As we work through mastering the Q1 synthesis essay this unit, we are going to hold Socratic seminar over a series of sources that focus on the environment. Ultimately you will all conduct a class debate at the end of the unit using (synthesizing) all of these sources.

Our focus questions for this unit are:

  • Do we have a responsibility to protect and preserve the environment?
  • Do we have a responsibility to ensure equitable access to food and water for our fellow-man?
  • How do we work towards greater environmental awareness and stewardship?

Our first source comes from the book ‘Hungry Planet’ by Peter Menzel. This piece of photojournalism focuses on portraits of families from around the world, and one week’s worth of groceries. This series highlights the differences not only in food culture by geography, culture and economic status, but also how ‘wealth’ is communicated through food and how what is perceived as ‘wealthy’ differs from place to place.

You may view these pictures via The Times by clicking here, or you can view the images below. You will need to be able to answer the following questions tomorrow during seminar, as well as posing questions of your own:

  1. Which portraits are most similar to each other in terms of food representation? Does this surprise you?
  2. Which portraits are most similar in setting?
  3. Consider the number of people, or ‘mouths’, to be fed in each photograph. Compute the cost of feeding that many individuals based on the information provided. What does this tell you about the global economy?
  4. From your analysis of the photos, what inferences can you make about the countries depicted? Overall what does the photo-story tell us about global sustainability?

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