In my PLP Humanities 9 class, we have just finished a project called “People and The Environment.” It focused on how people effected the environment, both positively and negatively. We have studied and read different stories and articles about what climate change is doing and how it is impacting people through out the project. With this new knowledge, we had to write a letter to someone in the community who has the power to make a change based on an issue we are interested in. This could be someone from the school board, the district, the government etc. But I decided to write to Megan Curren, a Councillor at the District of North Vancouver who is interested in helping our local environment, just like me. I decided to write to her about the salmon population and kelp forest decline in BC, more specifically Deep Cove, hoping to raise awareness and funds for projects and research. With this letter, I hoped to answer this driving question:
“How do people and the environment affect each other?”
COMMON LIT READINGS AND HIGHLIGHTS
A huge part of this project was reading and responding to stories and articles that had an overall theme of climate change, it’s relationship with people, and the consequences of it in real life. The story that I think had the biggest impact on me and my learning is “The Sea also Rises.” It was the most compelling because it shows many different perspective of people who are being affected by climate change. Seeing this issue from different perspectives is very important because it really does affect everybody.
The Commonlit readings really helped me with my letter as well. A story called “Quiet Town” was one that I really related to my letter because it has a common theme of how climate change is an issue right now, not later. It showed me that climate change not only affects living things like us and the salmon that I researched, but also big parts of our world and every day life like whole oceans. This shows how urgent the topic is and how easily it could affect many people. Thinking about how, living in a place surrounded by water, by 2050 oceans could rise to chest level and cover whole cities.
Speaking more to different perspectives and climate change, one part of that that I found really interesting was how poverty and different social classes are affected by climate change and how these different groups of people affect climate change. Our world isn’t full of people who can afford things like electric cars and solar power systems, there are still billions of people that live in developing countries and communities that don’t have the chance or don’t have the opportunity to make a difference which is why it is important for me and people like me to try and make a difference with everything we can. The texts that we read in Commonlit taught us about climate change but also about the different perspectives involved which is one of the main competencies for this project. Commonlit and the short stories have taught me a lot about that competency and helped me develop it and use it in the letter.
The first step in writing my letter was doing a bit of research. This came in the form of reading the news, looking into the Pacific Salmon Foundation and their beliefs, as well as Commonlit stories. This stage helped me develop my knowledge of how to analyze text. By reading the stories on Commonlit, I learned how to find theme, mood, perspectives, as well as different parts of a paragraph which are all important things to look at when analyzing a text. I took this knowledge from Commonlit and used it to analyze my own texts for my letter, like different articles and pages on the PSF website. With this skill, I was able to take pieces of what I analyzed and re-write them in my letter. This research and analysis stage also helped me recognize literary devices in text as I mentioned before with things like theme, mood, etc. It helped decide on my own theme for my letter being:
Climate change is affecting us now, not later
First letter draft⬇️
My final letter⬇️
Next came the writing. I’m not going to go too much into detail about how I actually wrote the letter as that it pretty straight forward, but a large and very important part of writing is the critique and revise stage. I ended up writing seven different drafts! We got teachers to critique, one-on-one peer critique, and critique from the older grades. Instead of just getting the teachers opinion and my opinion, it was interesting to have the opinion of multiple other students who have done this project or projects like this. I think it really improved my letter.
Finally, once we were all done writing our letters, it was time to mail them. We took a trip down to Deep Cove to find a mail box to send our letters to our selected audience.
Us mailing our letters⬇️
Overall I really like this project and I think I learned a lot of new skills based on the curricular competencies and the driving question. “How do people and the environment affect each other?” I was always interested in the environment and having a role in saving the climate but I never knew what to do. This project gave me the chance to make my voice heard and to make a difference. It’s very clear based on my own research just how people and the environment affect each other. Salmon are a huge part of our culture here in Canada and a large food source for a lot of nature so it affects us that the population is decreasing. But, this decrease is an affect of our actions so it goes both ways. This is just a small problem that I researched about how people affect their environment and how the environment affects us but there are many other examples.
Class going to mail our letters⬇️
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