Have you wondered what real air taste like? Well…it’s not what you breath everyday. We breath air pollution, such as smoke, soot, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, dust etc. Air pollution is a health risk, and something that I’ve tried to changed in a new Humanities project called “The People and the Environment”. This project helped me learn more about the environment around us, including how we act towards it. To make this happen I created a letter that was address to someone that could make an environmental change. The content that can help me in the future is the different competencies that I learnt throughout all the learning in this project. With these skills I would be able to recognize the role of context and perspectives in text, use strategies to analyze text and to recognize how texts use literary device to enhance the meaning. Another main concept that happens in a project is a driving question. The driving question for this project is: “How do people and the environment effect one another?”. Throughout this project’s path I gained enough knowledge to answer this question. As, any other project that I’ve done in the past I complete many milestones and stepping stone to answer this driving question.
Firstly, I did many stepping stones to complete a very important milestone called “Letter Plan Conferences”. The stepping stone that I feel best got me ready for this project is “Baseline Writing”. This stepping stone was a one page essay that demonstrated my thoughts about how people act towards towards the environment. The prompt, which was supposed to be answered throughout the essay, was: “In your opinion, are more people today protectors of nature or destroyers of nature?”. My first thoughts was easily, that people are destructive towards nature, because we rely on the resources we receive from it. I went more in depth with this response in the full multi-paragraph response.
I also think this stepping stone helped prepare me for the some of the upcoming learning points to success, such as the other multi paragraph essay. This stepping stone also helped set me up for success throughout the next milestone because I started to understand the problems the environment faces and why we need to change them. Overall I think answer the prompt helped me understand what the rest of the project would be about.
In addition to that steppingstone I started the milestone called “Letter Plan Conference”. This milestone was about creating, explaining and giving evidence about a certain environmental problem that our community faces. This milestone was very important because it was the foundation of the whole project. To create this milestone I selected a environmental topic that needs to be address. The topic I chose was “Frequent Industrial emissions result in British Columbia’s air pollution”. Once I selected my topic I researched a lot about it, as well as finding evidence to support my research. I then recorded all of this information onto a document, then I presented it to my teacher, who gave me feedback on what to use throughout the rest of the project.
When I received my feedback I decided to narrow my topic to one industry, oil and gas. When I did this I had to notice that I would have to do more research to have enough information to include within my letter.
Furthermore, throughout the project I did a milestone called “Common-lit activities”. Common-lit is a learning platform that includes reading comprehension. The different stories were assigned were… “Hey—come on out”, “Lee Sherman”, “Quiet town”, “the song of the turtles”, and “the sea also rises”. After a story was read there would be an multiple choice question or a quick writing question, to answer about a certain paragraph. After we completed that reading comprehension assignment we were then able to move onto writing activities. These writing activities were to help me improve on different writing skills such as using strategies to analyze text and to use evidence to support claims. In my opinion these common-lit activities really helped me throughout this project because I was able to gain knowledge about different writing techniques
Once I learnt about different writing techniques, we were suddenly tasked with writing a poem. This poem was to be written outside, in the sunny weather, and also to be done in around 30 minutes. The topic of this poem could be about anything, but I wanted it to relate to this project. Due to this thought I decided that I should make it about the opinion that we are destructive towards nature. This than lead me to make a poem from the perspective of nature. In my opinion I feel that the main purpose of this stepping stone was recognizing the role of context and perspectives in text. I strongly developed the use of this skill because when I wrote the poem I channeled my mind to think of what other perspectives that would really convey the message that I wanted to share.
When I moved further down the project path I started the making of my letter. My letter was the final product of this project. The information in the letter was supposed to present an environmental issue and give reasoning behind why it’s important, as well as giving a call to action (a way to fix the problem). My topic was about the frequent oil and gas industries emissions that result in air pollution (the information was basically all found in my research document, from the ‘Letter Plan Conference’). The process of making the letter toke quite along time, because there were many drafts that went into the create of a letter that presented my environmental issue with meaning. The formatting of my letter needed to included an introduction, supporting paragraph (with evidence), and a conclusion that contained my call to action.
My first letter draft is definitely not the best representation of my letter because I didn’t get feedback on it yet. The information throughout my first draft of my letter was correct, but it didn’t flow very well and it lacked in a purpose for reason. An example of what I mean is that I didn’t fully give supporting data to enhance what I was saying (I realized this from the future feedback that I was about to be given). Besides the work that needed to be done I still did include the correct facts and layout.
Once I completed my 1st draft of my letter I completed a protocol called the “Charette Protocol”. The way this work is that me and my critique partner, Declan, presented our letter, asked clarifying question, then received feedback. Declan gave me helpful information, such as the fact that I used to much of the same vocabulary. With this new feedback I was able to update my letter.
After that round of feedback I got my teacher’s feedback, as well as more from my peers. I was told that I could change some statements to be more specific to my audience, George Heyman, and make the letter flow better. After all of the feedback and drafts, I finally completed my letter. I think my final letter clearly showed how oil and gas industries in British Columbia have a big impact on air pollution. In addition, throughout my letter I recognized and understood how I could use literary texts to enhance the message (which is a curricular competency that I accomplish within my learning).
Once my letter was completed I moved onto a milestone called “Common-lit Connections”. Before I could do this milestone I did an underling stepping stone called “Common-lit Connections Outline”. The point of the ‘outline’ was to show help me sort my information that would help me create a multi paragraph writing assignment. The multi paragraph was supposed to be about answering the question prompt “how do the themes and text in this unit support the ideas and themes discussed in your letter? Choose at least one text to support your response.”. The story/text I chose to connect my letter to was “Hey—come on out”. The reason I chose ‘Hey—come on out’ to connect to my letter is because they have the same theme: “Once we change and consume the environment around us, our health and livelihood will be at risk.”. Throughout my multi paragraph outline I stated bullet points about how I could show the supporting evidence about why this theme was relevant.
When I completed the outline I was prepared for the 60 minute in class writing. The way I complete the multi paragraph was by taking some of my bullet points and transferring them into sentences. These sentences were then put into a proper layout and then I wrote, which was easier than I thought it would because I filled out the outline.
Overall, this project has opened my eyes to the environment around me. I have learnt many useful English competencies, such as to recognize the role of context and perspectives in text, use strategies to analyze text and to recognize how texts use literary device to enhance the meaning. These competencies will continue to help me improve my learning. I think this was an important project to learn because I noticed that there are problems in the world that need to be fixed and a younger generation does have a voice that can make changes. With all of the knowledge I’ve gained I’m able to answer the Driving Question: “How do people and the environment effect one another?”. People and the environment effect each other in positive and negative ways. For instance, people rely on the resources from the environment to continue their livelihoods. Yet, the environment gets destroyed with these actions. So overall, people and the environment effect one another by a cycle of destruction, which happens when humankind takes resources, alters them which lead to, well…more destruction. This is why humankind needs go move into a society that positively interacts with the environment. This is the gateway to reduce the environmental problems that exist in the world.
Within this project I’ve tried to make my environmental change. Now tell me…what environmental issue would you want to change?
Image credit: Canva