Transformation of Biosphere: Damage to Soils and Fresh Waters
It's not surprising that the larger the world's population grows, the more fresh water we consume. But what is surprising is just how much of this precious commodity we've depleted in recent years.
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This five-page presentation, available online as a printable PDF, shows the human consumption of water over time.
- It begins with an overview that explains how the world's growing population has led to the increased depletion of topsoil and freshwater.
- It then has four maps, covering a 200-year span (1680, 1800, 1950, 1980), that show water consumption throughout the world, with a breakdown by continent.
- The maps make it clear how exponentially large the withdrawal of our water supply has been in recent years—a 250 percent increase in 1980 from 1950.
Less than 1 period
Supplement a study of biodiversity or ecology with an activity drawn from this online presentation.
- After explaining the difference between finite and infinite resources, ask students which one they think water is.
- Send them to the online presentation, or distribute printed copies of it for them to review.
- Have students write a one-page reaction to the presentation, focusing on what they learned about our dwindling water supply.
- As a follow-up project, have them create a plan for conserving water at home and at school.