Use For the Love of Meat in Your Classroom

In 2015, Australia was the biggest meat-eating nation in the world, eating three times the global average. In the SBS documentary series, For The Love of Meat, committed carnivore Matthew Evans wants to find out how we produce it and uncover the impacts of eating so much of it. Matthew discovers it is not always easy to find out the answers, but is determined to help show how we consumers can choose better for us, our animals and the planet.

More than half of all Australian land is used for grazing livestock, mostly cattle. This schools resource relates to episode three, Cows, in which Matthew Evans explores the true cost of producing beef in a country with the size and climate of Australia.

 

ABOUT THE RESOURCE
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The activities in this resource have been designed to complement three short clips from the documentary providing students and teachers with the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of:

  • Environmental impacts of cattle farming in Australia 
  • Consumer choice and food labeling 
  • Methane reduction technology

This resource is designed to support the following curriculum links:

The resources can be used to support investigation around the following inquiry questions within the Geography curriculum:

  • How do people use and alter (woodland) biomes for food production? (Year 9) 
  • Why is an understanding of environmental processes and interconnections essential for sustainable management of environments? (Year 10)

The resources can be used to support the following cross-curriculum priorities

  • Sustainability
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures 

Teachers can choose either to use questions and discussion points that complement each clip individually, or to provide students with the Project Based Learning activity where students view clips as a part of their own learning and research, with the first clip providing an introduction style activity.

While this resource focuses on Geography, activities can be applied to a broader range of subjects such as Design & Technology, Maths and Economics & Business.

This resource was produced in partnership with WWF-Australia. 

Facts are sourced from the SBS series For the Love of Meat.

 

LAND CLEARING
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Prior to viewing

Think/ pair/ share: Read the following questions and write down any answers that you think you may know already: 
a. How have woodland biomes been altered in order to meet the growing demand for Australian meat?
b. Describe / sketch what the process of land clearing might look like.
c. What impacts do beef / cattle farming have on the land?

Watch the clip: Land Clearing 

In this clip Matthew Evans meets up with Martin Taylor from WWF-Australia to investigate the environmental impacts of land clearing for beef production in Queensland.

 

Key clip statistics:

  • In 2015, almost 300,000 hectares of woodland was cleared in Queensland, that's roughly 40 football field per hour.
  • About 600 species on the national list of threatened species are there primarily due to land clearing.

Post viewing

Have students respond to the following questions:
1. Review the previewing questions again and elaborate on answers specific to the land clearing clip.
a. How have woodland biomes been altered in order to meet the growing demand for Australian meat?
b. Describe / sketch the process of land clearing used.
c. Identify the environmental impacts of beef/ cattle farming on the land. 

2. Use a graphic organizer to explain how and why there is interconnection between removing forests and threatened species.

3. Identify the types of technologies used to monitor land clearing. How can technology contribute towards more sustainable environmental management? Review land use patterns in your own local area using satellite photo evidence, refer to the demonstration clips developed by WWF-Australia: 

WWF-Australia Demonstration Clip 1: Introduction to Google Earth Engine

WWF-Australia Demonstration Clip 2: Using time slider to find clearing

Note: The views and opinions expressed in these clips are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of SBS.

Investigate

1. What are the causes and consequences of change in environments and how can this change be managed? Refer specifically to the woodland environment in the clip.

2. Identify the types of species threatened by land clearing in Queensland or your local area and create a photographic essay or blog page with images referenced correctly. Refer to the WWF-Australia demonstration clips below:

WWF-Australia Demonstration Clip 3: Impact on protected species?

WWF-Australia Demonstration Clip 4: Is the clearing approved?

Note: The views and opinions expressed in these clips are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of SBS.

3. Why have greenhouse gas emissions increased so significantly in QLD since 2011 ? What are the levels of greenhouse gas emissions in other states and territories (since 2011)? Create a graph to show change in emission levels in Australian states and territories since 2000.

4. Investigate traditional Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander land use patterns in your local woodland environments.

5. Describe the changing role of technology in land clearing for industry, government and non-government organisations. Refer to the WWF-Australia demonstration clips above. 

Report

Write a report on sustainable strategies for environmental management. The following are linked to Year 10 Geography curriculum:

  • identify human-induced environmental changes that occur as a result of land clearing (e.g. water and atmospheric pollution, loss of biodiversity, land degradation) and discuss the challenges that they pose for sustainability 
  • compare environmental world views and different approaches to environmental management including those of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • reflect on findings to propose individual and collective action in response to environmental change and management and explain the predicted outcomes of their proposals

Useful links:

Queensland Government - Land Cover Change in Queensland
CSIRO - Indigenous Land Management
NSW Aboriginal Land Council
Creative Spirits
Department of Energy and Environment - Greenhouse Gas by State and Territory

Extension 

Collaboration: You have been asked to prepare a briefing on the impact of land clearing across Australia. In groups of 6, examine the impacts of land clearing in each of the states and territories (each person could investigate a different state but you will need to work together to provide comparative analysis of graphs and statistics). Use the tools referred to in the clips provided by WWF-Australia to gather your evidence and provide a 5 minute presentation in the format of your choice.

NOSE TO TAIL
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Prior to viewing

  • Using the diagram of the cow (download here), label the parts of the cow that are used/ sold in the supermarket.
  • Investigate the term ‘nose-to-tail’ in regards to meat consumption patterns in Australia. What does the term refer to and who uses it?
  • Think/ Pair/ Share- Make a note of the different types of meat that you have eaten for dinner in the past 7 days. Choose 3 main items and investigate where the food may have originated.

Watch the Clip: Nose to Tail

In this clip Matthew Evans enlists a butcher and a chef to demonstrate beef production from “paddock to plate”. They examine the consumer-driven notion of “primary” and “secondary” cuts of beef and the interconnection between consumer choices and farming practices. 

Post viewing

1. Complete your diagram of the cow by taking photos at your local butchers of the different cuts of meat.

2. Design a questionnaire that aims to investigate which cuts of meat are most commonly used. Analyse the results in regards to how sustainable our diet choices are.

Questionnaires are used to gather information about public opinion on a topic or issue in society. You can create a digital survey using Google Forms and provide a link to family members and friends to gather information. Try to engage people from a range of different cultural backgrounds, age groups and geographic locations. Share your findings with your class.

3. Use Canva or similar software to create an infograph with the results of your questionnaire.

4. How can an understanding of the cattle farming process help consumers to make more informed decisions in the supermarket (and therefore contribute to a sustainable future)? Choose part of the cow that isn’t typically used in our society and create a one minute advertisement that could influence consumer choice.

5. What are the environmental consequences of our consumer choices around beef production? Design a poster that demonstrates the cost of carbon emissions? The clip below, illustrating the carbon footprint of beef as compared to the carbon emissions of a driving a car, may be helpful. 

Useful links

SBS Food – Conscious Carnivore
SBS Food – Meat Labels

METHANE EMISSIONS
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Prior to viewing 

  • Investigate the spatial distribution of cattle farms in Australia and globally.
  • Map cattle farms in your local area. 
  • Think/ Pair/ Share: How could carbon and methane emissions be reduced in cattle production? Make a list of ideas as a class.
  • Identify the different perspectives of stakeholders involved in cattle farming

Watch the Clip: Methane Emissions 

Matthew Evans talks to CSIRO scientists who are researching cattle methane emissions. They are exploring an exciting new method of significantly reducing methane emissions by up to 80% using Australian algae.

Post viewing

1. Discuss how the discovery of this methane reduction technology eventuated.

2. Identify the possible implications of methane reduction technologies in contributing to reducing climate change in future.

3. Create an infograph that demonstrates the design process of methane reduction technologies.

Infographics are a useful way to organise and represent both written and visual information in a way that is appealing to an audience, and highlights key information and numerical statistics. View examples of infographics using Google Images and Canva to familiarise yourself with the layout and structure of the text type.

4. Design a label that demonstrates to consumers how the meat has been produced sustainably.

5. Design a set of guidelines (including diagrams) on how to reduce methane emissions in cattle according to the method used in the clip.

6. Why is an understanding of environmental processes and interconnections essential for sustainable management of environments? Create a cartoon strip that explains the interconnection between seaweed and climate change.

PROJECT BASED LEARNING ACTIVITY
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The following activity is a model of Project Based Learning which supports the inquiry learning process. The PBL process encourages students to engage in authentic learning experiences. For more information refer to the Buck Institute for Education (BIE).

Inquiry questions:

  • Can the world’s biomes sustainably feed the world’s population? (Year 9)
  • Why is an understanding of environmental processes and interconnections essential for sustainable management of environments? (Year 10)

How can sustainable production of cattle co-exist within a woodland biome?

Brief: WWF-Australia is creating a new series of  infomercials to promote sustainable farming. The production team is seeking input in regards to creative ways of representing sustainable biomes. You have been requested to research and present case studies that demonstrate how the sustainable production of cattle can co-exist within woodland biomes. In the clip on land clearing (section 2), Martin Taylor from WWF-Australia indicates that this is indeed true. Your job will be to investigate the methods further and provide options for WWF-Australia to promote to farmers. Get creative!

Investigate

1. Types of sustainable farming and land care practices that could be used in production (rotational, traditional, Indigenous)
2. How methane emissions could be reduced? (see section 4)
3. The concept of nose-to-tail consumption (see section 3) 
4. Meat sources in your local supermarket that are produced sustainably and food labeling.

Create

1. Link suitable recipes to cook each part of the cow identified in the infograph
2. Create a photographic essay or collage to demonstrate what sustainably produced beef looks like in the supermarket (to consumers)
3. Design a label that demonstrates to consumers that the meat has been produced sustainably
4. Create a table to compare sustainable farming practices, with specific case study examples of each
5. Create guidelines (including diagrams) on how to reduce methane emissions in cattle.

Share

Present your key findings that demonstrate how the sustainable production of cattle can co-exist within woodland biomes in a one minute video clip and send it to SBS Learn using the form below.

Ensure that you only include your own information and that it complies with your schools online communications policy. 

PROJECT PARTNER
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This education resource was produced in partnership with WWF-Australia. 

WWF-Australia 

WWF-Australia has a long and proud history. We've been a leading voice for nature for more than half a century, working in 100 countries on six continents with the help of over five million supporters. Passionate and dedicated people like you.

WWF-Australia partners with governments, businesses, communities and individuals to address a range of pressing environmental issues. Our work is founded on science, our reach is international and our mission is exact – to create a world where people live and prosper in harmony with nature. 

Find out more at wwf.org.au