|Environmental Education in the Schools (Peace Corps, 1993)|
|Activities, activities and more activities|
Ask your students to read and respond to this hypothetical situation:
"Those insects have to be stopped before they destroy our entire forest," Bob Wilcox, president of the Freight Lumber Co., said. "They are killing nearly all of the trees, and if we don't spray them soon with DDT our company will be without a continuing lumber supply, and that means the mill will close."
"I agree that you've got a problem," responded Chuck Davis, owner of Oldtown's largest salmon cannery. "But you can't use DDT. A few years back they used it up in New Brunswick on spruce budworm, the same bugs we've got, and it cut their annual salmon run down to about one-sixth of what it had been. If that happens here, my company would be wiped out-and so would all the jobs on the fishing boats."
"But DDT is the only pesticide that will do a quick and thorough job on those budworms," Wilcox argued. "I don't want to destroy your operation and kill all those fish, but I've got my own company, and all those trees to consider. If I don't spray I'll be ruined."
Hold a class discussion on these questions:
How well informed do Mr. Wilcox and Mr. Davis
appear to be? What can these people do to solve their problem? What are their
It is possible that Mr. Wilcox does not have the choice to use DDT, given bans on its use in recent years.
What are the reasons for bans on use of DDT and bans and restrictions on use of other pesticides?
What pesticides are currently allowed, for what reasons, and under what conditions?
What possible positive and negative effects might result from use of specific pesticides you research?
What possible positive and negative effects might result from no use, attempting no chemical treatment of the problem?
How would you resolve the dilemma outlined in this hypothetical situation? What information do you need before making your decision? On what criteria would you base your judgment? What legal constraints must be considered? What alternatives are available that have not been discussed? Which of the alternatives seem most reasonable? Given sufficient information concerning this hypothetical situation, what solution seems most appropriate?
VARIATION OR EXTENSION
After students are familiar with the situation described, divide your class into three groups. Ask the first group to advocate the use of DDT; the second to oppose its use, and the third to represent the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The first two groups should research and prepare testimony to be heard by the EPA panel. The panel will be asked to decide whether the situation warrants issuing an emergency exemption for the use of DDT, in accordance with the 1972 regulations banning the chemical.
Students preparing for the "hearing" should consider:
* The economic implications and long-range environmental impact of granting or not granting the permit.
* Alternatives or compromise solutions to the problem.
* The EPA criteria which must be met before the use exemption can be approved. (Students role-playing the EPA should research and establish these based on the most current information available.)