1. Hold a brainstorming session about how we are connected to the oceans using a large mind map on the board to illustrate. Alternatively, divide students into groups to create individual mind maps to be shared with the class in a discussion about why the ocean is important to both the natural world and to humans. (See Pre-viewing Prompt #3.) Make the link between the health of the oceans and the future of all living things.
- Access mind map templates here
2. Working in pairs or small groups, students research one of the key issues from the documentary: ocean acidiﬁcation, deforestation, climate change, overﬁshing. Include the current status of the problem and what is being done to address it. List actions that students can take to make a difference. Present ﬁndings in a FAQ format, news story or slide show to share with other groups.
3. Scientists have done their job, now its time for the politicians to do theirs. A young boy in the ﬁlm says, “They know exactly the solutions to all these problems, but they’re not doing anything.” Ask students who “they” are. Discuss what the main reasons for lack of action may be. Consider actions the class might take in response. (Creating a public awareness campaign, writing letters to political leaders, circulating a petition…).
If we tell people around the world what is going on with our future I think they will be willing to do something.
Watch the video on the campaign to ban shark ﬁnning by the Grade Six class in the ﬁlm. The class was motivated by the ﬁlm Sharkwater to begin a campaign to save sharks. Incredibly, this group of young students managed to have a law enacted to ofﬁcially ban shark ﬁnning in their island-community.Divide the class into groups. Students conduct an internet search to identify other youth initiatives that have made a difference. Each group produces a proﬁle of a student leader or youth-led organization working to change the world. Some examples:
- Plant-for-the-Planet, founded in Germany by Felix Finkbeiner, who is featured in Revolution. Watch a short video about how he began a global movement at the age of nine.
- Ryan’s Well, founded in Ottawa by Ryan Hreljac, who began raising money to bring fresh water to a village in Uganda at the age of six. The organization has now funded wells in 16 countries.
- Free the Children, founded in Toronto by Craig Kielburger, who rallied his school friends to help put an end to child labour when he was 11 years old. His work has led to the international Me to We movement and We Day
5. Choose one of these quotes from the ﬁlm as the basis for a class debate.
- If people knew the truth, they’d do something.
- What I do today can change the course of events and that’s true for everybody.
If everyone lived like we do in the developed western world, we’d need six Earths to sustain life.
6. Use this statement from the ﬁlm to generate class discussion about the difference between wants and needs. Challenge students to make a record of every item they use in the course of a school day. Ask them to indicate which are needs (required for survival) and which are wants (nice to have) by assigning the letters N or W to each item on the list. Tally the results and share ﬁndings with the class. Does the activity result in a shift in attitude or behaviour?
- The Story of Stuff website offers videos and resource materials
- Needs versus Wants lesson and outdoor activity from the David Suzuki Foundation
We can make the pledge that we can change our lifestyles…
7. Students make a list of eco-actions they can take as individuals. Do the same for actions for the class as a whole. Discuss, debate, and decide on the top three (or ﬁve or ten) actions to commit to. Divide the class into teams and assign roles for devising an effective communications plan for a schoolwide campaign to get all students on side. Remember to make it as “green” as possible.
- Free images from the Revolution photo gallery to create posters/ﬂyers
- Calculate your carbon footprint
8. Hold a class outdoors in a park or greenspace. Spending time close to nature can lead to a better understanding of the connections among all living things.
Arrange students into groups and assign each a section of the area around the school to explore and report on to the rest of the class. Presentations should include: a hand-drawn map, a list of all life forms within the area, a summary of the ways each interacts with or has an impact on other life forms, including humans. Follow with a discussion on what happens when there is a disturbance in the ecosystem — use of pesticides, introduction of invasive species, lack of water, too much water, extreme weather conditions caused by rapid climate change… How many of these factors are due to human activity? What can be done to minimize impact?
- What You Can Do, a resource on actions to help your ecosystem from the Canadian Wildlife Federation
9. The ﬁlm urges viewers, “Unleash your genius and invent solutions!” Identify an eco-related challenge/problem in the class or school (recycling boxes used improperly, high energy consumption, idling buses at the curb…) and come up with creative solutions. Share ideas, vote on the best and make it happen. Some examples to kick-start thinking:
10. Have students use one or both of the following statements from the ﬁlm as a starting point for a short story, poem or journal entry about how everyday lives might be different 10, 20, or 30 years from now.
- Scientists estimate as many as 100 to 1000 species are wiped off the face of the Earth each day.
- To be young and aware today is to know that a bright green future is possible.