team in favour of this idea making a positive case about this position, saying things like “we need to stop treating the world like a garbage dump”, “at this rate, we will run out of sitka spruce in 24 years” and “we need a clean world to pass on to our grandchildren.” (6 minutes)

The debate continues with other side criticizing the points just made. They may say things like “responsible use of resources and treatment of waste” isn’t ‘treating the world like a garbage dump.’” (3 minutes)

This same side switches gears and makes a positive case about why sustainability shouldn’t be our number one priority. They may claim, for example, “It’s too expensive to be totally green” or “It might ruin the economy.” (7 minutes)

The side in favour of sustainability then criticizes the points made by those against it. They might claim “entrepreneurs are already getting rich with green solutions.” (3 minutes)

This side then shifts gears and continues by rebutting anything said previously. (4 minutes)

The side against the proposition then gets to rebut. (6 minutes)

The final chapter is the side in favour delivering the final rebuttal. (3 minutes)

A debrief follows wherein a “winner” is determined.



2) Thinking about the Sustainable Use of Water

Water is an essential part of life and critical to industrial and commercial activity. Even though Vancouver is a rainy city and is surrounded by oceans and inlets, water can be rationed at certain times because we have a limited storage capacity and a large, thirsty population. Sustainability specialists who work for the city are even devoted to tasks like determining how best to deal with the rainwater that falls on streets.

According to the Greater Vancouver Regional District, conventional street designs collect rainwater on the pavement and drain it into storm sewers, instead of being allowed to be absorbed into the ground naturally. This can reduce the amount of water available to nearby streams and vegetation.
A green solution to this problem is to allow the rain water to drain into a specifically designed boulevard areas around the streets. The rain water is absorbed into the ground and supports plantings of native grasses, shrubs and trees. Specially designed storm sewers collect the extra rain water from unusually heavy rainfalls.


Here are some activities that will help you reflect on the value of water to the citizens of Vancouver.


Part 1) What do we use water for?
Before you read any further, list all the things you do in a day that require water. Estimate the percentage of the total amount used for each requirement. Draw a circle and make a pie chart that shows the percentage of the total for each use.

The average person in Vancouver uses water like this:
toilets: 30%
clothes washer: 23%
showers: 14%
faucets: 14%
leaks: 10%
baths: 6%
dishwasher: 2%
other: 1%


Part 2) How much water do we use?
On an average day, approximately 580 L of water per day is used by each person at home and at work (this amount includes all residential, industrial, commercial, institutional, and agricultural sectors). The whole region uses an average of one billion litres per day, which would half-fill BC Place stadium.

Visit the Greater Vancouver Regional District’s website to learn more about water use in Vancouver.
http://www.gvrd.bc.ca/water/index.htm


Part 3) How much water is this?

How much water do you think one billion litres is? How does this relate to the volume of a lake? Let’s figure it out.

Alouette Lake is just east of Vancouver, in Golden Ears Park. Let’s determine how much water it holds. Its area is 1644 hectares and its average depth is 71 metres. Multiply these two together to get the total volume in cubic metres. Then multiply this by 1000 to get the total number of litres. It’s going to be a big number! Divide it by one billion litres per day to determine how many days it would take to use up the whole lake.



Part 4) How much water does everyone in the world use?

If people used as much water as we in Vancouver do, how long would it take to use up Alouette Lake?

To find out, multiply 580 litres per day by the world’s population, which you can get at http://www.worldometers.info/

Divide the volume of Alouette Lake by the number you get for total amount of water used. Does what you learned surprise you?

Earth is called the blue planet because the vast amount of water on it is visible from space. The amount of water on Earth stays approximately the same although it cycles between different forms. Although around 71% of the globe surface is covered with water,
97% is salt water, leaving 3% fresh water. Unfortunately, 2% of this is stored in ice so only 1% of all of Earth’s water is accessible to us.

The amount of water humans use is astonishing, especially considering how little water there is available. We need to be much more careful with it.


Part 5) What happens when I flush?

What do you think happens when you flush? Where does everything go? What happens when it gets there? Try drawing a schematic diagram on some chart paper that shows the waste treatment process, as you understand it.


Then go to www.gvrd.bc.ca/sewerage/pdf/WhenIFlushBrochure.pdf

Is there anything you didn’t know about the treatment process that you left off your diagram? Is there anything on your diagram that you think should be a part of Vancouver’s waste treatment strategy?


Part 6) Lost Waterways

The development of land not only includes the removal of trees and shrubs, it also involves the filling in and paving over of streams. This loss of habitat is unfortunate for insects, birds and mammals but it’s disastrous for fish and amphibians.


Brewery Creek is one of dozens of “lost streams” in Vancouver. Once it was part of 700 kilometres of fish-bearing waterways and now it’s buried under landfill and pavement. Our human desire for easy movement from one place to another has prevented trout and salmon from doing the same thing. The creek may live again however, as groups of citizens lobby to “daylight” it. The revival will only be successful once people believe that these lost streams can be used to bring back fish, beautify the landscape, link bike paths and parkways and create green space which is natural, rather than artificial.


What percentage of streams in the Lower Mainland do you think have been lost in the last 100 years? Follow the links below to find out.

http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/229864.pdf
http://www-heb.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/maps/loststrm/lostm1_e.htm
http://www.city.vancouver.bc.ca/commsvcs/cityplans/stillcreek/lostcreeks.htm


Additional Links:

Here are links to even more information on sustainability:

http://www.city.vancouver.bc.ca/Greaterdot_wa/index.cfm

search “stories and video” for “sustainability”

http://www.worldbank.org/depweb/english/modules/index.html



© 2007, Science World British Columbia. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

The following questions are designed to generate reflection and classroom discussion about the interdependent relationship between environmental, social and economic factors that may contribute to the health and sustainability of a community.

Students will learn that critical analysis and research and discussion of historic data and current trends are powerful tools to development of thoughtfully engaged citizens.


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