Activity Image
Sustainability

Thinking about water and climate change

What’s the relationship between climate change and the health of water?

  • Grades 11, 12
  • Thought starter
  • 1 hour
  • New

Overview

Students are challenged to describe the relationship between climate change and the health of water. By examining various sources, including details about Blue Ecology, students develop a diagram that accurately represents the relationships between the health of water and climate change.

What you'll need

  • "Impacts of climate change" briefing sheet, one per group
  • "What’s the relationship?" worksheet, one per student
  • "Blue Ecology and Climate Change" article, one per group
  • Video: Climate Change: The Water Paradigm
  • Digital projector and screen

Instructions

  1. Begin by organizing your students into pairs and provide each student with a copy of the "What’s the relationship?" worksheet. Invite your students to make an initial decision: which diagram most accurately reflects the relationship between climate change and the health of water? Encourage your students to note their thinking on their worksheet.
  2. Encourage pairs to share their decisions and thinking with another pair, then with the class. 
  3. Display or provide each group with the "Impacts of climate change" briefing sheet. Ask groups to carefully examine the examples and to suggest what the images reveal about the relationship between climate change and the health of water. Invite groups to share their ideas with the class. 
  4. Watch the video, Climate Change: The Water Paradigm with your students. As they watch the video, ask your students to look for details that help describe the relationship between about the relationship between climate change and the health of water. Your students might suggest details such as:
    • A decrease in precipitation leads to drought, which then decreases groundwater.
    • Warmer temperatures cause glaciers to melt faster which increases liquid water stored in rivers, lakes and oceans leading to flooding.
    • Drought causes more vegetation to die which means that less water would be transpiring back into the atmosphere.
  5. Guide your students’ attention to the “Next thoughts” section of their worksheets and ask them to make a decision: given what they’ve just learned, which diagram most accurately represents the relationships between the health of water and climate change? Remind your students to use details from the images and the video to support their decisions.
  6. Provide each group with a copy of the “Blue Ecology and Climate Change” article. Briefly explain that the article, written by an Indigenous scholar, describes a water-first approach to solving issues of climate change. Encourage students to look for any details that help describe the relationship between climate change and the health of water.
  7. Guide your students’ attention to the “Next thoughts” section of their worksheets and ask them to make a decision: given what they’ve just learned about Indigenous perspectives on water and Blue Ecology, which diagram most accurately represents the relationships between the health of water and climate change? Remind your students to use details from the article to support their decisions.
  8. Invite groups to share their decisions and thinking with the class. As they share, lead a discussion about Blue Ecology by posing questions such as:
    • What might be the most impactful results of using a water-first approach to addressing climate change?
    •  What are the most important differences between a water-first approach and most Western scientific approaches?
  9. To conclude this activity, ask students to create a diagram or illustration that accurately represents the relationships between the health of water and climate change. As students share their creations with the class, invite them to suggest how a water-first approach might guide how we relate with water.

Additional information

Throughout the activity consider how well students:

  • identify water-first approaches to climate change from the readings
  • contribute to group discussions
  • use evidence to support

Extensions

  • Encourage students to design a social media campaign featuring their revised diagrams to inspire the public to take water-focused actions.  
  • Use the information in this activity to develop the criteria for a water-first approach to climate change. This criteria could then be used to assess how effectively actions intended to address climate change reflect a water-first approach.
  • Ask students to decide how effectively the UN Water Policy Brief – Climate Change and Water – Key Messages reflect a water-first approach.

This activity requires that students have a working knowledge of the hydrologic cycle and of global water distribution.

The full text of Michael Blackstock’s Blue Ecology article has been included with this activity. 

To learn more about Indigenous Peoples’ perspectives of water please visit the Assembly of First Nations.


How this activity was developed

These materials were created with guidance from Indigenous educators, subject matter experts and thought leaders to help draw upon important teachings, learnings, and Indigenous perspectives.  

For centuries, the traditional western view of water has often been focused on its value as a resource. Indigenous people have a unique relationship with the waters of British Columbia. Since time immemorial, water has played a sacred role and is seen as a living entity. How water is used must be carefully considered with a view towards not just the immediate need and impact, but the needs and perspectives of generations to follow.

We are dedicated to deep listening and respectfully highlighting Indigenous ways of knowing in the materials we provide B.C. educators. If you have any feedback for us on these activities, or suggestions for others, please email schools@bchydro.com. We would love to hear from you.


About the artist

The design of the worksheets in this activity was a collaborative effort with Indigenous artist Kelli Clifton. Kelli Clifton was born and raised in Prince Rupert, British Columbia and is Gitga’at from the community of Hartley Bay. Clifton is interested in using her artwork as a form of storytelling—especially in relation to her Ts’msyen language (Sm’algyax), her coastal upbringing and her experiences as an Indigenous woman.  Clifton currently lives in her home community where she continues to practice her art and teaches Sm’algyax at a local high school. Learn more about Clifton's art on her Facebook Page.


BC Hydro’s commitment to reconciliation 

BC Hydro exists to serve British Columbians by providing clean, reliable and affordable electricity. We recognize that maintaining and developing the system has impacts on the lives and interests of Indigenous People. To support our move towards true and lasting reconciliation, BC Hydro will acknowledge past wrongs, listen to Indigenous perspectives and seek shared understanding with First Nations communities and governments. 

Click here to learn more about our Statement of Indigenous Principles.

Grade 11 Earth Science  

Big Idea

  • The transfer of energy through the atmosphere creates weather and this transfer is affected by climate change.

Content

  • Evidence of climate change 
  • First Peoples knowledge of climate change and interconnectedness as related to environmental systems

Curricular competencies

Questioning and predicting
  • Demonstrate a sustained intellectual curiosity about a scientific topic or problem of personal, local, or global interest
  • Processing and analyzing data and information
  • Apply First Peoples perspectives and knowledge, other ways of knowing, and local knowledge as sources of information 
Evaluating
  • Demonstrate an awareness of assumptions, question information given, and identify bias in their own work and in primary and secondary sources
  • Consider social, ethical and environmental implications of the finding from their own and others’ investigations
Applying and innovating
  • Contribute to care for self, others, community, and world through individual or collaborative approaches
Communicating
  • Communicate scientific ideas and information, and perhaps a suggested course of action, for a specific purpose and audience, constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions, and representations
  • Express and reflect on a variety of experiences, perspectives, and worldviews through place


Grade 11 Environmental Science 

Big Idea

  • Changing ecosystems are maintained by natural processes.
  • Human practices affect the sustainability of ecosystems.

Content

  • First Peoples knowledge and other traditional ecological knowledge in sustaining biodiversity
  • Human actions and their impact on ecosystem integrity

Curricular competencies

Questioning and predicting
  • Demonstrate a sustained intellectual curiosity about a scientific topic or problem of personal, local, or global interest
Processing and analyzing data and information
  • Apply First Peoples perspectives and knowledge, other ways of knowing, and local knowledge as sources of information 
  • Analyze case and effect relationships
Evaluating
  • Demonstrate an awareness of assumptions, question information given, and identify bias in their own work and in primary and secondary sources
  • Consider changes in knowledge over time as tools and technologies have developed
  • Consider social, ethical and environmental implications of the finding from their own and others’ investigations
  • Critically analyze the validity of information in primary and secondary sources and evaluate the approaches used to solve problems
Applying and Innovating
  • Contribute to care for self, others, community, and world through individual or collaborative approaches
  • Contribute to finding solutions to problems at a local and/or global level through inquiry
  • Implement multiple strategies to solve problems in real-life, applied and conceptual situations
Communicating
  • Communicate scientific ideas and information, and perhaps a suggested course of action, for a specific purpose and audience, constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions, and representations
  • Express and reflect on a variety of experiences, perspectives, and worldviews through place


Grade 11 Science for Citizens 

Big Idea

  • Scientific processes and knowledge inform our decisions and impact our daily lives. 
  • Scientific understanding enables humans to respond and adapt to changes locally and globally

Content

  • Actions and decisions affecting the local and global environment, including those of First Peoples 
  • Human impact on Earth’s systems: — natural resources — effects of climate change 

Curricular competencies

Questioning and predicting
  • Demonstrate a sustained intellectual curiosity about a scientific topic or problem of personal, local, or global interest
Processing and analyzing data and information
  • Apply First Peoples perspectives and knowledge, other ways of knowing, and local knowledge as sources of information 
  • Analyze cause and effect relationships
Evaluating
  • Demonstrate an awareness of assumptions, question information given, and identify bias in their own work and in primary and secondary sources
  • Consider changes in knowledge over time as tools and technologies have developed
  • Consider social, ethical and environmental implications of the finding from their own and others’ investigations
  • Critically analyze the validity of information in primary and secondary sources and evaluate the approaches used to solve problems
Applying and Innovating
  • Contribute to care for self, others, community, and world through individual or collaborative approaches
  • Contribute to finding solutions to problems at a local and/or global level through inquiry
  • Implement multiple strategies to solve problems in real-life, applied and conceptual situations
Communicating
  • Communicate scientific ideas and information, and perhaps a suggested course of action, for a specific purpose and audience, constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions, and representations
  • Express and reflect on a variety of experiences, perspectives, and worldviews through place


Grade 12 Environmental Sciences

Big Idea

  • Human activities cause changes in the global climate system

Content

  • Changes to climate systems

Curricular competencies

Questioning and predicting
  • Demonstrate a sustained intellectual curiosity about a scientific topic or problem of personal, local, or global interest
Processing and analyzing data and information
  • Apply First Peoples perspectives and knowledge, other ways of knowing, and local knowledge as sources of information 
  • Analyze cause and effect relationships
Evaluating
  • Demonstrate an awareness of assumptions, question information given, and identify bias in their own work and in primary and secondary sources
  • Consider changes in knowledge over time as tools and technologies have developed
  • Consider social, ethical and environmental implications of the finding from their own and others’ investigations
  • Critically analyze the validity of information in primary and secondary sources and evaluate the approaches used to solve problems
Applying and Innovating
  • Contribute to care for self, others, community, and world through individual or collaborative approaches
  • Contribute to finding solutions to problems at a local and/or global level through inquiry
  • Implement multiple strategies to solve problems in real-life, applied and conceptual situations
Communicating
  • Communicate scientific ideas and information, and perhaps a suggested course of action, for a specific purpose and audience, constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions, and representations
  • Express and reflect on a variety of experiences, perspectives, and worldviews through place

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