Comenius:2nd Newsletter Nov 2009 LdV

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Dear Comenius friends:

this 2nd newsletter is a brief on the actual status of our students´ group work realized during October. We continued using our Wiki, some groups with more enthusiasm than others. Please read in the following what we have so far.

In our 1st Newsletter you learned which are the twelve aspects of our W.A.T.E.R. Programme students are looking into. In order to visualize causes and effects between these aspects, we carried out an exercise called problem tree analysis with both participating classes ESO 4A and ESO 4B on Friday 16th, trying to identify which are causes, which are effects, and especially which is the key problem. Some few photos document both the process and results, which may not be very precise (nor is the scheme elaborated by Horst), but certainly reveal main aspects and identify the Altered water cycle being the key problem.

Problem tree elaborated by ESO 4A
Problem tree elaborated by ESO 4B


Fr.gif France: Nov 2009 | Oct 2009
Nl.gif Netherlands: Nov 2009 | Oct 2009 | Dutch meeting
Se.gif Sweden: Nov 2009 | Oct 2009 | Swedish meeting
Es.gif Spain: Jun 2010 | May 2010 | Abr 2010 | Mar 2010 | Feb 2010 | End Nov 2009 | Nov 2009 | Oct 2009 | May 2009 | Nov 2008

Getting water

During these weeks we have learnt the differences of getting water in countries of different continents, which made us aware of related problems. In our group we have realized that water consumption is highest in Asia, where also most of the water reserves can be found. See also graph of water management in Asia. On the other hand, Africa is the continent that consumes less water, and they also have neither means nor resources to obtain more water. We have done some summaries for every continent and compiled some graphics, which we are going to show in our final presentation.

Water management policy

We have been looking for information about different countries and places, such as Australia, Spain and Gaza, to compare the different ways they manage the water. We also want to explain and develop our information about the consequences of bad water management, on a world wide level.

Population increase

Until now we have been collecting information on the problem of overpopulation with respect to developing countries. From now on we will focus our project in more developed countries.


At the beginning of this work it was easy to identify causes and consequences of deforestation, but to locate the information was a little more difficult. At present we are thinking what socio/economic consequences deforestation may have and what we would be able to do about it. We were impressed about how fast biodiversity may decrease due to deforestation. It also attracted our attention that over 80% of European forest fires occur in Spain, our country.


We're working together, each group member has a sub topic about desertification, but we need to edit more information at the wiki. We are learning that this environmental problem is very serious. For example: the dry lands make up 41% of the surface on the world. In Asia the most affected area is in Central Asia. In Europe the most affected country is Spain. We want people to learn about this problem and know that it is part of the serious problems we have in the world.


The first thing we investigated were the data needed to distinguish between areas affected by drought and arid areas. It has poor economic, social and environmental consequences and we also learnt that drought doesn't usually directly affect people, but rather reduces the quantity of food production, that affects societies. We are currently determining areas which actually are and which could be at risk of being affected by a drought and how could we prevent and avoid further affects in the future.

Human health

Group work on human health
Now everyone is working on his/her own topic, looking on the internet, and printing some information that we think is of interest. On Thursday, we are going to start the power point presentation. We think that Human Health is very important because many illnesses are caused by all the other problems like: deforestation, green house effect, acid rain, desertification, melting of the poles, water management policy, the difficulty of getting water; as shown on the problem tree (above on this page), we have elaborated during an earlier session. We think that we are working very hard.

Acid rain

We think that acid rain is a very interesting and very relevant topic. At first we struggled a bit to organize the information we had collected, but we are gradually advancing with the project. We were impressed about the effects of the acid rain in The United States, The Netherlands and Germany. Now we are going to work to verify the socio/politic consequences of this problem in most affected countries. We are making great efforts to do a good job, which is to achieve that everybody understands the basic concepts of acid rain and its effects.
Map of the most affected zones by acid rain

Greenhouse effect

Hello, we are working on the Greenhouse effect for two weeks now. We found a lot of information about this topic so we have to work hard in order to elaborate summaries using common language. Everybody is working on his/her respective topic and if one of us has any problems to find information we help each other. It is entertaining and we are learning a lot about this problem. We never imagined that the alteration of the water cycle could be affected by so many factors, like deforestation, desertification or acid rain. We expect to learn much and to extend our knowledge so to contribute to improve the world.
Group work on the Greenhouse effect

Melting of glaciers and poles

We think that we are working on a very interesting topic. We're dividing it into two parts: the melting of the poles, and the big glaciers and ice covered mountains in the world. Regarding the melting of the poles, we distinguish three issues: What is the melting of the poles? Which are the causes for it, and which impact is this going to have on the water cycle? In our work about the glaciers and ice covered mountains we're going to concentrate our investigation on the biggest ice surfaces in the world, and what will happen if they melt.

Altered water cycle

Water cycle

We found our theme interesting, yet difficult to focus. With some help we managed to organize our materials and to establish a scheme in which each group member is working a section of the water cycle. We expect to conclude the project having done a good job, being able to identify important and relevant information about the water cycle. In the last class we learned that our subject - the water cycle - is the key problem of the water problem we are treating all together in this workshop. That is because the alteration of the water cycle by us humans and our activities is modifying the water resources of each country and the whole world.

Conflicts for water

Our theme is very interesting, because first we had problems to find some conflicts but then we found more and more information about existing and possible conflicts. We think that an important conflict was the Cochabamba conflict in Bolivia and it is also important to learn about future possible conflicts.

...a footnote about group work and responsibility:

An important job had to be done and EVERYBODY was sure that SOMEBODY would do it. 
ANYBODY could have done it, but NOBODY did it. 
SOMEBODY got angry about that because it was EVERYBODY’s job. 
EVERYBODY thought that ANYBODY could do it, but NOBODY realized that EVERYBODY wouldn’t do it. 
It ended up that EVERYBODY blamed SOMEBODY when NOBODY did what ANYBODY could have done.