TREES-sustainable business model
Natural Leaders - Environmental Games and activities (produced by SNH & NTS) available from the National Trust for Scotland
- To explore the idea of 'sustainability' by comparing a tree with a factory
You will need
- some trees to walk amongst and sit under
- Notebooks and pencils
Did you know?
Renewable energy resources include solar energy, geothermal energy, energy
from the wind or waves, energy from tides and energy from biomass.
Before the activity
Talk about the word 'sustainable' and give examples of the kinds of activities which are unsustainable i.e. they use up irreplaceable resources (oil and coal and minerals for example); they gradually pollute or deplete their environment (intensive crop growing that requires heavy use of pesticides and fertilisers); over-using natural resources such that they cannot replace themselves and gradually dwindle (for example, over-fishing)
Walk amongst some trees with the group and ask them to see the trees as a factory, but more importantly as a completely sustainable business or factory, and ask them if we can learn from the tree to help us improve our efficiency and to be more sustainable. Go up to a large impressive tree and encourage the group to see the tree as a factory, fuelled by the sun, using raw materials like carbon dioxide and water and producing fruit, seeds, leaves, bark, wood etc.
Split the group into 5 smaller groups and give each a component of the business to discuss, as below:
- Group 1 Energy and raw materials
- Group 2 Products / by products / waste
- Group 3 Profit
- Group 4 Market / community
- Group 5 Transportation
Each group is asked to think about how their tree functions and how it interacts with its environment, in the component of the business they have been allocated. They are to report back to the groups, after 5-10 minutes, having come up with one sentence that sums up how the sustainable 'tree' business works for their component. Each group then chooses a tree to gather around while they think.
For example, Group 1. might come back with their sentence ''The tree only uses energy from a sustainable resource and only uses locally produced raw materials that are the product of a recycling process''
Once the groups have noted down their summary sentence they reconvene under
the original tree. Each group shares their sentence with the other groups in
turn Each sentence is discussed and ideas are sought for making, for example
their school, more sustainable by following the trees 'best practice'
Suggested Follow up
Research and put into practice some of the ideas the students came up with, to make the school more sustainable.
Find out about renewable energy technology - which technologies do the students think will become more common place in the future, why?
- Renewable energy information from Re-energy
- Alternative and renewable energy information from Envocare
- Science - main
- Health and well-being - associated
- Technologies - associated