Rice 8 – Fairtrade in a Changing Climate – Geography

In this lesson the children complete a comic strip to show how climate change affects farmers in Thailand.

Curriculum links: KS2 Geography

Learning Objective: To understand the impact of climate change.
Learning Outcome: Children understand the impact of climate change on Green Net rice farmers and how Fairtrade will help them to overcome it.

Resources needed: Traidcraft Map, Thailand Country Profile, Green Net Producer group profile, How does Fairtrade help Thai rice farmers manage climate change? Comic strip.

Starter: Before beginning the activity identify with the class the meanings of climate change and Fairtrade. Ask them whether there are any links between them. Find Thailand on the Traidcraft Map. Using atlases or the internet (http://www.maps-thailand.com/ ) pupils identify Bangkok, the capital of Thailand and base of Green Net on the map. They then find Yasothon province where the majority of the rice farmers Green Net work with live. Ask the class what they think the Thai climate is? (information can be found in the Country profile).

Main activity: Using the comic strip to explore the issue, discuss with the class what impact climate change might be having on the Thai climate.

Due to climate change Thai farmers in Yasothon are struggling with more extreme weather conditions. There is already a small increase in temperature and a small increase in total rainfall. However, importantly, there is a decrease in the number of days the rain is falling. For rice farmers this means that there are longer dry spells between rain and when the rain comes it can bring severe floods.

For more info: http://www.greennet.or.th/ClimateChange/e7001.htm

How can Fairtrade help Green Net farmers overcome these challenges?

Remind/explain the Fairtrade premium to the class. Can the class think of ideas of how Green Net can help the farmers maintain their rice crops?

• To help farmers tend the rice during the periods where there is no rain they could dig ponds to keep rain water, meaning they are able to water their crops.
• Farmers could plant different types of vegetables so if the rice crop fails they have something else to sell in the local market.
• Farmers could store their crops better in dry sheds which means that they are able to keep them for longer, and able to feed their families.

Pupils complete the comic strip, illustrating the ways Fairtrade can help Green Net farmers and then write what is happening in the space below each picture.

Plenary: Sit in a circle and pass around a packet of Fairtrade rice. Only the person holding it can talk. Ask each pupil to tell the class one thing they have learnt from the lesson or one thing they would like to find out about Thailand, Fairtrade or climate change. They then choose who to pass it onto.