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The Bigger Picture

Used to show how our choices as consumers (and therefore the initial choices of designers and producers) can impact on the lives of other people now and in the future. It should also help students to see how choices have economic and social impacts.

When to use the activity
When you are trying to help students understand that their decisions have implications for others.

Who is the  activity for?
This activity is suitable for any size group. However, with very small groups, ask students to take it in turns to read out different statements until all have been covered. It is  probably better for use at A2 level where students have greater understanding of issues, but could be used as an introductory activity for AS as well.

Sustainability issues considered
Teachers can choose statements to bring out different aspects of sustainability, though the statements included are mostly related to environmental issues.

Assessment Criteria
As with all introductory activities, this is most relevant to AS – F1 and 2; A2 – F1, 2 and 3.

The Activity and hints on how to use it
• Have a series of statements prepared which illustrate the impact on the planet of current lifestyles. These are put in envelopes and distributed.

• When asked, each participant reads out the statement and makes an immediate response to it.

• Discuss why we need to consider sustainability issues in D&T. Ensure that a link is made between issues such as climate change, deforestation, overuse of resources and our decisions as designers/consumers.

The Bigger Picture - Statements

• About 1000 million people in the world (approximately one in five) don’t get enough food each day to be able to lead productive lives.

• More than 1 in 10 people on our planet cannot access the critical minimum diet necessary to stay healthy and maintain body weight.

• 25,000 people die each day from using dirty water.

• The people of Europe consume three times their share of the world’s resources compared with an equal share for everyone.

• Recycling 1 kg of aluminium saves 8 kg of bauxite, 4 kg of chemical products and 14 kw of electricity.

• Only 11per cent of our rubbish is recycled in the UK. Switzerland, Holland and Germany recycle half their waste, so why can't we?

• In 1999 we bought 654 million batteries. The current rate for recycling consumer rechargeables is just 5 per cent and virtually no consumer disposable batteries are recycled. Most batteries in the UK end up in landfill sites where heavy metals may leak from them and pollute the environment as the outer coating corrodes.

• It is estimated that an average of ten tonnes of resources are used to manufacture every tonne of product that we buy.

• The average person in the UK throws out their body weight in rubbish every three months. Most of this could be reprocessed but instead it is sent to incinerators or landfill.

• Half of all UK fruit and vegetables contain pesticide residues. Removing pesticides from UK drinking water costs us £120m a year.

• Friends of the Earth calculate that to live within our environmental limits and allow a fair distribution of the earth’s resources, by 2050 the UK needs to consume 73 per cent less timber, 15 per cent less water and 50-88 per cent less virgin minerals than we do now.

• Over six million electrical items are thrown away every year in the UK. It is estimated that over half of them are still working or could easily be repaired.

• People buy and consume what producers make. Producers make what designers design. Designers are therefore the most important decision makers in determining how we use the earth’s scarce resources.