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Resources - Can’t live without them!

Sara P. Chavarria



Prep Time: You will need time to photocopy a reading (enough for a class set that can be re-used with each class).
Time: 2 days
Materials: Copies of: “Resource wars” Ignite Around the World
(Make one class set that can be re-used.)

 


Abstract
This is meant to be a review of concepts and ideas previously explored in the first quarter. Students are reminded of what resources are, the types of resources which exist, and what role they can potentially have in international affairs. Emphasized is the idea that resource control is one of the dominant reasons countries and empires invade each other, defend, or take over other principalities, regions, or countries. This is a note-taking activity so students will be expected to record their ideas and class notes.

Student Learning Objectives
Students will identify different types of resources, their role in influencing wars in other countries, and will then explain the relationship to their own country.

Education Standards
Era 9: The 20th century since 1945: Promises and Paradoxes
Standard 3: Major Global trends since World War II.

Standards in Historical Thinking
2B – Identify the central Question(s) the historical narrative addresses
4A – Formulate Historical questions
5A – Identify issues and problems from the past.


Resource Website

http://www.realitymacedonia.org.mk/web/news_page.asp?nid=1309

Related and Resource Websites
Resource Wars: Do rich natural resources = poor human rights?
http://www.nowarzone.org/images/club/High%20School%20Package%20-%201%20-%20September%20-%20Resource%20Wars.pdf


 



 

 

 


Activity

Day 1 and 2
1. Tell students: Write a list of 10 things you use/consume everyday.

2. Ask students: What could you live without? Why? Would you want to?
Get into groups of 3 and categorize your combined answers in order of importance to answer these questions. (5 – 7 minutes)

3. After student conferences: The teacher gives students information to help them evaluate their answer to the second question in the Engagement section of this lesson by helping them define ‘resource’. Pose the question: What is a resource? Create a definition with students:

4. Definition:

5. Follow up with this question: What do we need for basic survival?

6. Have students share their group answers and list them on an overhead or on the board.

7. The teacher will now help them categorize their answers into three types of resources. Most answers will probably fall under the first one. Start by explaining and writing down the three types of resources necessary for human survival:
A natural resources necessary for human survival
B economic resources that humans have attached a value to (sometimes referred to as “exotic” resources)
C post-industrial resources that value information which we’ve attached a value to and the means to obtain it.


8. Follow by giving examples of these resources: USE their answers!

Examples;

* Survival Resources: water, food, trees, other plants for cloth-making, oil, gas, coal, stone = all found on land. Human energy to work.

* Economic/Exotic Resources: metals (ex: gold and silver), gems (ex: diamonds), uranium, = all found on land

* Post-industrial resources: information, computer networks, advanced technologies in communications, science, and military

9. End with the following statement: Survival is dependant upon resource access!

10. Expand on the topic by giving each student a copy of the “Resource wars” article to read and digest. (5 minutes quiet reading)

11. Have students read aloud as a class reading. When done pose the following questions:

Q = What is the dominant message of the reading?

A= Too many natural resources are the cause of wars in the 21st century.

Q = What does the following quote in the article mean?: “Nature’s bounty attracts groups that may claim they are driven by grievance, but [which] initiate violence not to overthrow a government but to gain and maintain control of lucrative resources.”

A = That greed is the real reason wars are fought, but hidden behind other agendas like religion, politics, etc? (This explains why often times government overthrows do not improve conditions in the country for the inhabitants).

12. End article discussion and transition to:

Remember Imperialism? It was greed that defined imperialism: imperial nations tried to control less developed nations in order to control their resources. This led to the quest for land control and therefore resources. But, oftentimes, war did not occur. That was because advanced technology (ships and other transportation vehicles, machines, weapons, medicine, etc.) aided some of these imperial nations to take over a country easily. (Optional: a quick imperialism review.)

Today, the quest for resource control has not changed but we have a complicated economic system of exchange and production that is meant to ensure that all humans have what is necessary to survive on this planet. This is not happening though – WHY?

We need basic resources for human survival, resources that include human labor. To be a successful nation that survives you must ensure that you have the right resources to live off of but also resources for bartering economically to ensure economic stability. As a result resource control becomes a political tool that can aide or hurt a country’s well being. Resource control also becomes a tool of the international market where we are more concerned with getting things cheaply at the cost of human labor rights violations.

13. Take the following two examples cited in the reading.

A. Guerillas using the threat of sabotage to extort hundreds of millions of dollars from oil companies prospecting in Columbia.
B. The Congo’s continuing civil war subsisting on the proceeds of elephant tusks and coltan, a vital mineral in the manufacture of mobile phones.

-In their notes have students choose one and address the following question and statement:

a.Tell how this war is directly related to their own everyday actions?

b.I don’t need to know what is going on elsewhere in the world because it does not affect me! Defend your answer.

14. Closure
Transition to concept of War (Lesson 2)

Write on an overhead: I don’t need to know what is going on elsewhere in the world because it does not affect me! Let’s explore by learning more about wars, and the two global wars of the 20th century: World War I and World War II.

"Resource wars" Ignite Around the World

Reality Macedonia on-line magazine
http://www.realitymacedonia.org.mk/web/news_page.asp?nid=1309
By Fred Pearce

A favorite prediction of environmentalism has bitten the dust - too many natural resources, rather than too few, are the cause of an increasing numbers of wars in the 21st century.

Many greens had predicted that the new century would see a rash of wars in countries where natural resources such as timber, water, minerals and fertile soils are running out. But far from it, says the 2002 State of the World report from the prestigious Washington-based think-tank, the Worldwatch Institute.

In fact, says the report's co-author Michael Renner, there are "numerous places in the developing world where abundant natural resources help fuel conflicts." More than a quarter of current conflicts are either being fought over, or are funded by, some lucrative natural resource. Examples cited by the Worldwatch Institute include:

  • Diamond mines in Sierra Leone and Angola making the two African nations ripe for plunder by warlords
  • Profits from sapphires, rubies and timber arming the Khmer Rouge in their interminable jungle war in Cambodia
  • Guerillas using the threat of sabotage to extort hundreds of millions of dollars from oil companies prospecting in Colombia
  • Opium funding 20 years of war in Afghanistan
  • The Congo's continuing civil war subsisting on the proceeds of elephant tusks and coltan, a vital mineral in the manufacture of mobile phones

With the end of the cold war, superpowers no longer fund civil wars for their own geopolitical ends, says Renner. Their place has been taken by the market - in the form of the plunder and sale of natural resources.

" Nature's bounty attracts groups that may claim they are driven by grievance, but [which] initiate violence not to overthrow a government but to gain and maintain control of lucrative resources," says Renner. Such resource wars are being fought because of "greed rather than need."

According to David Keen at the London School of Economics: "We tend to regard conflict as simply a breakdown in a particular system, rather than as the emergence of another, alternative system of profit and power," i.e. a "conflict economy" with the looting of natural resources at its heart.

Renner warns that warlords in such conflicts have no interest in winning the war, because its continuance is more profitable. And he says too many Western governments are happy to turn a blind eye as their own corporations reap the benefits in cheap no-questions-asked raw materials.
Renner argues the issue of resource conflicts should be added to the agenda of the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg in August 2002.

Embedded Assessment

PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:


an
NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award

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