Are people more impacted by the environment or is the environment more impacted by people? What are our most imperative environmental issues? What can we do to prevent climate change? 

Are we protectors or destroyers?

Hello there again, and welcome to another blog post! 

As I mentioned in my last scimatics post, I’m in grade 9, and I have a couple of new teachers. This time we got to meet our other Humanities teacher; Mr Harris (again, not to be confused with the new scimatics teacher who is also named Mr. Harris.)

(Yes, I won’t hesitate to use this gif again.)

Anyways, today, I’m going to be blogging about our latest Humanities project; People and the Environment! 

For this project, we were able to initiate some difficult conversations about our environment.

We each researched about a specific issue, and wrote a letter. This letter was sent to a person of government (or some other place of influence), with hopes of persuading them to create change.

To do this, we had to learn more about the relationship between people and the environment.

As this project was completed individually, it challenged me to be self reliant. I also learned how to properly analyze and use evidence to support my claims.

Anyways, I’m really happy with my letter, and I can’t wait to share my process with you!

Would you rather; know you did something wrong and never get caught or tell the truth and take the consequences?

I know I’d live forever with my guilt… in my 11 million dollar beach house “donated” by the Bellagio, the Mirage, and the MGM Grand Casinos…

Well, Lee Sherman, a man from Louisiana, thought otherwise when he took accountability for the contamination of his local bayou.

To build our writing and reading skills, we analyzed stories from Commonlit. We learned about our connection to the environment and how to cite evidence in our letter.

Lee Sherman and the Toxic Louisiana Bayou was the first story we analyzed. It tells the real tale of a man’s experience with a company that neglected it’s employees and the environment.

As a class, we read and completed short assignments for many Commonlit stories, such as; “Quiet Town,” “The Sea Also Rises,” and (my personal favourite) “He-y Come on Ou-t.” Each had a theme that revolved around the importance of the environment and our connections to it.

We even completed some Commonlit quizzes to improve our vocabulary. Specifically words that we might use in our letter.

Although I struggled with Commonlit at times (mostly the multiple choice questions), I believe I’ve grown quite a lot from it.

As stated in the “Learning Expectations,” I learned how to analyze these texts, and recognize how they can use literary devices (like symbolism, metaphors, and flashbacks) to construct meaning.

We also realized that these stories all have themes… which I will be explaining more later.

In order to write the letter, I needed a topic.

Originally, I was going to research into the issue of noise pollution… especially illegal night racing (which I have an experience with, since they zoom by my house and wake me up in the middle of the night.)

However, I eventually decided on “the illegal shipping of Canadian garbage to developing countries.” Although this is a “Federal” concern, I tried to make this issue more relevant on a provincial level.

The next step is actually researching the topic.

I found this topic from a “Marketplace” video that I watched awhile back. You can watch it here

Anyways, I decided to dig a little deeper, and read more into the issue. I found myself in a sea of environmental problems; it was almost like a rabbit hole. In the end, I ended up with a ton of resources. With this information, I strung together a rough outline of my letter.

You can check out my research and outline here!

With our research and outline intact, we were ready for a letter plan conference with the teachers. Unfortunately, I was sick on the day, so I was unable to do it “in person.” Instead, I got some feedback through Showbie, and I was ready to start writing!

I had multiple drafts before I reached my final version. I also received many useful pieces of feedback.

Here’s a slideshow of this process:

  • Draft 1

I learned to reflect, assess, and refine texts to improve. Within this process, we got older grades critique our work. I got feedback from a couple of students named Isaden and Zoe (thank you!)

Here’s their review:

Based on this critique, I also decided my next steps.

As stated in the “Learning Expectations”, I had to identify my authentic audience and a target goal. In my letter, I tried to keep it positive, and focus on what we can do to improve as a community. Also, I attempted to keep the goals realistic and based on the research I completed earlier.

Finally, we had to connect the activities from Commonlit to our letter in a multi-paragraph response. To do this, we had to discover the themes that were shown through both these assignments.

I found that the story “He-y Come On Ou-t” shared a common theme with my letter: “Communities must consider the impact of their actions and how they may affect the future.”

The most challenging part of this was that we were only given 60 minutes (in class) to complete it.

…Luckily we were able to prepare beforehand.

If you’ve known me for awhile, then you’d learn that I always strive to be prepared. I also really dislike time limits.

In the end, I managed to create a good outline, and I was fine.

Although I’m very proud of my final product, this multi-paragraph response was very challenging for me. I also learned a lot about the mystical world of outlining.

Anyways, here’s my outline and final response:

During this project, we had to opportunity to have live guest speakers come in to talk to us. We were fortunate to meet Dennis Thomas and Megan Curren, who are both trying to initiate environmental protection in their communities. It was really cool to hear real activists speak!

At the end of the project, we were able to send our letters! We took a nice walk trip down to the cove, and embraced the beautiful environment around us.

I took many pictures, and they made me realize how lucky I am to live in such a nice place.

Here are some of my favourites:

It was very satisfying putting my letter into the mail slot.

(I’m the one with the pineapple umbrella!)

How do people and the environment affect each other?

I believe that we both have great impacts on each other. We rely on the environment for everything. Without it, we wouldn’t even exist. Humanity also impacts the environment. When we relay on wasteful and non-sustainable ways, we damage our beautiful world.

If we make it easier, in our society, to become a protector, then there’d be far less destruction.

In conclusion, if we realize how people and the environment affect each other, and take initiative to fix our issues; we can save our planet.

As in the cheesy words of my Commonlit poem…

“Humanity and nature held hands, We learned to walk together, I listened to your earliest demands, And we grew alongside each other.

I watched you turn away and leave me, I care for you and you hurt me so? You poison my land, my skies, and my sea, Have you chosen to become my foe?

My seas will warm and my ice will crumble, I am your home, but for how much longer? How much must I roar and rumble, Before you see how much you squander?

I am your shelter and your protection, Balance is what we must regain, I hope you will notice the destruction, And learn to care again.

Find ways you can restore, Forget about things you can obtain, If you and I hold hands once more, Together we’ll learn to walk again.”

Anyways, this project made me realize there’s still hope, and we can all make a difference. My voice matters, and I can share it.

Again, thank you so much for reading, and I can’t wait for the next adventure!

Now it’s time to sleep…