Module 6: Stuff
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This slide show draws attention to some of the wider global impacts of the stuff that we buy.
What to do:
Use the images and text in the slide show, and the information here to discuss with pupils.
Explain that this week they will be studying the slice of footprint that represents the ‘stuff’ that we buy. Before looking at the pie chart of ‘stuff’ emissions, ask pupils why they think this portion of the footprint graph is so big. Draw on what they have learned in previous lessons, and in the warm up activity. It is only fairly recently that people have been taking notice of the large impact of the goods that we buy. This is because a lot of these goods are manufactured overseas, so it is very difficult to calculate their emissions. It has been much easier to calculate emissions from directly within the UK.
Of course there are other things that have been hidden, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. Some countries do not have strict environmental laws for example. When Britain was a leading industrial country, there were cases of streams and rivers flowing a different colour every day from textile industry dye run-off. Now it is tempting to think that we have cleaned up our act. In fact of course, we have simply exported our most polluting industries. For example, 40-60,000 people a year die from exposure to pesticides in the cotton industry.
It is also tempting to think we have cleaned up our act in terms of child labour and slavery as this is no longer tolerated under British law. Once again however, we have often simply exported these practices. Pupils will possibly be familiar with recent news coverage of companies like Primark and Gap.
Global Washing Line
The History of Stuff