It is my hope that the students who study this unit will come to see how important a role the physical environment plays in their lives. They will learn that the environment changes continuously: the earth rotates and with it come night and day, earthquakes cause cracks in the earth, mountains are thrown up, volcanoes explode, storms come and go. All these physical changes are determining factors in the changes that humans make in their lives. Changes in the earth have imposed the need for migration and immigration, for example. And changes in the earth have caused humans to adapt— to develop new skills for survival. For example, the Indians in South America learned to construct new styles of housing to protect themselves from the floods caused by El Nino and from earthquakes. Again, humans have learned how to deviate the rivers in order to protect nearby settlements from changes in the river’s course.
As humans continue to adapt to environmental change, they need to take care to protect the fragile ecology; in doing so, we will be protecting the world for our children, ensuring that they have a healthy, strong future. I hope through the study of this curriculum unit that students will gain some understanding not only about living in their physical environment but also about protecting it for the future.
Note: For figures A to E, refer to the following texts:
Figures A and B: Lefkowitz, 1989: 11, 13.
Figures C, D and E: Taylor, 1993 B: 12, 13.