In this course, students are introduced to a range of concepts and ideas that will help them to understand the complex relationships that exist between humans and the environment. In this article, we will be discussing the two topics that were covered in the first term of this course.
The first topic that was covered in Year 11 Environmental Systems and Societies is the Foundations of Environmental Systems and Societies. The unit statement for this topic is that “societal and individual environmental value systems (EVSs) are shaped by cultural, societal, historical and economic influences.” This topic is crucial as it helps students to understand how their value systems and beliefs about the environment are shaped by the world around them. Through this topic, students are asked to examine their own EVS and to consider the different influences that have shaped it. This is an important exercise as it helps students to understand that their values are not just a reflection of their personal beliefs but are also influenced by the broader social, cultural, and economic context in which they live.
The second topic covered in Year 11 Environmental Systems and Societies is Ecosystems and Ecology. The unit statement for this topic is that “ecosystems are influenced by biotic and abiotic factors and when these systems are in equilibrium they provide all living organisms with their needs.” This topic is important as it helps students to understand the fundamental principles that underpin ecology and the relationships between organisms and their environment. Through this topic, students learn about the different types of ecosystems and the factors that influence their functioning. They also learn about the importance of maintaining the equilibrium of these ecosystems to ensure that they can continue to provide the resources that living organisms need.
One of the key projects that the students in Year 11 Environmental Systems and Societies focused on was the use of seaweed as a solution to methane pollution due to cattle. The students learned that adding Asparagopsis, a red seaweed, to cattle feed can reduce methane production from cattle by up to 95%. This project helped students to understand the importance of finding sustainable solutions to environmental problems and the role that technology and innovation can play in achieving this.