Another Fall Family Fun Activity

Another Fall Family Fun Activity from the David Suzuki Foundation site has come to my email to share:

Learning about nature’s limits

Did you know… life on earth is limited to 20 vertical kilometres called the biosphere?

Take in the fall colours with your family this week by going on a nature hike. Not only will your kids get to explore the wonders of nature at this time of year, they’ll also learn that nature has limits we must learn to respect.


For this activity, each member of your family will pack a backpack in preparation for the nature hike. As the hike progresses, you’ll ask them to sort through what they packed to determine what they really needed for the hike and what they didn’t. They will begin to see the impact of consumerism, and that the desire for things we don’t really need is driving us to live beyond the limits of nature.


What you do

Part A: Outdoors

  1. Pick a local hiking trail. Try to pick a hike that will last about an hour or more, depending on the age of your children. After describing the hike and the weather you’ll face, ask each member of your family to pack a bag with things they think they will need.
  2. Halfway through or at the end of the hike, have each family member go through their backpack. Sort objects into two piles: what they needed and what they didn’t need.
  3. Discuss wants and needs as you continue the hike. What is the difference between the two? How would you pack differently on the next hike? What happens when our want list gets really big? How does wanting more than we need to survive impact nature?

Part B: Indoors

  1. In daily conversations with your family, identify wants vs. needs. When you look at your home and possessions, do you see things that are wants? Or things that are needs?

Continue the discussion. Take action.

  1. Have each family member pick an animal, and compare the animal’s needs to his or her own. Which ones intersect? Which ones belong only to the animal or the human? How does respecting the needs of other parts of nature play an important part of living in balance?
  2. Ask your family to think of three things that human beings sometimes want that are hard on the natural world. Why do you think humans continue to want them?


Additional information

We live in a global economy where we buy and sell goods and services from anywhere in the world on a daily basis. The economy is deemed successful if it continues to grow as people buy and sell more and more things. As a result, we often end up buying things we don’t need.

This is a problem for nature, because our economic system exists within the limited resources and materials we find in the biosphere (the 20 vertical kilometres of the atmosphere and the upper crust of earth where life may exist). The human population keeps increasing, and our demands have increased along with it. But the biosphere simply can’t get any bigger. Our increasing demands are putting the planet in danger.

“We often describe the triple bottom line — society, economy, and environment — as three intersecting circles of equal size. This is nonsense. The reality is that the largest circle should represent the biosphere. Within that, we have 30 million species, including us, that depend on it. Within the biosphere circle should be a much smaller circle, which is human society, and within that should be an even smaller circle, the economy. Neither of the inner circles should grow large enough to intersect with the bigger ones, but that’s what’s happening now as human societies and the economy hit their limits.”

— David Suzuki, Science Matters

Working our way out of this precarious situation will require a big change in how we think about our economy—a shift that can only take place if we learn to recognize what we really need.



The “triple botom line” vision of the world.


A world vision to help us live within nature’s limits.

This activity is adapted from a lesson plan entitled “Living within the limits of nature: Needs versus wants” in The David Suzuki Foundation’s resource Connecting with Nature: An educational guide for grades four to six. Download the full guide for free.

Today’s “stone”  is Day 279  fall family fun, just in time for Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, cool




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: