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Module 6: LIFE BELOW WATER (SDG14)
Section: Learning Tool 6
Learning Tool 6
Vejle Fjord – How about the future?
A panel debate between various interest groups
on overfertilization, bathing water quality and biodiversity
21st century skills addressed
As in so many other aquatic environments, Vejle Fjord has seen an increasing amount of nutrients in recent years. This has led to the growth of algae, which has changed the fjord's water quality and made the seabed a golden and desolate place where bottom animals and fish fry cannot live. Vejle Fjord does not have a natural sandy bottom that promotes biodiversity. Instead, its bottom is full of mud and without plant and animal life, with the exception of a large number of crabs. This problem is being addressed with a number of measures to improve the condition of the fjord.
1. The Problem: Students need to understand the background for the increased nutrient discharge and its consequences. Where does the nutrient supply come from? How does it end up in the fjord? What are the consequences of the discharge?
2. In groups, students should try to understand and see the arguments of one of the interest groups on the discharge of nutrients and their consequences. They should prepare their arguments so they can participate in a panel debate. Here they must argue for the attitudes and opinions of the interest group they are defending. The actors may, for example, be farmers, aquaculture owners, anglers, and bathers.
There should be access to the internet, so students can search information online. There should be the opportunity to set up a panel table for the debate in class. Depending on the age group, refer to a selection of websites (see below).
3-7 lessons of 45 min, depending the activities
Age: 12 years and older
Vejle Fjord - Where does the nutrient supply come from, and what are its consequences?
The problem with the condition of Vejle Fjord is introduced through films on the subject and a newspaper article. The introduction is adapted to local conditions.
The students in groups, finds all the dilemmas they can, based on the information they have been given about the life of the fjord.
The students should not answer the dilemmas but identify them. For example, it could be:
Why do farmers produce so much nutrients (from fertilizers), some of which end up in the fjord?”
Why are marine fish farms not made in closed containers?
Why do people not plant much more eelgrass?
Should there be fish in the fjord?
The dilemmas are gathered so everyone can see them. They can be hanged on the board, or in digital boards such as “Padlet” (www.padlet.com)
A dilemma is a problem without one correct solution. One cannot answer yes and no to the question. Whatever solution one chooses has some negative consequences. There are no right and wrong solutions, but only solutions with one or more disadvantages. The interesting thing about dilemmas is not only the solution chosen, but to a much greater extent, the range of arguments and reasoning that is at stake.
This is more evident in the work on the panel debate.
How do the nutrients from fertilizers end up in the fjord?
It is assumed that the students have worked with the water circuit by this time.
The problem of nutrients (from fertilisers) is difficult to understand. Practical work must be done with the task: Simultaneously or before the actual teaching of this module, a simple experiment with algae bloom should be made. Take a sample of lake water, which is distributed in 2 transparent aquariums/jam jars. In one, flower fertilizer is added. When the experimental set up has been about a few weeks, the students have to guess what is in the glasses.
Based on their ideas and the teacher's input, and depending on the academic level, the students can design their own experiments and investigate the algae's need for light, nutrients, CO2. Obtain algae cultures to make the experiments more accurate. Eventually, the jars are left to stand for a long time and you can see how dead algae sink to the bottom.
Panel Debate: Who “uses” the fjord?
Brainstorm among the students in class in relation to which stakeholders use and/or influence use of and state of the fjord:
Examples: farmer, fish farm owner, marine culture owner, bathing visitor, angler, business fisherman, nature lover, biologist, technical management - wastewater treatment. The teacher briefly illustrates the use/influence of the fjord by the interest groups during the brainstorm on a drawing of the fjord. Together, the 5 most relevant interest groups are selected.
Preparation for the Panel Debate
Divide the class into 5 groups. Assign each group a specific interest group. The groups should gather information online about the specific interest group they are assigned, and write down the arguments to be used in a panel debate about the state of the fjord.
The groups should produce cards with arguments for discussion in the panel debate.
Each interest group selects a representative to participate at the debate.
Arrange a Panel in class, putting name cards on the various interest groups. The teacher acts as teacher of the debate.
Welcome participants to the panel debate.
“We are gathered to take part in the debate on how to improve conditions in Vejle Fjord …”
Presentation of panelists
Representative of the interest group
Max 1 minute per representative (Name, Position, Interest Group)
Topic for Discussion: "There are no more fish in the fjord, what can we do?"
The teacher makes a short presentation of the problem. This can be supplemented by a short film on the topic.
All of the representatives
The representatives agrees among themselves who should go first, second third, fourth and fifth. The teacher acts as the chairperson. If a representative runs out of arguments, he or she may ask for replacement in the group.
The teacher summarizes the debate and clarifies the pros and cons of the arguments.
Interest Groups & Teacher
Each Interest Group makes a concluding speech on what they think one should do to take care of the fjord.
The group can have 15 minutes to prepare a presentation together.
The teacher summarizes the important points made by the group.
Interest Groups & Teacher
Each Interest Group makes various motions for resolutions that a Municipal Council must decide on. (15 min.)
Then the roles change, and the students will act as Municipal Politicians and vote on the proposals according to their own beliefs.
Tips for the teacher
Tips for the teacher
Tips for the teacher
Depending on the age of the students, one of them or a group can facilitate the debate.
Select the end of the debate by the age of the students.
The dilemmas identified in the introduction part, are raised again. They can be used in relation to evaluation.
Students can work in groups where they discuss and make a list of priorities in their opinion should be addressed first regarding the problem of the fjord. For example, it can be a list of the most important issues that should be solved first; a list of the easiest problems to solve be addressed first; or what matters most for the future be solved first.
The students can sort dilemmas in groups. For example, in relation to what they themselves can act on and what they cannot do as individuals.
Follow-up/Inspiration for the future
Working with the dilemmas in the future should use innovative solutions, and perhaps using engineering: Students choose a dilemma that they are working to find a solution. It can be a designed solution, a prototype, an information video, etc.
See help for input into the debate on the document: Debate
Getting the Debate Going:
If the debate is a little stalled, the teacher can put the following information forward, after which he/she asks for comments from the various groups:
"The municipality wants to establish an area in the harbour for bathing. Studies are being done, but the water quality is too poor".
"It has been a great summer. The citizens have been bathing in the outer fjord all June and July. Now in August, the quality of bathing water is so poor (for bathing) that there is a danger of getting sick is one baths in the fjord right now".
"Due to climate change, there has been a lot of heavy rains this spring".
•"The many aquaculture farms located along Vejle river have gone over their banks and a large amount of nutrients has been flushed into the fjord".
•Agricultural discharges of fertilizers have increased tremendously, leaving the surface water to quickly flush into streams and on into the creeks.
•The wastewater treatment plant has operated beyond its capacity, resulting to untreated wastewater running into the sea.
"The seals come all the way up to the Vejle river and eat the fish stocks that the Fishermen's Association has worked for many years to increase." The seals simply cannot find the necessary fish in the fjord."Vejle Fisk A/ S - has just applied for permission to establish a large open sea fish farm. The local council has just approved the project, as it will provide many jobs for the city.