Month: December 2012

Holiday Homework!

There is no formal homework for any of my classes this holiday break.

Instead, you should watch one documentary film related to an issue we have studied in class this semester,  and be ready to discuss it during the first class of January.

Here are some suggestions, but you can rent a DVD or browse sites like if you want to find something that really interests you.

IB SL & HL students:

Life and Debt


Welcome to Lagos. Watch at least one full episode.

Life and Debt


China from the Inside

How the Banks Won


Economics & Scarcity :

The Inside Job

The Oil Factor


Manufactured Landscapes

Flow: For Love of Water

Coasts, Climate & Ecosystems

Deep sea

The Death of Oceans

The Cove

The 11th Hour

Earth: The Climate Wars

The End of the Line

Conflict: Grade 10 InS only

Syria, Songs of Defiance (violence)

Occupation 101: Voices of the silent Majority (violence)

Tears of Gaza (violence)

Agricultural Systems:

The Future of Food

How to Save the World?

What in the World are they Spraying?

The World According to Monsanto

Fast Food, Fat Profits


The Long Walk of Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela: Free at Last


Have a wonderful holiday! Get lots or rest and have fun!!!!!


IGCSE 10, Take-home Unit test, Agricultural Systems

Here is the take-home test.

Answer all questions by hand and  hand them in to me no later than Wednesday morning at 11 o’clock.

IB HL: Labor Flows

Apartheid, Primary Sources Project

InS9, Apartheid Source work project

Due dates:

9B: Tuesday, December 11

9D: Wednesday, December 12

Water scarcity presentation


You will have both periods on Tuesday to work on your presentations.

We will present all groups on Wednesday, Dec 12.

Food: Sustainable Agriculture

As we have seen, increasing agricultural yields (outputs) has negative impacts on the environment. The factors influencing environmental degradation are:

  • Energy use
  • Pesticides
  • Herbicides
  • Irrigation
  • Soil erosion
  • Human cost

What is sustainability?

What is sustainable agriculture? 

Sustainable agriculture is the production of food, fiber, or other plant or animal products using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare. This form of agriculture enables us to produce healthful food without compromising future generations’ ability to do the same. Source: Sustainable table definition, Wikipedia

Methods of Sustainable Agriculture:

  • Maintaining soil health
  • Nutrient Cycling
  • Sustainable eating
  • Farm welfare

What are Energy Efficiency Ratios?

Energy Use Efficiency Indicator for Agriculture

Comparing Energy Use in Conventional and Organic Farms 

Farm Energy Alternatives

Activity 1

Read 269-271 of Nagle and Cooke

Activity 2

Create a google doc with:

  • Important vocabulary on the reading.
  • To do: a, b on p.271

Activity 3

Evaluate EER as a measure of sustainable agriculture

Activity 4

  • Define Food Miles
  • Examine the concept of food mile as a measure of environmental impact

The Future of Food from Deborah Koons Garcia on Vimeo.

Commercial Farming Case Study

Now that we have our subsistance farming case study (Zapotec Indians of Mexico) it is time for you to research your own commercial farming case study. What is commercial farming? What is agribusiness?

Objective: Describe the influence of natural and human inputs on the processes and outputs of  a large-scale system of commercial farming. such as plantation agriculture or extensive commercial cereal farming or extensive livestock production, etc., to illustrate a large-scale system of commercial farming.

Each case study should include:

  • natural inputs (relief, climate and soil)
  • human inputs (economic, social, political).

Describe each input’s influences on the scale of production

Describe the methods of organization and production.

Have a map and a graphic organizer describing the inputs, processes and outputs of your case study.

Presentation: Poster, 5 minute presentation or video.

You have today’s double period. Due Monday.

Food Aid, Free Trade or Fair trade?

Today, we will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of food aid.

Period 2: Instead of food aid, many economists and NGOs have pointed to trade as the best way to alleviate poverty and hunger in LEDCs. The problem is that trade is not always regulated and does not always benefit all parties involved equally.

Each of you will read one of the following articles and evaluate its content:


OXFAM’s Rigged Rules of Global Trade

Aid isn’t the answer: Africa must be allowed to trade its way out of Poverty

Is trade, not aid, the answer for Africa?

Tough times as a cocoa trader

Present your findings to the rest of the class.

Subsistance Farming, IGCSE Style Questions

1: What is meant by subsistence farming? [2]

2: Describe the processes of the small scale subsistence farming system practices in the Oaxaca region of Mexico [4]

3: Name two food crops and one other output of the framing system of the Zapotec [3]

4: Suggest reasons why some farmers abandon the gardens after growing crops for 2 or 3 years [2]

5: What is meant by slash and burn? [2]

Due Thursday, 6 December

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