Cover Image
close this bookPopulation and the Environment (FAO)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAims/objectives
View the documentBasic concepts
View the documentActivity no. 1 - The hen that laid golden eggs
View the documentActivity no. 2 - Phrases that should never be said
View the documentActivity no. 3 - Caring for our environment: a necessity for now and the future
View the documentActivity no. 4 - Building a solar heater/cooker

Activity no. 2 - Phrases that should never be said

Phrases that should never be said

Activity in game form to get participants to identify and contest misleading statements about the environment and population.



· The group leader asks for a volunteer. He or she moves far enough away from the group so that they cannot hear the discussion.

· Another group member picks out one of the "phrases that should never be said" (copied onto individual slips of paper by the group leader from the list on pages 25 and 26).

· The participant (or the group leader if the participant cannot read) reads the phrase out loud.

· The leader and the group discuss the phrase and whether or not they agree with it.

· The volunteer who left returns and asks the group, "What is the phrase?"

· The group members take turns giving clues such as, "I won't say it, but I can tell you I don't agree because..." For example, if the phrase were "The forests will last forever," the partner's response might be, "I won't say it but I can tell you I don't agree because we already have to walk much further for fuelwood today than we did five years ago."

· From the clues given, the volunteer tries to guess the secret phrase (or its general meaning).

· When the volunteer finally guesses the phrase, he or she is applauded by the rest of the group.

· The game continues with a new volunteer.

Note: The group leader should try to ensure that all members participate as volunteers and in providing clues.


So that group members will be able to:

· Clear up misunderstandings about the environment and natural resources.

· Understand that population growth increases pressure on our natural resources.

· Understand that everyone has a role to play in conserving and managing natural resources.



· The "phrases that should never be said" on the following pages (or other ones the leader may wish to add) copied down onto individual strips of paper in advance by the group leader.

· Desire to reflect, think and guess.

· Cooperation between group members.

Some background information for the group leader

What needs to be done to ensure that: our environment, and especially our natural resources, will be able to meet our needs and those of our children?

There are two basic things that need to be done to ensure that our environment will be able to provide I for our children and their children, etc.

1) Protecting and managing natural resources

In terms of land use, this means making intelligent decisions about which land we use for farming, for grazing, for forests, etc.

With water, we will need to use every single drop as if our lives depend on it - because they do. This may mean building local dams or tanks to collect rain water or run-off. It certainly means becoming more efficient in the way we use water for our family needs and for our crops. Perhaps most importantly, it means making sure that we don't contaminate or pollute the water supplies we have.

Protecting our forests means only cutting trees which will not lead to soil erosion, not cutting trees on steep slopes, not cutting all the trees in one area, and planting new trees to replace those that we use. It means introducing improved stoves that use wood or charcoal more efficiently.

The important thing to remember is that each one of us has a responsibility to care for and protect the environment.

2) Reducing the population growth rate

No matter how careful we are with our environment, however, it still can only provide for a certain number of people on a sustained basis. And based on the way our population is increasing, we are going to exceed the limit. This means that we must have fewer children than our parents did. Otherwise, we will make it impossible for our children and their children to have healthy, happy lives.

Some "phrases that should never be said"

Everything on this Earth was put here for man to use as he pleases.

It doesn't matter how we use our natural resources. There will always be enough for all of us.

It's the Government's job to protect the environment.

Pollution is only a problem in the towns and cities. The rural areas are still pure.

Scientists will be able to solve all our ecological problems.

The Earth can support any number of people.

It's O.K. to cut down all the trees for fuel. Soon we will be using other kinds of energy and then the trees will be useless.