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Teaching and learning for sustainable development - about laundry, lavatory and underwater ecosystems
Gunnel Bergström, Gitte Jutvik, Krzysztof Kochan
This guide is directed towards teachers working in primary and secondary schools. Although the topic may primarily be identified as a subject related to the natural sciences, we actually enter the sphere of the social sciences and see language, mathematics, arts and computer science as competences and skills that enable us to communicate and relate. The economic aspect from household to international levels – is also an integral part. When using this handbook we advise you and your colleagues to plan for a longer period of study in which the focus is on improving knowledge about local waters and sustainable development - knowledge that is linked to everyday life and social responsibility.
P-STOP stands for Stop Phosphorus in Detergents! P-STOP is Education for Sustainable Development in Practice!
Good luck with your important work!
Get familiar with life under water and on the shore! Teacher and students on the Vistula Spit, Kaliningrad, Russia
Aims and pedagogical structure
Aims and pedagogical structure ........................................ 4 P-STOP steps ................................................................... 5 Eutrophication: background and facts ............................. 9 Avoid phosphates! ........................................................... 11 Waste water treatment .................................................... 13 Water hardness and detergent dosage ........................... 13 Farming and food ............................................................ 14 Catchment area ............................................................... 17 85 million people live in the Baltic Sea Basin .................... 20 What can’t be seen – doesn’t exist .................................. 21 Underwater life ................................................................ 22 In practice ...................................................................... 24
Students’ knowledge and opinions .................................. 40 Opinion poll for consumers .............................................. 41 Investigation of washing powder in shops ........................ 42 P-STOP, teachers’ report ................................................. 43
Photo and illustrations Page 2, 4, 7, 12, 14, 15, 20, 30 Gitte Jutvik Page 10, 16, 21, 24 Björn Guterstam Page 8, 9 Germund Sellgren Page 11 Martin Holmer Page 16 Helena Höglander Page 23 Sven Ängermark Layout Masonit Design Sven Ängermark
Aims and pedagogical structure
About Naturewatch Baltic P-STOP
Background The WWF Baltic Ecoregion Programme aims to conserve and, where necessary, restore the Baltic Sea to its full range of biodiversity. Its focus encompasses the entire drainage area of the Baltic Sea and promotes an integrated land, coastal and marine management that will strengthen both local and regional capacity to achieve a sustainable management of the Baltic Sea resources. WWF is developing innovative approaches together with key groups. In P-STOP teachers and students are both the target groups and the executors. The P-STOP material and associated activities were the subject of intense discussions at an international meeting held in Gdynia in the latter part of 2006. The material was piloted in more than 25 Polish schools during the academic year 2007/2008 and was then evaluated and reported on at a conference in Stockholm in June 2008. For further information or contact:
Finland: WWF Finland Russia, St. Petersburg region: Baltic Fund for Nature. Russia, Kaliningrad: Kaliningrad Centre for Environmental Education and Tourism, GUIDE Estonia: Tartu Environmental Education Centre, Estonian Fund for Nature Latvia: Children’s Environmental School, Pasaules Dabas Fonds Lithuania: Lithuanian Fund for Nature Poland: Polish Ecological Club, WWF Poland Sweden: WWF Sweden
Aims P-STOP draws attention to ordinary household activity and how this affects our underwater ecosystems. We invite teachers and students to start with classroom activities and field studies and then inform and motivate local residents to take action. Goals to be reached by July 2011
• Increased market share for P-free detergents by 50-75% • Time is set for prohibition of phosphates in washing powders in
• Teams of teachers with experience and motivation enough to
continue to expand ESD work
• All participating students have acquired sufficient knowledge and
motivation to act for P-STOP and sustainable development.
Participation in P-STOP In order to measure and follow the progress made, we would like you to complete the four forms (Appendices 1-4) included at the end of this handbook before and after your project activities and return them to the national coordinators.
Aims and pedagogical structure
The intention of P-STOP is to bring your colleagues together to plan sustainable development activities. The topics included in P-STOP plus the teaching and learning processes all contribute to global priorities as outlined in the UN Decade for “Water for Life” and “Education for Sustainable Development”. The different P-STOP steps, illustrated in the table below, include following the national educational curricula and other steering documents. Teachers in different subjects are expected to ensure that suitable learning areas will be included. As cooperation and methods may differ from place to place and country to country it’s important to create time for learning and planning both individually and together with your colleagues. Being well prepared is vital – as is being flexible and open to change. The following structure is designed to help you to plan and achieve your goals.
Planning; mainly for teachers
Topic Content and activities
Meeting 1 ”Knowledge, values and curricula” Find out more about the terms eutrophication and education for sustainable development
• • • • •
What do we know about eutrophication, marine and fresh water ecosystems, the treatment of sewage at home and at school and about detergents? Brainstorming. What values do I have as a consumer and an educator? What values and knowledge do we think the students have? Discuss and reflect on the P-STOP goals and how we might achieve them. What do we have to include? Check the curricula!
Preparation for the next meeting: Use the survey Appendix 1 to investigate the students’ existing knowledge and attitudes. Meeting 2 “Investigation and consultation”
• • • • •
Present the results of the investigation (Appendix 1) What knowledge, skills and attitudes do we want to influence? Discuss the ESD cornerstones (see page 25) What methods will be useful (see page 25-38) Elaborate on the draft work plan.
Preparation for the next meeting: Consultation and planning with students Meeting 3 ”Common and individual planning”
• • •
Present the results of the student consultation and planning sessions. Complete the work plan. Investigate the availability of material and equipment, make a list of useful contacts, check places for field work, etc.
Before Step II: Individual planning of your subject and tasks
Aims and pedagogical structure
Motivate and guide your students into the topic.
Topic Build up motivation
Content and activities
• • • • • • • • • •
Visit the river or sea shore. Go fishing, write poems, make drawings, write essays! Interview elderly people. Formulate and present the problem, see page 25-26 Opinion poll for consumers, Appendix 2. Investigation of detergents in shops, Appendix 3. Investigate your waters; ecology and water quality. Existing plans and laws in society. Facts and practice: Detergents, water quality (tap water, fresh water or sea water). Collect information from users, producers and retailers
About the current situation
Washing, detergents and the market
Topic Sustainable development Content and activities
• • • •
Economic, social and ecological aspects of washing. We stopped P! Backcasting (see page 32) Find the key groups to involve. Best practice; compare with other regions, other countries.
Ways for improvement Involve consumers and decisionmakers
Topic Public information Content and activities
• • • • • • • •
How to inform and encourage others? Production of leaflets, presentations, posters, etc. Give and get information. Find solutions. Invitations to consultations and debates? Media activities. Write articles. Arrange exhibitions. Meet consumers in shops and in the street.
Contact with retailers, producers and politicians
Disseminate facts and visions
Spread the message!
Topic Summarize, evaluate and forward your experiences
Content and activities
• • • • •
Compare: Opinion polls again. Decide on the next steps. Who would benefit from your experience? Dissemination meeting Report to your national P-STOP coordinator. Celebrate!
Aims and pedagogical structure
Advice for teaching and learning
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.
Involve the students at an early stage in the planning. Mix theoretical and practical methods, involve reality and problem solving. Use the river bank or sea shore for teaching and learning. Invite or visit key people and experts: politicians, farmers, producers, experts, environmental groups, etc. Use real and concrete examples. Inform and involve parents. Give the students practical homework. Find solutions! Invite key groups, take and give information, debate and discuss. Spread the P-STOP message! Release youthful creativity to find ways for action and change. Contact other P-STOP groups for mutual exchange. Have you reached the goals? Review, reflect and evaluate.
Aims and pedagogical structure
P-STOP in Poland An example from T. Kotarbiski School in Budzy in western central Poland: Our team consists of 9 teachers of different school subjects such as science, mathematics, art, Polish and integrated teaching. At first we established a plan of action. Every teacher organised a variety of activities and were responsible for different tasks. The students watched a presentation1 about life and eutrophication in the Baltic Sea. They observed enhanced plant growth called algal bloom. Algae block light access and cause other organisms to die. Thanks to the instructive presentation the children were able to understand that eutrophication is a huge problem. The students got involved in lots of different activities, such as carrying out experiments in supplementary lessons, hiking to a sewage treatment plant where they had an opportunity to see what kind of technology was used and how it worked and taking part in a meeting with a farmer and a consultant in which an ”expert” talked about phosphates in farming and outlined the European regulations, while the children appealed to the farmers to use organic methods of agriculture. The children also interviewed their parents to find out what they knew about detergents and what kind of detergents they used at home. A total of three hundred questionnaires were distributed to parents. Students prepared and gave presentations about the Baltic Sea, the causes of eutrophication and the effects of detergents. They also prepared a public lecture about the disadvantages and dangers of eutrophication. Before the lecture the students prepared the materials, presentations, articles and papers. Our campaign was covered by the local press and the school magazine, while the monthly newspaper, ”Budzyń”, monitored and described our actions. In addition to all this a lot of information was published on the following websites: www.kaiser.info.pl and www.tygodniknowy.pl Elżbieta Kalkowska, Anna Czerwińska
P-STOP in Sweden An example from Stockholm’s archipelago In Sweden, about 700,000 households, including summer houses, do not have any efficient sewage treatment. The islands are inhabited by both summer house residents and permanent residents. Students at four schools in the archipelago wanted to know more about the situation and arranged a common P-STOP activity. After several lessons in the classroom and at the sea shore the pupils decided to track the sewage pipes and make analyses and surveys. They interviewed key people and carried out investigations into detergent use in a number of shops. Their overall aim was to find out more about the sewage pipes and sewage treatment in the neighbourhood. A questionnaire about the use of detergents and sewage treatment was formulated. After school the pupils visited the different areas to acquire information from households – information that they later summarised and sent to the local newspaper. Phosphorus has now been prohibited in washing powder in Sweden. Who knows, might this have been the result of this very small but effective campaign?
1 Save the Baltic Sea; Presentation available at Estonian Green Movement, Environmental Protection, Club of Latvia, Ecological Club Zvejone, Polish Ecological Club, Green Federation, Friends of the Baltic, Center for Environmental Initiative, Environmental Group FRI, BirdLife Belarus, Ecohome in cooperation with Swedish Society for Nature Conservation
from land to water
— from land to water
The modern use of the word eutrophication is related to the input and effect of nutrients on aquatic systems. These nutrients are mainly nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) from farming, households and transport. This handbook concentrates on the reduction of phosphorus, due to the amount of phosphates contained in household detergents and the serious impact these have on water quality.
Natural eutrophication is very slow and can take up to thousands of years. Anthropogenic eutrophication is much faster, however. For example, a small area of water containing a lot of wastewater and fertilizers may be completely overgrown within the space of a few years. Nitrogen and phosphorus have a relatively long circulation cycle in water ecosystems. Eutrophication does not begin immediately after the inflow of wastewater. Even if we were able to stop the excessive discharge of nutrients into the water the effects of eutrophication would persist for some time. The phosphorus concentration may even increase over several decades due to slow release from buried sediments. Eutrophication of lakes and streams is not a new phenomenon, however. Even at the turn of the 20th century our waters were subject to large amounts of chemical substances from sewage outfalls and industry. Lakes and streams are particularly sensitive to emissions of phosphorous, though, since this Algae blooming in the Baltic Sea, July 2005. usually affects the growth of algae and vegetation in freshwater and coastal waters. Today water treatment plants remove much of the phosphorous from the water and industries have reduced their emissions. Despite this, emissions of phosphorous in water are still too high in many parts of the country, especially in the agricultural regions. Many of the emissions come from agriculture where, for example, field drainage systems transport nutrients into watercourses and waste is transported from households that are not connected to main sewage systems. Nutrients increase the production of certain kinds of macro algae as well as plankton algae. When the amount of plankton increases, the water becomes murky and visibility is reduced. This inhibits growth, in that algae and other plants do not get sufficient light. When the algae die they are processed by so-called decomposers. These decomposers also require oxygen, and if too much material is decomposed, the oxygen level in the water drops. If the oxygen deficiency becomes too great bottom-dwelling creatures and fish suffer. Eutrophication in Greek
The word ‘eutrophication’ has its root in two Greek words: ‘eu’ which means ‘well’ and ‘trope’ which means ’nourishment’.
Excess amounts of phosphates and other nutrients are causing the environmental problem known as eutrophication in the Baltic Sea. Eutrophication is a condition in aquatic ecosystems in which high nutrient concentrations stimulate the growth of algae, which in turn leads to an imbalanced functioning of the system, such as:
• intense algal blooms, including species that produce toxins harmful to animals and humans;
• the production of excess organic matter causing decreased water
• oxygen depletion with resulting dead zones on the sea bottom; • the death of living organisms, including fish.
Although scientists have described the situation and governments have formulated plans and guidelines for improvement, we need to follow the plans and guidelines, speed up these procedures and put words into action. In P-STOP, organisations and schools need to insist on detergents without phosphates.
Detergents are used by individual households as well as industry and the official sector. Laundry and dishwashing detergents contain a variety of compounds. One of these compounds is phosphates, defined as a salt of phosphoric acid, an ester of phosphoric acid or a chemical compound in which phosphorus is a component of the molecule. Phosphates are used in laundry and dishwashing detergents to reduce water hardness, dissolve dirt and soften the water by reducing the amount of metal ions and thereby stabilise alkalinity and to stabilise the powder grains. The most commonly used phosphate is sodium tripoliphosphate. Several alternatives to phosphates in detergents are now available on the consumer market, including zeolites and citrates. Experience has shown that transition to phosphate free detergents is possible and that manufacturing problems can be solved. Phosphorus as a natural resource is much more limited than oil on our planet. In our region phosphate is mainly imported from phosphate mines in Morocco. The mineral is sometimes contaminated with cadmium. Phosphorus should be used in a more sustainable way and not wasted. The annual consumption of detergents containing phosphates in the European Union is around 1.8 million tons. This corresponds to about 110,000 tons of phosphates, of which 90 – 95 % are used in detergents for domestic laundry and dish washing purposes. Wastewater treatment plants are designed to remove certain nutrients. Efficient plants manage to remove up to 90% of phosphates and 50% of nitrogen. However, many plants are either not technically adapted for this or are inefficient. If you live in an area without efficient wastewater treatment facilities you need to be extra careful, in that phosphates from laundry or dish-washing detergents may not be removed completely. The effects of a phosphate ban would naturally be greatest in places where cities are not connected to modern waste water treatment plants. However, in countries with well developed waste water treatment facilities many households, including summer houses and other scattered dwellings, are not always connected to such plants.
Illustrator: Martin Holmer
Sludge from wastewater treatment contains phosphorus and, in theory at least, is an excellent fertiliser. However, in many cities wastewater plants also treat water from industry, which means that the resulting sludge usually contains a mixture of toxins that makes it totally unsuitable for cultivation use. In Norway, Germany and Sweden, phosphates are either prohibited or limited in detergents. One of the P-STOP aims is to inform and strive for more countries to follow their example and legislate for a total ban of phosphates in detergents. Phosphate reduction in figures
The effect of improving sewage treatments combined with the use of P-free detergents means a reduction of 0.6 kg P per person per year (Towards a Baltic Sea Uneffected by Eutrophication, HELCOM Overview 2007). In a preliminary report, HELCOM calculates that a prohibition of phosphates in washing powders and detergents in every Baltic Sea country would reduce the number of deoxidised Baltic Sea bottoms by 14 percent and biological nitrogen fixation by 35 percent (HELCOM, MONAS 9/2006). In 2005 the total input amounted to 28,600 tonnes of phosphorus (HELCOM PLC Group 2007 and Bartnicki 2007).
Choose zeolites and citrates
There are two main alternatives to phosphates: zeolites and citrates. Zeolites are micro-porous crystalline clays containing silicon, aluminium and oxygen. Zeolites are abundant in nature and are commonly found in volcanic rock areas. The Swedish mineralogist, Axel Fredrik Cronstedt, was the first to observe how rapid heating of the natural mineral made stones dance about as the water evaporated, which in turn led to the name zeolite. Naturally occurring zeolites are rarely pure and are therefore often unsuitable for commercial applications. Synthetic zeolites have therefore been developed for use in detergents in order to fulfil the role as the active part, or ”builder”, and make them a suitable alternative to phosphates. Modern detergent producers try to replace phosphates with an ionic form of citrates or citric acid. Citrates are bio-technically produced and classified as renewable raw material. Citric acid is naturally active in cell metabolism in the so-called citric acid cycle. While citrates are the best choice for underwater life, they are more expensive than phosphates and zeolites. Adding citrates to detergents is also said to inhibit the yellowing of clothes caused by the presence of iron components in the water. Zeolites and citrates are the main alternative substances to phosphates. Other substances are also available, although these often have detrimental ecological, health or economic effects.
Some coutries have already prohibited phosphorus in detergents and some producers voluntarily avoid it.
Other substances are better
“Only minor differences were observed in overall production cost in terms of energy used and sludge produced. Additionally, zeolite was found to be non toxic to aquatic fauna and humans and produces fewer toxic waste by-products than phosphorus containing rocks.” “Zeolite was shown to be a cost effective alternative, both in terms of socio-economic and environmental impacts, to the use as a detergent builder in the EU.” EC Environment Directorate
Waste water treatment facilities in the Baltic Sea drainage basin
After use water is discharged via the sink, the lavatory or the washing machine through kilometres of pipes leading to natural watercourses with ecosystems full of animals and plants. The water does not only transport household waste but also dissolved chemical substances.
Sewage The proportion (in percent) of inhabitants connected to a proper tertiary waste water treatment1. Denmark Estonia Finland Germany Latvia Lithuania Poland Russia; St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad Sweden 81 34 80 85 33 18 34 0 86
In wastewater treatment plants phosphorus is mainly removed by chemical treatment. Sludge from the treatment process may be used as fertiliser if the incoming water is free from toxic substances and the treatment plant uses harmless chemical substances for processing.
Water hardness and dosage of detergents
We wash our clothes or the dishes to get rid of dirt. This in turn creates another kind of dirt that impacts the environment. Laundry or dishwashing detergents usually contain phosphates. When these phosphates are deposited in rivers, lakes or seas they cause eutrophication, which has an adverse effect on animals and plants and life below the surface. It is possible to use less detergent than stated on the package to achieve the same effect - particularly if the water is soft and the laundry is not very dirty. Using smaller amounts of detergent saves both money and the environment. When deciding how much detergent to use you need to account for the hardness or softness of the water. Soft water needs much less detergent. The recommended amounts are usually stated on the package. The amount of detergent also depends on how dirty the laundry is. It is worth thinking carefully about these two aspects when doing your laundry! If the water is hard it is because it contains a large amount of calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg). While these minerals are good for the body they leave hard crusty layers on pots and pans and in boilers and coffee machines. The more Ca and Mg there is, the harder the water. You often measure the hardness of water according to a German scale. The following table indicates all the different measurements:
Water hardeness Very soft water Soft Medium Hard Very hard 0 – 2.0 dH 2.1 – 4.9 dH 5.0 – 9.8 dH 9.9 – 21 dH 21 -
dH = Deutsche Härde (German Hardness)
1. Wulff (2007)
Farming and food
Agriculture produces food – although the raw materials have to go though many different stages before ending up on our dinner tables. In addition to causing eutrophication food production also results in gases and toxins that affect the climate. Informed consumers and farmers can avoid many of these unsustainable trends and processes. Modern farmers are becoming much more aware of the links between farming and ecology. Land use structure1
Country Arable land Denmark Estonia Finland Latvia Lithuania Poland Sweden 55.7 15.5 7.0 29.0 60.6 61.3 6.3 Land use (%) Forest and wooded land 12.7 51.6 74.8 48.1 32.7 29.4 74.1 Inland waters 1.7 8.0 11.0 3.8 4.2 2.7 10.7 Others 30.6 24.9 7.2 19.1 2.5 6.6 7.3
Animals grazing on natural pastures keep the landscape open and maintain biodiversity.
Small-scale advantages In the 1990:s farmers were no longer able to afford to buy fertilizer to the extent they had done so earlier. In addition, many large collective farms were either closed down or split up into smaller scale units. The change was visible and was possible to measure in terms of how many chemicals were pumped into freshwater sources and the Baltic Sea. In the 2000:s the demand for fertilizers has again increased, however. Smaller farms are again merging and increasing in size in order to feed a hungry European market in its increasing demand for meat. Meat consumption Europe is a market for intensive, highly industrialised farming products. Farming areas that have been overexploited are quickly depleted of their nutrients. This is why such areas need intensive fertilization in order to maintain desired productivity levels. There is a risk, however, that manure will no longer be a resource, but will instead create problems. The production and consumption of food causes eutrophication. Ploughing and other soil preparation, the use of fertilisers and land left barren leads to nutrient leakage. Rain and snow then carry the nutrients down to the larger waterways. This is especially the case when the land has been left barren and there is no vegetation to absorb the nutrients. Everything that appears on our plates –especially meat – contributes to eutrophication. Out of everything cultivated in the Baltic Sea region, approximately half is used for animal feed while the other half consists of grain, potatoes or other crops that are either consumed directly or refined. On average we eat about 80 kg of meat per person per year. This is more
1 HELCOM 2005
Reflection box 1
What kind of agriculture is practised in your region? What do farmers produce and how does production affect the water systems? Has agriculture changed in recent decades, and if so, how? How much meat do you eat per week? There are obvious links between food production and eutrophication. How can you persuade decision makers in the EU to limit eutrophication caused by agriculture? What percentage of taxpayers’ money is spent on EU agricultural subsidies in your country? Pork, beef, lamb or chicken for dinner? Which meat wins ecologically and economically?
than double our need. The World Health Organisation, WHO, recommends 34 kg of meat per adult per year. Approximately 90 percent of animal fodder contributes to keeping the body metabolism going, while only 10 percent of the input is converted into meat. A reduction in meat consumption not only saves the environment in terms of reduced eutrophication but also through the reduction of climate-impacting gases and energy. The table below shows the impact that meat production has on the environment in terms of the use of energy, impact on the climate and eutrophication. Side effects like biodiversity and the fact that grasslands act as large atmospheric collectors of CO2 are not included. Support sustainable agriculture Today farmers do not only earn money from their crops, but also receive different subsides from the European Union; money that originates from the tax payer. Agriculture accounts for 35 percent of the total EU budget. Every year, over € 10 billion of taxpayers’ money is spent on agricultural subsidies – subsidies with few environmental controls on nutrient overload. This suggests that the EU ought to take more responsibility for its agricultural subsidies and instead promote sustainable food production. This will be a crucial issue when agriculture policy is renegotiated in 2012. Some farmers, both ecological and traditional producers, seek advice as to how to handle nutrients efficiently. A modern farmer wants nutrients to remain in the cultivated land, where it belongs, and not leak into the watercourses. He or she knows when it is best to spread manure or fertilizer, how to shield the watercourses with trees and how to restrict the dosages. Consumers and producers alike have to take responsibility for sustainable food production!
Effect of meat production on energy use (E), global warming potential (GWP), land use (AREA) and eutrophication potential (EUT), based on studies of existing Swedish beef production systems and conventional Swedish pig and broiler production. Per kg meat: Unit: Beef Conventional 1 Extensive grazing 2 Pig 3 Chicken
Eat less meat but better! Meat from animals grazing on natural pastures is better for the environment
Eat for the future
As responsible consumers we can do a lot. Our meals do not only have to contribute to our health and well-being, but also to that of future generations. Deliberate choices result in less eutrophication, reduced energy use, less toxins and a better climate!
GWP (kg CO2 equiv.)
AREA (m )
EUT (g O2 eqiv./m2)
40 8 18 23
17 22 <5 <5
40 150 11 7
100 20 150 140
• • • •
Eat more vegetables and less meat! Eat vegetables cultivated under the sun! Avoid fresh food transported long distances! Reduce the amount of leftovers!
Table 3. Adapted from: 1 Cederberg & Darelius, 2000; 2 Cederberg & Nilsson, 2004; 3 Ingvarsson, 2002
Plants need nutrients – in modest amounts Nitrogen and phosphorus are essential for the optimum growth of all plants. Water plants, such as reed, filamentous algae and phytoplankton, quickly assimilate water-borne nutrients. There are limits, however. For example, freshwater ecosystems and the Baltic ecosystem are not able to deal with the overproduction of organic material. The development of phytoplankton results in the so-called blooming of water. While this is a natural phenomenon, it is strengthened by an intensive growth of blue-green algae – organisms that float near the surface of the water and create blankets of algae. Oxygen consuming organisms later contribute to the destruction of life on the sea or lake beds. Like all plants this organism needs both P and N, but only a lack of phosphorus can stop the growth of blue-green algae as they are able to secure nitrogen from the air. Although this mechanism is complicated, the link between detergents and underwater eco-systems is obvious. Additionally, blue-green algae create toxic metabolites that are harmful to sea creatures as well as dogs and people. To a certain extent these blue-green algae are natural phenomena and have been studied by scientists for years. However, in recent years the blooming of these cyanobacteria has exceeded acceptable limits to the extent that problems have arisen during the summer months and the bathing season. This is why the debate about eutrophication has become somewhat intense; especially during the summer months. Another important problem caused by eutrophication is the lack of oxygen in the deeper Baltic waters. If the oxygen disappears altogether the anaerobic decomposition of organic matter will be accompanied by the production of hydrogen sulphide, methane and other poisonous substances. If this occurs the sea bottoms will suffer and die. From time to time, there is more oxygen, thanks to mixing of well- aerated surface waters mixing with deeper layers, for instance, during autumn storms from the west.
Nodularia is a filamentous cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae. It takes nitrogen from the air and courses “algae blooming”
Blue-green algae The rapid growth of blue-green algae is the most well-known and spectacular effect of eutrophication. This leads to reduced transparency of the water and algal blankets that both look and smell unpleasant. Such growth can occur in both fresh water and in the Baltic Sea.
Blue green algae
Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria [cyano in Greek means blue], are bacteria that obtain energy through photosynthesis. They grow rapidly by absorbing nitrogen from the air and phosphorus water.
Algae blooming in the Baltic Sea 2008
Satellite observations indicate that algal surfaces turn green. This has proved to be the case along the southern and south-eastern coastlines of Sweden, as well as in the open waters of the Baltic Sea.
Catchment area Catchment area
Think downstream! The structure of a drainage basin, a catchment area or water course, and water on land is very much like the structure of a Russian doll, a “matryoshka”, in that different sizes of dolls fit neatly inside each other.
Water, from the smallest creek to the biggest lake is always on the move. Water connects and crosses borders on its way from the source to the river mouth or sea. The Earth’s fresh water resources are limited and therefore need to be managed in a sustainable way. The geographical area that supplies water to a common outlet is known as a catchment area. When it rains, small trickles of water form and eventually produce streams, which then merge into rivers and eventually flow into the sea. Water systems are inter-connected, which means that whatever affects the water higher up in the water system will sooner or later affect the water lower down. The catchment area of Lake Ladoga is part of the Baltic Sea catchment, and is divided into a number of smaller catchments areas. Everything that happens upstream will have repercussions for people, plants and animals downstream. Different actors depend on and have an impact on the water in a river basin.
River Catchment area km2 Flow, year average m3/s Total P load to the Baltic Sea per year 2000 (tonnes) 2 400 7 500 3 700 1 400 1 800 530 460 420 490 240 570
Catchment area, watershed, drainage basin
Catchment area, drainage basin, river basin and drainage area are synonyms characterized by all runoff conveyed to the same outlet. The limits of a given catchment area are the heights of land - often called drainage divides, or watersheds – separating it from neighbouring drainage systems. The amount of water reaching the river or lake from its catchment area depends on the size of the area, the amount of precipitation, and the loss through evaporation. The Columbia Encyclopaedia, Sixth Edition
Neva Vistula Oder Daugava Nemunas Narva Kemijoki Göta älv Torne Indalsälven Pregola
286 553 193 347 117 862 86 052 92 318 56 797 51 036 48 326 39 705 25 518 14 783
2 460 1 065 574 659 632 no info. 562 574 380 443 no info.
Table 4. “Top eleven” of rivers in the Baltic Sea catchment1
1 International river basins in the Baltic Sea Region, 2006 Susanna Nilsson, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Department of Land and Water www.baltex-research.eu/material/ downloads/riverbasins.pdf
The Baltic Sea drainage or catchment area is four times larger than the surface of the sea. Eightyfive million people have a daily impact on the Baltic Sea’s ecosystem in that we live in an area in which water flows into the Baltic Sea. 18 P-stop
The European Water Framework Directive
The Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC came into force towards the end of the year 2000 and provides for water management in River Basin Districts. Governments have to ensure that a co-ordinated approach is adopted in order to achieve the following objectives:
Water management If we are to have any impact at all on water management we have to work together and cross cultural, political and geographical borders. The European Water Framework Directive, WFD, provides for water management in river basins. Its objective is to achieve “good status” in relation to all waters in the EU member states by 2015. In order to achieve this objective co-operation with all neighbouring countries outside and inside the EU is necessary. The WFD relates to the water quality of rivers, lakes, canals, groundwater, estuarine waters and coastal waters up to a distance of about two kilometres from the coast. States are now restructuring their planning and legal apparatus in order to implement this directive. The core focus of the WFD is to encourage the active involvement of all interested stakeholders in its implementation. Actors living within the same catchment area are urged to create councils or associations to monitor the use of water. Although these small units will not have the status of decision makers, if they are active and contribute constructive solutions as to how the water should be managed they will most certainly have a significant impact on decision-making.
• • •
to protect and enhance the status of aquatic ecosystems and wetlands to promote sustainable water use based on long-term protection to provide a sufficient supply of good quality surface water and groundwater necessary for a sustainable, balanced and equitable water use to provide for enhanced protection and improvement of the aquatic environment by reducing discharges, emissions and the loss of priority substances to contribute to mitigating the effects of floods and droughts to protect territorial and marine waters to establish a register of “protected areas”, e.g. protection of habitats or species
Reflection box 2
The Water Framework Directive’s main objective is that all surface waters should have a good ecological, good chemical and good quantitative status. In general, this means that the waters should not deviate to any great extent from natural, unaffected conditions.
• • •
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Each catchment area is surrounded by invisible borders. Where are the borders of the catchment area in which your school is situated? Do all your classmates live in the school’s catchment area? Where are the drainage dividers situated? Try to mark your catchment area on a map. Can the catchment area be divided into smaller areas? Follow “your” water on a map from its source to the Baltic Sea. Classify your nearest water source. Does it have high status, good status, medium status, insufficient status or low status? Create your own criteria for the different levels. What needs to be done in order to reach a higher status?
85 million people live in the Baltic catchment area
The Baltic Sea drainage or catchment area is four times larger than the surface of the sea. Eighty five million people have a daily impact on the Baltic Sea’s ecosystem in that we live in an area in which water flows into the Baltic Sea. We not only live in the nine coastal countries of Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark and Sweden, but also in those countries with no direct access to the Baltic Sea coastline, such as Norway, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. A considerable number of rivers flow into the Baltic Sea, the largest of which can be found on page 17. The Baltic Sea is particularly exposed to hazards connected with eutrophication. This is because its basin is both relatively large and densely populated. In the Baltic Sea region communities have a relatively high level of urbanisation, industrialisation and intense farming. The pace of pollutants from the basin is quicker than the exchange of water with the North Sea.
From clean to polluted One very clear example comes from the Kaliningrad region. Students studied animals in water. They found nine species near the source. They followed the water and made new observations. After the creek had passed four villages, there were only two species left.
Students in Kaliningrad followed the small river. They passed, made investigations down streams four villages and found a decrease of animal species from 9 to 2.
Climate change Scientists have estimated that due to climate change run-off from the catchment area will increase. It is also possible that the water temperature in the Baltic Sea Basin will increase in this century by as much as 5oC. Such substantial changes may lead to a longer vegetative season. By the end of the 21st century the season could increase by about 50 days in northern areas and as much as 90 days in the south. A longer season may also have an unfavourable impact on the biodiversity of the Baltic Sea and could even intensify the process of eutrophication.
Organisations have an important role to play. Organisations like the World Wide Fund for Nature WWF join forces with partner organisations and work from set action plans. Coalition Clean Baltic, CCB, is an umbrella organisation with responsibility for 28 different organisations in the Baltic Sea region. There’s a wide selection of local organisations and initiatives to choose from. Which one suits you?
Ways forward Only 50 years ago the Baltic Sea was in a much better condition than it is now. However, due to the development of industry, farming and motorisation the sea has been constantly subjected to increased levels of pollutants. Exchanges of water with the North Sea have not improved matters. Communication has improved, however, both politically and technically, which means that we have more knowledge and access to information – and can thereby make a difference! The increased pressure on nature means that we need clear roles. Politicians need both support and encouragement to put water management on the agenda in Brussels and at the local level.
What can’t be seen – doesn’t exist
What goes on underwater would never happen on dry land. How would we react if... .... the state decided to fund hunting apparatus equipped with every conceivable kind of up-to-date technology which, after exterminating elk, deer and roedeer, turned its immediate attention to hunting hares, small birds, fledglings, voles, mice, insects.... and sold 85 percent of the catch to the animal food industry for less than 0.1 EUR per kilo …. gigantic combine harvesters were dragged through woods and pastures, across fields and beaches and decimated plant and animal habitats …. cars, lorries and buses were allowed to emit toxins that were so poisonous that both plants and animals withered and died on roadside verges …. rubbish and waste were spread without check or control in towns and cities, meadows, woods, lakes and running water? While we would never accept this on land, it is a constant underwater happening thanks to trawlers, dragnets, drift nets, oil spillages, dumping and general pollution of the sea! Is it really the case that whatever can’t be seen doesn’t exist?
(An adapted and translated version of Jan Danielsson’s original Swedish text)
Jan Danielsson, 1938–2003, Eco-philosopher and popular Swedish radio and TV broadcaster.
Underwater ecosystems are not very well-known and are not often celebrated in poems. In addition, animal and plants are largely referred to and described by scientists in scientific language. Despite this the glittering surfaces are both appreciated by tourists and turned into big business on the part of the tourist industry. Water-based life and ecosystems are moreover controlled by a number of differing factors. Fast moving or calm waters Plant and animal life look very different according to the type of water they are found in. For example, the water can be fast moving or calm or exposed to wind and waves. Fast moving water is often cool and oxygen-rich. Pike prefer calm waters, whereas trout prefer fast-flowing water. Vegetation on land Shade not only regulates the water temperature and prevents it becoming too high, it also makes it more difficult for predators to see prey in the water. Plant roots also provide safe places for fishes to spawn. A forest or screen of trees can prevent or restrict the leakage of particles and nutrients from the surroundings. Plants are also good indicators of water quality. Light and temperature Most animals cannot survive in high temperatures. Trout, for example, exhibit signs of stress at 20°C and die when the temperature reaches 25°C and above. Access to nutrients The amount of nutrients in the water is of crucial importance to life. An excess of phosphorous leads to plants increasing and growing in size and number. Nitrogen concentration is also an important factor, particularly as nitrogen and phosphorus in combination contribute to eutrophication. Nutrient-deficient water can often be distinguished simply by looking at it and using a net to investigate the state of the underwater world. Become more familiar with your river, lake or part of the Baltic coastline. The following aspects are particularly important:
Reflection box 3
Living beside of near water (lakes, the sea, etc) use to be expensive. Compare the price of houses and flats close to the water and at different distances from the water. Does the exploitation of water resources resemble the Wild West? Compare legalisation and traditions both on land and in water: hunting/fishing, boat/road traffic, land outlets / water outlets. Learn with different sins. Mix water and salt and make artificial water from Bothnian Bay, Baltic Proper, Danish Sounds and the Oceans. Taste, and you will remember differences.
• Visibility - measure and compare year by year, season by season. • The amount of biodiversity on land and in water. • Relations between carp and predator fish - compare on an annual
Ask people living in the coastal regions to tell you about changes they have observed over the years (see also page 29)
Freshwater – a rare delicacy
Tap water has two main prerequisites: groundwater and surface water from a river or lake. In the Baltic Sea region we are lucky to have access to fresh and good quality water in our own homes. In some parts of our region, however, drinking bottled water is the only possible option. There are a variety of reasons for this, such as rusty pipes and the risk of leakage, which can mean that the chlorinated water available to households is very poor in quality. It may, for example, contain coli bacteria or heavy metals – which often results when household waste water is mixed with that from industry. Even if good quality drinking water is available from the tap, many people think that drinking water from a bottle is fashionable. However, as bottled water can cost up to 1 000 to 3 000 times more than tap water, it means that 1.5 cubic metres of tap water is the equivalent of one bottle of water from the shop. While drinking water doesn’t have a direct impact on eutrophication, bottled water “costs” natural resources in terms of packaging, storage and transportation. Bottled water is an example of bad management of our natural resources. Not having access to good quality tap water, or not using good quality tap water are two good examples of a development that is not sustainable. The Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a vulnerable sea. It comprises a shallow, semi-open, brackish water area with a poor exchange of water from the neighbouring North Sea. It is also a cold sea. Although the average temperature is 7 – 8oC, in summer and at the surface the temperature may be considerably more comfortable. The salinity is very low too. For example, in the Bay of Bothnia the water is comparable to freshwater from a lake, with only about 0.3 percent salinity, outside Stockholm and Helsinki the salt content is half percent, whereas close to the Danish Sounds the level of salinity is around 1,0 percent. In oceans the salinity is 3.5 percent. The total area of the Baltic Sea is 387,000 km2. Four time larger than surrounding land in the catchment area. The deepest part is the socalled Landsortsdepth, which at 459 metres would accommodate the Eiffel Tower 1.5 times.
teaching and learning in practice
Teaching and learning in practice
P-STOP is a project in which Education for Sustainable Development principles can be implemented in practice in that knowledge and skills are acquired, transformed and disseminated in real situations.
Most of the Education for Sustainable Development or ESD perspectives can also be used and developed in P-STOP. In a nutshell, ESD can be described by means of the following “cornerstones”.
Learner-oriented – learners are responsible for their own learning; a learn-
ing that emanates from the learners’ own experiences and questions.
A consequence of this view of knowledge emphasises the importance of starting from the individual’s previous knowledge is formed.
Process-oriented – learners pay attention to relations and systems. In process-oriented teaching, and especially where we do not have all the solutions to sustainable development in a changing society at our fingertips, we need to continually re-think and question current trends and ways of thinking. Integrated – learning with a holistic approach that includes different
subjects and perspectives.
Society and nature-oriented – learners are involved in real life happen-
ings and problem-based processes.
The school as a learning environment – learners are involved as consum-
ers and decision-makers.
The ESD cornerstones are further presented by universities and organisations in the project Education for Change www.balticuniv.uu.se/educ/ Following the students’ progress by means of the initial survey is strongly recommended. An assessment form, designed for use before and after work with P-STOP, is provided in Appendix 1. Problem solving P-STOP teaching and learning is strongly influenced by Problem Based Learning, or PBL, which is a tried and tested, student-centred, problemsolving method. It is characterised by the use of ”real world” problems as a context in which students can learn critical thinking and problem-solving skills and acquire knowledge about the essential concepts of the course of study in question. In using PBL students also acquire lifelong learning skills, such as the ability to find and use appropriate learning resources.
The PBL process can be described as follows 1:
Students are presented with a problem in the form of a case. In groups they organise and assemble their ideas and previous knowledge related to the problem and attempts to define the problem they are dealing with. By means of discussion the students pose questions, in this context referred to as “learning issues,” on those aspects of the problem they do not understand. These learning issues are then recorded by the group as a whole. Students are continually encouraged to define what they know - and more importantly - what they don’t know. Students rank the learning issues generated in the session in the order of importance. They then decide which questions need to be followed up by the whole group and which issues can be assigned to individuals, who later teach the rest of the group. The students and their teacher or instructor also discuss which resources they will need in order to research the learning issues and where these might be found. When the students meet up again they explore the previous learning issues and integrate their new knowledge of the problem being studied. Students are also encouraged to summarise their knowledge and connect new concepts to old ones. They also continue to define new learning issues as they work their way through the problem. In this way students realise that learning is an ongoing and never-ending process.
An example of a problem that “drives” teaching and learning
A problem on which to base teaching and learning could be: Nutrients from land destroy our rivers, lakes and the Baltic Sea. A substance that causes this problem is phosphorus – and more specifically phosphates in washing powder. Many of the houses on the outskirts of our town do not have access to any sewage treatment at all. In town the sewage and waste system is old, dilapidated and inefficient when it comes to dealing with phosphates.
How might clothes be washed without polluting and harming the freshwater and marine ecosystems? How might the situation be improved?
Learning by direct meetings The most effective way of learning is direct experience, for example, by visiting a lake, looking at the plant and animal life in water and authentically getting involved with people, situations and problems. While books, the internet and simulated problems all have their place as information sources, they are no substitute for the “real thing”. In order to understand and communicate fully students need to acquire a number of different skills, which in turn means that many different subjects will be involved. In P-STOP students are encouraged to use the river, lake or other waters in the local vicinity. Involving students in political visions and existing regulations are natural components. Achieving the P-STOP goals and the goals stated in the national curricula implies collaboration with colleagues representing different subjects. We have provided what we hope are useful examples, below. Please feel free to adapt them to fit your students, your situation, the aims and goals you are working towards and your learning tradition.
1 From Education for Change: A Handbook for Sustainable Teaching and Learning Sustainable Development. Baltic University Programme
P-stop Step II
Become more familiar with the current situation. Every house uses washing powder or detergent. Ask the students to bring empty detergent containers to school.
On page 5-6 you find the planning to wich the steps ar connected.
Make an exhibition of the packages and cartons collected. Ask the students to read the information included on the containers and formulate questions. Write all the questions on the whiteboard and ask the students to select those that are specifically related to eutrophication. These questions can then be distributed to the different groups for discussion and suggested solutions. Establish which substances are included in the detergents and why. Which package would win “The sustainable detergent” prize? The packages also contain a lot of mathematical information. This can also be used and adapted in and for maths lessons. Involve the maths teacher in working out realistic mathematical exercises for the students to do, or ask the students themselves to do this (this will naturally depend on the age and ability of the group). Carry out the opinion poll provided in Appendix 2 among consumers.
P-stop Step II
Taking the hardness of the water hardness into account is important when working out how much detergent to use. Some kind of measuring equipment is needed for this. If any of your students come from a different area or have access to private wells, ask them to bring a sample of water to school. Contact the local or regional water company or municipality as well, to compare the results.
What is the dH = Deutsche Härde (German Hardness) of your water? Where does the water come from? Compare and explain the status and differences in the water samples. How much washing powder do you need for 4-5 kg of lightly soiled laundry? Ask the students to prepare and carry out a laundry lesson at home.
P-stop Step II
Find out more about the current situation, possible ways for improvement and communicate your findings to decision-makers and the general public.
Track the pipes from the lavatories and sinks in your school to the natural water recipient (lake, river, sea). Get a map and ask municipality technicians for information so that you can really begin to understand how the local sewage system works. Where are the pipes located? How is the water treated? Pay special attention to the reduction of phosphorus. How does your school’s waste water affect the recipient? Who is responsible for waste water treatment, its management and control? Ask the students to find out how sewage is treated at home and discuss the topic with their parents. There is no need to ask them to report in front of the class, as this could cause embarrassment. Summarise and analyse using the opinion poll provided in Appendix 2, with a special focus on Question 5.
Be critical! Are there any differences between the information obtained from different sources? Between policy document and implementation? Between theory and practice? How might the recipient, namely, “your” river, lake or sea shore, be managed in a more sustainable way? Write an article, inform parents, create an exhibition, inform retailers, consult politicians, etc.
P-stop Steps II and IV
Get to know your water
Find out more about the water near your school or your sewage water recipient. Arrange a tour or ask a group of students to carry out a survey as homework. An overview Walk along the side of the lake or follow the stream some hundred metres. What do the surroundings, the shoreline, the lake bottom and the stream bed look like? Write down a few key words. Try also to “read” the history and geology of the place and establish why and how the vegetation, soil, buildings, constructions, etc., have been formed. Life under water – small creatures Examine the diversity of creatures in a lake or river and how they live. Illustrate and study the material collected in different ways. Make an inventory Collect insects and small creatures from the water with the help of nets or sieves. Be sure to keep them safe from harm. Try to find as many different kinds as possible close to the water’s edge, around aquatic plants, on the surface of the water and on the bottom amongst the stones. After collecting the creatures study them in detail with a magnifying glass and think about the following questions:
On www.naturewatchbaltic.org you find questionnaire for surveys in marine and freshwater
• • • •
What do they eat? How do they breathe? How do they move? How do they react to the other creatures?
Sort the creatures out into different marked containers, again taking good care of them. Discuss the different types and species, for example, dragon fly larvae, mussels, etc., and why there are more of one type and less of others. What does the water look like – clear or muddy? Why? What kinds of things indicate whether the water is rich or poor in nutrients? Statistics Account for the creatures statistically! Use paper or other natural material to collate your findings. Look at the photograph and diagram from Kaliningrad on page 20 if you need inspiration!
• Make a bar chart of the ten most common species found in your
• Make a pie chart of 6-7 species. Make a rough estimate and
express it as a percentage.
Which creatures are most numerous? Can you explain the reason for this?
Observe and illustrate In this exercise the student is expected to observe details and become more aware of the aesthetics, or beauty, of different creatures. Ask the students to find and collect what they regard as the most beautiful or fantastic creature in the river or lake. The students also have to care for the creatures in their care and ensure that not harm comes to them. Provide magnifiers for studying the creatures.
1. Illustrate or make a model one of the creatures using the scale 10:1. 2. Make a model out of clay. As small creatures often have antennae
and bones that break easily during the clay firing process, the model should been mounted on a clay tile. We can guarantee that the result will be very attractive!
Ask the students to present their animal in scientific and artistic ways to others, in writing or orally. Visibility Visibility is one of the best ways of tracking changes in water that may relate to eutrophication. You can easily make a visibility disk yourself from a plastic lid with a diameter of approximately 20 cm. Make three holes in it through which to thread three separate strings. Fasten a weight underneath and at the top and tie the three strings to a measuring line. Mark every 10 cm along the line. Look for a deep point in the water, i.e. from a bridge or a jetty. Drop the disk into the water and, when it is no longer visible, raise it until it is just visible again. Mark the position of the water surface on the string. This is called a measure of visibility. Compare the visibility measures taken at different periods and in different seasons.
P-stop Steps II and IV
Duck weed indicators
This is a scientifically approved investigation of the amount of nutrients contained in different waters. The experiment is a way of getting closer to eutrophication and the influence it has on plants. The students need both time and patience. Material
• • • •
A number of containers Duck weed plants (Lemna minor) Water from different waterways Detergent containing phosphorus
The nutrient content of different water ways can be examined and compared by means this relatively simple method. Two different types of instruction: can be used: one that is open and creative and one that is more traditional (see the suggested question guidelines, below). Lemna is found in still water, such as that in dams and puddles. In the test use is made of the entire Lemna plant in that the number of fully grown leaves have to be counted.
a) Open and creative method Questions: Where does Lemna thrive and develop best? Why? How might
this be studied using the Lemna itself? Discuss how this might be investigated.
b) Traditional method Questions: Where does Lemna thrive and develop best? Why?
• Fill two containers with control water and other containers with
different test water. Here you can choose water from ditches, lakes and ideally from the water way receiving waste and drainage water from your school.
• Put Lemna plants in each container. There should be 20 mature
plant leaves in each container.
• Allow them to grow on a window sill for 2-5 days. Avoid strong
• Observe the plants. Are the leaves large or small? Can you detect
any change in colour? Do the leaves have yellow spots, and do the plants have root threads? Count the number of fully grown leaves in each container. Calculate the average number of leaves and make comparisons. Measure the length of the roots.
• Reflect on the results and observations.
Record and discuss the results. How do the results connect to water quality and human impact? Develop and follow the content of nutrience in water over the year. Put water in the freezer to compare differences over the seasons.
P-stop Step III
This method is called backcasting. The exercise helps to outline the processes and people needed for sustainable development. It makes the possibilities visible and motivates students. While the exercise is fictitious it can also be constructed in such as way that it represents a real life situation. Learn from the success stories in your own areas and examine the steps taken to achieve both the goal and the vision. - Start with your goal and then go backwards in order to find the best ways of reaching the goal and avoiding obstacles.
Clean laundry.... The EU chairperson has just announced the prohibition of phosphorus in washing powder. “I am personally convinced that this is the easiest way for everyone to support the Baltic Sea and our water ways”, says the current EU chairperson and Danish Prime Minister Torkel Knudsen. The Danish proposal for a permanent P-STOP has today been accepted by the EU Parliament. Producers and retailers will now have to change to other substances and within the space of one year all washing powder and detergents will have to be produced without phosphate. EU News Centre, 19th April 2011
If the students have difficulties in getting started the teacher can provide a few details as prompts, such as asking:
• What kind of action was taken by consumers and politicians? • How might students convince politicians to vote for such a ban in
• How important were the media and other key people in this
campaign? Who were the key persons?
• What kind of knowledge and skills were considered most important?
P-stop Step III, III or IV
Make a model of a catchment area
Getting to grips with the complexity of problems can be facilitated by the use of fictitious examples that help to illustrate an authentic situation. It is also an idea to keep things relatively simple – although imaginations can naturally also be given free rein! For example, a simple catchment area could even be the area around a rain puddle. The aim The aim is to create an outdoor model of a catchment area with the help of natural materials like stones, pine cones, sticks, leaves, etc. In this exercise the discussion with and between the students is just as important as the result. The situation An untouched area of approximately is going to be developed by the local council as a housing area close to the sea. Sustainable community planning is the main focus and starting point. Use natural materials to create a model of the development area in which the community is to be created. Choose a slightly sloping area of approximately 2 x 3 square metres. The following items must be included in the model: lake, river, sea, roads, harbour, agriculture, housing and some type of chemical industry. Work in small groups.
• Begin by forming a lake with an inlet – a river or stream – and an
• Continue by creating the surrounding landscape – woods, fields,
pastures, hills, slopes, etc.
• Before constructing the actual housing area the following questions should be addressed: How the community will have access to clean water? What is needed to achieve this? What kind of communal infrastructure is needed (water towers, piping, pumps, purification works, sewage plants, etc)? How might the area be developed responsibly and sustainably?
• Decide on the institutions necessary for a well-functioning community (schools, police station, fire station, waste disposal, shops, hospital and factories). Build and use your imagination! The focus should be on building without polluting or poisoning the water. If this did happen what kind of measures would have to be taken?
• Transfer the catchment area to a hand drawn map.
Show and reflect Ask the students to describe and show their models to each other. Discuss the good and less good solutions. Decide on the most sustainable community plan. The exercise can also be continued by challenge the student groups with the following:
• You will receive a grant for the construction of three water treatment plants in your region. Where should they be situated?
• What changes or regulations would you suggest in order to
reduce eutrophication in rivers and water sheds? Who supports these regulations and who is against? What are the arguments for and against the regulations?
P-stop Step II
Sustainable water use
Undertaking a well thought through and planned study of a water course facilitates an understanding of the significance of how land and water use affects water quality. Catchment thinking and planning, fieldwork and sustainable water management have been mixed together in this exercise. Water is the basis of all life. We need water for cooking, drinking, hygiene, food production and much more. Everything we do influences the water: land use, discharge, dams, over fishing and so on. At the same time the population on our planet is increasing. How can we develop sustainable water use? Materials and instructions You will need a map of the water course being visited and the necessary equipment to conduct a water study, i.e. nets, containers, visibility disk, etc.
• Choose a water course near your school. On a map mark interesting items like dams, industry, housing, agriculture and other land use along or in close proximity to the water course.
• Investigate a chosen area along the water course. Start by examining the interaction between the use of land, the use of resources, water quality and the ecology. Each participant should have a clear plan detailing how the investigation is to be conducted.
• Study visit and investigation. Contact a local industry or farm to
learn more about the effects these have on the water environment. Set up targets for the study visit and water investigation. Formulate questions relating to water use and the effect this has on the water. Sample questions might include: Why is the industry situated close to the water? What is the water used for? What effect does the industry have on the water ecosystem and water quality? Has the industry been involved in a serious toxic release? Farmers can be asked about the agricultural methods they use, how they make use of water, how the water is affected by what they do, how manure is treated and what arrangements are made to limit run off from the fields. The investigation should be conducted both upstream and downstream.
• Compile and report. The EU framework directive for water use is
helpful in that it provides a comprehensive overview of sustainable water use, such as the protection of surface and ground water and water resources and reducing the effects of flooding and drought. Using this framework as a guide write a simple report about the results of the visit outlined above with particular focused on land use, resource use and the quality of the waters ecosystem. Include things like how the water quality could be improved. Ask an expert to comment on your report from the perspective of the EU framework directive.
P-stop Steps II and IV
Follow the waterways
Become more familiar with the water in your particular catchment area. Use a map to study the waterways in your catchment area. A catchment area is often composed of smaller catchments. Start to define your area and identify the catchment borders and water drainage dividers. Follow the waterways from their source to the sea. Using maps determine what influences the water: agriculture, communities, industry, etc. Compare the water quality from the beginning of its journey to the end. Write an essay about the water’s journey from its source to the Baltic Sea.
• If the water is polluted in an upstream area what will happen to
the areas situated downstream? Discuss different and possible reactions at local and national level.
• Arrange a guided tour along your river and invite the general
public to come along.
P-stop Step II
Analyse and compare drinking water.
Be a critical consumer.
• Tap water: Track your tap water back to its source. Where does
your tap water come from and how is it treated?
• Bottled water: Where does it come from and how is it treated and
transported? You have to be both smart and determined to get information from companies.
• Compare both cost and taste. • Get the message across! If you have interesting information or
want things to change write an article for the local paper, contact local politicians or the water company. Put an exhibition together and invite the general public!
P-stop Step IV
The audience decides
Expressing an opinion is a skill that needs to be practised. This example is a useful for a large audience. Give the participants green and red postcard sized cards. Let the audience decide the answers to the following questions. Make a quick opinion pull. Green = yes, red = no.
• I dose detergents according to water hardness • The price is most important when I choose detergents. • Is bottled water a useful product?
P-stop Steps II, III or IV
Land close to water is desirable land. This dilemma exercise is about sustainable coastal zone management. Different interests have to be taken into account and people need to respect these interests as well as those of the people who live and work in the area. Underwater and surface ecosystems also have to be accounted for. The objective is to present a plan and sketch for the community’s management board. You can either use the exercise as outlined here or (better still) make it more authentic and identify a real target group. The problem
• How can tourism be promoted without destroying the unique
nature that already exists?
Suggested pressure groups: fishermen, tourist industry, boat owners, local residents, regional and local councils (add or subtract as appropriate for your area). Suggested list of participants - these can be changed so that the participants and their roles are more authentic. The students can also create their own characters.
• Piotr Johansson, aged 62, is professional fisherman who has
spent his whole life fishing and has seen how the catch has diminished from year to year. He is a member of a fishing association and is very worried about the future.
• Alexandra Kiadesto, aged 32, owns 10 summer houses and rents
them out to tourists. She is very energetic and is full of new ideas.
• Maria and Viktor Stepnowski, aged 28 and 32 respectively, run
a general store that does very well in the summer due to the tourist invasion. They would, however, like to have an even bigger turnover.
• Brothers Franz and Verner Pettersson, aged 84 and 86 respectively, live in a home for the elderly. When they go to their favourite site with a picnic basket they are appalled at the noise and all the rubbish lying around.
• Fredrik Steen, aged 38, runs a diving and fishing business for
tourists. He is the spokesperson for the island’s tourist industry and is both a visionary and innovator.
• Tore Kokkinen, aged 57, is a local government councillor who
would like to develop the area to the maximum and concentrate on service, roads and housing. He wants to be remembered as a big and powerful leader.
• Anna Fredriksson, aged 43, is an active member of the Green
Party and tries to protect the environment in general and the sea’s biological diversity in particular. She lives simply, is a vegetarian and does not have a car.
• Eve Hamilton, aged 55, works for the county administration and
wants to develop a plan for sustainable coastal zone management. She is an energetic and resolute bureaucrat.
• Jesper Bergstedt, aged 59, is a passionate sailor who has seen a
dramatic change in boat life to the extent that large and luxurious motorboats now dominate the scene. He dreams of the past when it was easy to find “your own” rock to moor to. He doesn’t like the place being so full of people that you can hardly move.
The following conditions should be taken into consideration:
• A shipping channel is to be constructed into the harbour. • Sustainable fishing is to be prioritised and permitted. • Tourism and outdoor life is to be cautiously developed. The
emphasis is on quality tourism rather than quantity.
• “Quiet areas” are to be created by regulating the boat traffic. • The unique marine life, which includes coral, is to be preserved.
Collect facts Make a map of the area. Collect actual or fictitious facts about your area and its surroundings. What kind of obstacles need to be overcome to achieve successful sustainable coastal zone management? Which possibilities and opportunities exist for sustainable coastal zone management? Summarize The information can be presented as a plan of the area with an oral commentary. Some of the students might like to enact a small play to represent the different interests and how these interests conflict with each other. If you have been working with authentic material you might like to present your ideas and recommendations to politicians or other key people.
P-stop Step II
Your kind neighbour
Reflection box 4
Look at the modules above and identify the ESD cornerstones on page 25. What might you add or how could you change the modules in order to make them more ESD oriented? How do you formulate the problem and a suitable dilemma for your students?
This dilemma exercise prepares students for real situations and strengthens their motivation to act. “It is difficult to start your car. The old, black oil might be the problem and your nice neighbour has agreed to help you change it. To thank him you prepare a dinner. From the window you see the landscape, the meadows and the small river where you caught the fish you now are preparing for your dinner. You can also see him working on your car. He is using a metal bowl to collect the old oil. It looks as though he has almost finished. He takes the bowl, filled with oil from your car and walks down to the river….” How do you react and act? Discuss possible alternatives. Make a list of them all. Ask the students to choose the best alternative. Continue the discussion in small groups and then open it out to the whole class.
P-stop Step VI
Debating is a skill that needs to be practised. This exercise trains students to develop a standpoint and express an opinion. Create a structured meeting in the form of a consultation between different key people. Test your knowledge and skills in a safe environment together with your classmates and continue with a real consultation together with authentic stakeholders. Collect facts Collect facts relating to topics like “P-STOP in households”, “Lavatories and our river”, “Healthy tap water”, etc. Brainstorm all the things you need to know more about and write them down. What do you already know, what is lacking? Share the listed items among groups of students. The students collect facts, find the answers and report back to their classmates. The next step is to arrange a fictitious or real consultation. Fictitious consultation Depending on the topic, different people will have different responsibilities: the detergent producer, the retailer, the person responsible for sewage treatment, the person responsible for water management, the angler, the consumer, etc. Get the class to make a list of all the key people involved. Select 3-5 key persons. Divide the class into small groups and give each group one of the fictitious characters. One group will lead the consultation. The group of leaders first of all formulates an invitation to the consultation and outlines why the consultation is taking place and which topics will be discussed. They distribute the invitations and the groups representing the key people have to find a common view and prepare useful facts. Every group has to select a spokesperson to take part in the debate. The leaders present the structure of the debate and start it off. Each spokesperson then has an opportunity to summarize how their group wants to solve the problem. Consultation Use the fictitious consultation idea and develop it further, perhaps inviting local experts to take part. Remember that these consultations (whether real or fictitious) are both an “engine” for learning and a push for sustainability and clean water. Plan the consultations carefully so that every students is prepared and involved.
• Education for Change: A Handbook for Sustainable Teaching
and learning Sustainable Development www.balticuniv.uu.se/ educ/
• E-Water, 2007, The Role of detergents in Phophate-Balance of
European Surface Waters. Official publication of the European Water Association www.ewaonline.de/journal/2007_03.pdf
• International river basins in the Baltic Sea Region, 2006
Susanna Nilsson, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Department of Land and Water www.baltex-research.eu/material/downloads/riverbasins.pdf
• Water, Marine and Soil unit Eutrophication of waters, role of
phosphates preventive measures phosphates and alternative detergent builders, EC Environment directorate, WRC synthesis -06, 2002
• Water on sustainable way, WWF, 2008, www.wwf.se • WWF, Bassler, 2007, “Eating for the Baltic” Choices regarding
Swedish meat consumption and their effect on the environment.
Students’ knowledge and opinions
Can you explain following words and expression? Mark with one cross the words you think you are able to explain.
___ ___ ___ Ecosystem Eutrophication Sustainable Development ___ ___ ___ Biodiversity Catchment area Ecological footprints
Most people are familiar with the different species of fish living beneath the surface of the water, but fish are not the only creatures to be found in water. Write down the name of three other animal species living in the rivers or lakes in your neighbourhood. Is your nearest water course connected with the Baltic Sea? ___
Yes ___ No
4. 5. 6.
What are the links between a washing machine in a home in your region and rivers, lakes and the Baltic Sea? What are the links between a lavatory in a home in your region and rivers, lakes and the Baltic Sea? Who has most responsibility for ensuring that sewage water discharged from the lavatory, shower and washing machine in a home does not destroy life in water?
___ ___ Politicians People living in the house ___ ___ The owner of the house Someone else. Who?
Please, mark with a cross on the line to indicate your opinion.
Together with other people I can influence and make a change.
Fully agree 8.
Dont´t agree at all
I want to participate in activities for change relating to nature, the environment and society.
Fully agree 9.
Dont´t agree at all
Do you think it is important that schools help students to develop knowledge and motivation so that they can participate in environmental and social topics?
Dont´t agree at all
Opinion poll for consumers
To be carried out before and after P-STOP.
Do you know that detergents and phosphates have a negative impact on the environment?
a. b. c. ___ ___ ___ Yes, I know about it. Yes, I have heard something about it. No, I don’t know about it.
Do you know that you can buy washing powders without phosphates?
a. b. c. ___ ___ ___ Yes, I know about such washing powders? I know about them but I do not know the names of these washing powders. No, I don’t know anything about this.
Have you ever used washing powder without phosphates?
d. e. f. ___ ___ ___ Yes, I use them all the time. Yes, I use them sometimes. No, I never use them.
If you do not use detergents without phosphorous, please indicate the reason why. (You may select more than one option)
a. b. c. d. e. ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ I don’t know about them. The washing quality is very poor. They are expensive. They are not always available. Other reasons ………………….
When you take a shower, wash my clothes or flush the toilet the waste water sooner or later reaches a river, a lake or the Baltic Sea. What kind of treatment is used for your waste water?
a. b. c. d. e. ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ No treatment at all Public treatment. What technical method is used? The water is treated on site (at each house). What technical method is used? Other solutions. What technical method is used? I don’t know.
Investigation of washing powder in shops
Assessing the rate of change in shops. To be carried out before and after P-STOP. Survey undertaken by (name, place):
18.8 2008 Just an example…
P-STOP, teachers’ report
Please send your report to the national coordinator before and after the project.
To be completed before the project begins. Describe who you are.
Teachers involved; name and subject Contact address; email, phone Number of students involved and age
Describe in brief how you carried out the different ”steps” of P-STOP(page x). If you have not followed the “steps” feel free to describe your way of teaching and learning.
Planning and organisation (Step I) Motivate and guide your students in the topic. (Step II) Ways for improvement (Step III)
Spread the message! Involve consumers and decision makers (Step IV) Evaluation, dissemination (Step V)
Goals, implementation and continuation
Number of consumers in direct communication Number of consumers in indirect communication How to improve P-STOP?
We love and are proud of our waters – but at the same time we often fail to realize the links between our everyday activities and the underwater ecosystems that house our sewage pipes. This handbook contains facts, ideas and methods designed to inspire learning activities related to the eutrophication of watercourses; a problem essentially linked to detergents and food. Solving these problems means acquiring the proper knowledge – and the ability to use this knowledge in new ways. The years 2005 to 2014 have been chosen as the UN decade for “Water for Life” and “Education for Sustainable Development”. P-STOP contributes to both global priorities. WWF and partner organisations in the Baltic Sea region invite schools to learn more about these issues and convey the resulting and important messages to all people along the waterways leading to the Baltic Sea. WWF works for a future in which humans can live in harmony with nature. Together with other organisations in the Baltic Sea region WWF works hard to reduce eutrophication. Together with politicians, farmers, companies and consumers we can turn negative trends into positive ones and keep our waters alive and healthy. www.wwf.se We would like to thank the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency for their support of P-STOP and this handbook.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?