Transnational Pollution: Why Are You Dumping on Me?
This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project
The purpose of this lesson is to familiarize students with the different types of transnational pollution, and to give them an opportunity to role-play in a hypothetical case of transnational pollution involving the Danube River. The flow of pollutants across national boundaries has confirmed that pollution does not recognize geographical boundaries. Clearly, environmental degradation in one country can spread to another, reconfirming that now more than ever, the health of the global environment is the responsibility of all nations, whether vast or small, rich or poor. The major goal of this activity is to make students cognizant that an incident in one nation may well have serious environmental consequences for other nations. Additionally, it will also give students an opportunity to play complex roles that are meaningful and consequential to global concerns. The lesson plan and accompanying handout are highly detailed with a clearly described scenario and characters and detailed activities and questions for the students.
- Become aware that an incident in one nation may well have serious environmental consequences for other nations.
- Realize that a diversity of interests are involved in transnational issues.
- Practice, develop, and defend a position in a debate.
- Learn to evaluate the rhetorical techniques of other students.
Context for Use
Teaching Notes and Tips
The lesson is geared for 9-12th graders, but is applicable to university students, especially non-majors. More characters could comfortably be added to the debate if the instructor does not wish to break up the class. Additionally, if the exercise is not just an introduction, each student could be asked to provide a position paper for his or her character.
One possible adaptation of this lesson for higher-level courses involves adding real data for the students to work with. Eurodelta has water-quality data for a number of rivers, including the Danube, and sediment data for their deltas. The International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River contains databases, currently with reports on emissions into the Danube.