LIFE ON LAND - The main objective of this lesson is to emphasize on the profound impacts that Sustainably managing forests, combating desertification, halting and reversing land degradation, and halting biodiversity loss can have on the overall state of our earth.


Prior Knowledge:

  • General understanding regarding the importance of these ecosystems and how they generate the livelihoods of millions of people (fight against poverty)

  • Understanding the significance of biodiversity


Desertification: the process by which fertile land becomes desert, typically as a result of drought, deforestation, or inappropriate agriculture.

Biodiversity: the variety of life in the world or in a particular habitat or ecosystem.

Reforestation: Reforestation is the natural or intentional restocking of existing forests and woodlands that have been depleted, usually through deforestation.

Afforestation: Convert (land) into forest, especially for commercial use.

Flora and Fauna: Flora is the plant life occurring in a particular region or time, generally the naturally occurring or indigenous — native plant life. The corresponding term for animal life is fauna. Flora, fauna and other forms of life such as fungi are collectively referred to as biota.


  1. Discuss the significance that forests and other ecosystems have on specifically individuals and their livelihoods as well as the relation they have to the fight against poverty.

  2. Introduce the challenges to sustainable developments that deforestation implicates.


Physical- Restless Atmosphere

Physical- Restless Atmosphere









 What is life on land?

What one calls life on land includes fauna and flora: forests, wetlands, mountains, protected and threatened species, etc. Sustainable development relies on the conservation of the ecosystems and biodiversity. They are resources that the humankind needs to live; there is therefore an urgent need to care about it and to sustainably manage these resources. Recycling, reusing, avoiding waste are some of the actions which could improve our environment’s sustainability.


  • By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements

  • By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally

  • By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world

  • By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development

  • Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species

  • Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed

  • Take urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna and address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products

  • By 2020, introduce measures to prevent the introduction and significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien species on land and water ecosystems and control or eradicate the priority species

  • By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts

  • Mobilize and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems

  • Mobilize significant resources from all sources and at all levels to finance sustainable forest management and provide adequate incentives to developing countries to advance such management, including for conservation and reforestation

  • Enhance global support for efforts to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species, including by increasing the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities


Why Goal 15?

Over the last 25 years Brazil lost around half a million square kilometres of forest­—­around the same area that China gained. Losses and gains are spread across the globe, but the farther south a country, the more likely it is to have depleted forest land, while more northern countries tend to have gained more forests. Human activity can have a detrimental effect on forests and other parts of the environment, and Goal 15 pledges to reduce or reverse these consequences to provide a more viable ecological platform for sustainable development.


1. Grow a school garden

Building a school garden with your peers and teacher can create opportunities to learn about ecology, sustainable agriculture and nutrition. You can grow food and native plants to know more about the source of your own food but also problems such as grocery transport emissions and food waste. Think about plant herbs, fruits, vegetables that are easy to grow, pick and cook. Why not then using them at lunches, cooking classes or at the school’s cafeteria? To do things the best way, try to think seasonal: you won’t grow strawberries in December! Look for a calendar of seasonal fruits and vegetables before growing your garden.

Discover the work of Emily Robyn Archer, creating large scale installations about environment…



2. Composting to help the environment

Composting is a form of waste disposal where organic waste decomposes naturally under oxygen conditions. Although all waste will eventually decompose, only certain waste items are considered compostable and should be added to compost containers. Food waste such as banana peels, coffee grinds and eggshells are great items to compost. By composting, you can help the environment by naturally recycling a large amount of your school’s waste into nutrient-rich soil, that you can use for your school’s flowers, trees or garden. It is all about collecting your organic waste and having it transformed: easy!


3. Having a meat free week at the cafeteria

Meat production is bad for the environment and is a significant contributor to global warming. To produce just a quarter pound of hamburger, requires 6.7 pounds of grains and forage, 252.8 gallons of water, 74.5 square feet of land for grazing and growing feed crops, and 1.036 fossil fuel energy for feed production and transport! Why not trying to go meat free? See if you can accept the challenge!

Meat Free Week will take place from the 18th to the 24th of September this year. What will you do?



4. Plant trees

You can plant trees wherever possible to reduce deforestation impact worldwide. There are many good reasons to plant a tree: trees clean the air, provide oxygen, cool the streets and the city. They also mark the seasons, provide wood and help prevent soil erosion. Feel free to plant some!



Deforestation throughout the world

Begin by asking the students to list reasons why forests are important to us and discuss these as a class. Give them a brief context of deforestation to first begin the discussion. It is okay of the class has a minimal knowledge of forestation and the context. Please refer to the above information to lay a framework for the class.

Now play the video lesson Deforestation: Definition, Causes & Consequences

Pause the video at 2:00 to begin discussion:

How did the student lists about the value of forests compare to the information provided in the lesson? Was the video information shocking, in terms of the levels of devastation caused? Discuss this as a class.

Now have students use what they have learned in the video lesson so far to draft their own definition of deforestation. They should also include causes of deforestation in their definitions along with their own personal beliefs on the impacts of deforestation.

When all students have finished drafting their definitions of deforestation, have them share them with the class.

Play the remainder of the video lesson for the class.

Review the information presented in the lesson on the causes and consequences of deforestation as a class.

Further discussion:

Some facts to think about…

  • 27,000 trees are cut down each day so we can have Toilet Paper

  • American companies alone use enough Paper to encircle the Earth 3x

  • We can save 75,000 trees if we recycled the paper used on the daily run of the New York Times alone

  • Rainforests are cut down at a rate of 100 acres per minute

  • The world’s oldest trees are more than 4,600 years old

  • On average, 1 supermarket goes through 60,500,000 paper bags per year

  • When a newspaper is recycled, it takes only seven days from to become a brand new newspaper

  • The average Western inhabitant paper use per year equals 465 trees per person


Let’s see what you know about deforestation and biodiversity loss…

  • What is the leading cause of deforestation?


  • How many football fields would equal the rate of deforestation every minute?

The rate of deforestation equals to loss of 20 football fields every minute.

  • How much of the world’s oxygen is produced in the Amazon forest?


  • How many species are expected to become extinct in 25 years due to deforestation?

Up to 28.000 species.

  • How much of the world’s tropical forests has already been cleared?

Half of the world’s tropical forests.

Check the interactive map from the Global Forest Watch showing deforestation and tree gains around the world…



Louie Schwartzberg captures images revealing the beauty of nature. A good way to feel grateful about what we have around us and to get involved to protect it…


This workshop was written and designed by:


Lisa Goursaud is an International Peace Studies master student at Trinity College of Dublin. Her academic interests mainly focus on the Middle-Eastern region where she used to live, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Caitlin Banke is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Business from Menlo College and will be concluding her Masters Degree from Trinity College Dublin in International Peace Studies in November 2018. Caitlin has focused her studies and work around women and children's issues.


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