Unit B2 - Problems in the Local Environment


Unit B2


Look around you and see what problems you can identify in your own local environment.


Think about the water, for instance. Is there enough of it all the time?
Is there less water now than there used to be, especially in dry periods?
Is it always fresh, or does it sometimes get salty?
Is it clean and pure, or do people (particularly small children) sometimes get sick if they drink it?
Where does it come from, and how might it get dirty through contact with people or animals?
Are there other kinds of pollution that might get into the water?


The soil plants grow in is a basic resource on which we depend for much of our food. Do you have enough land to grow your food?
Does the soil "wear out" quickly so that you have to move your garden frequently while you let the soil "rest"?
How long do you have to wait before you can go back and garden in the same place?
Does the soil sometimes wash away in heavy rains?
Where does it go?
Do you do things to make your own soil or to make it better?
Is the soil as good now as it was when you were a child and your parents planted gardens? Do you think the soil will be as good for your children as it has been for you?


Is there still some forest around your community, or was it cut down long ago?
How far do you have to go to get wood for burning or building?
Do you still see the birds of the forest, or are they far away or gone altogether?
Can you still find the plants used as traditional medicines?
How much has this changed since the time of your parents or grandparents?
What does this mean for your children?


Most people who live near a river, a lake or the sea go fishing for some of their food. Are there coral reefs, a lagoon or mangroves or other important fishing spots near your village?
Is fishing important to you?
Is it easy to get enough fish to feed your family?
Have modern techniques made it easier to catch fish?
Has it become harder to find fish to catch?
Is there a problem of over-fishing in your area?
Do people fish with dynamite or poisons?
Have fishing areas been damaged by development, construction or pollution?
Is there a danger of being poisoned by fish (ciguatera), and is this problem getting worse?
Do you know as much about the fish as your parents or grandparents?


Think about your community or village. What was it like before the Europeans came?
Are there many traditional houses left, or are they mostly made of new materials like corrugated iron or cement?
Is a new house as comfortable in the hot sun as a traditional house?
Is it as good to sleep in?
Is it as safe in a cyclone or wind storm?

How clean is your community?
Do you see bottles and cans lying around?
Are there old abandoned cars or other junk?
Are there many flies or rats?
Where do people go to relieve themselves?
Is it easy to bathe or to wash the children?
Do you sometimes have lots of sickness (epidemics)?
Do you often have intestinal problems (diarrhoea) or runny stools?
Can you think of other signs that your community has environmental problems?

If your area is subject to cyclones, hurricanes or typhoons, what would happen to your community if it were hit by a cyclone?
Do you remember stories of what happened during famous storms in the past?
Are there other histories of natural disasters in your community (earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions)?
What would happen today if a similar disaster occurred again?
Are there new dangers to people and the environment from things that modern development has brought?
Are large quantities of things that can burn or explode stored near where people live?
What poisons or toxic chemicals are now used in your area?
Could they create a danger through accident or misuse?

Instructions for trainers in the use of this unit

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Last updated 14 November 2006