This article assesses grassland protection as a climate solution and quantifies the amount of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions that could be realistically avoided or sequestered by 2050 using two different conservation scenarios.
The article also describes how grasslands serve as carbon sinks and how this important habitat is threatened by land conversions such as agriculture and development.
This article serves as an excellent example of providing scientific evidence to defend a claim and explaining research methods.
This reading will support learners in developing their scientific literacy as they read a brief technical text with domain-specific vocabulary, multiple units of measurement, and a concise tone.
Learners should be familiar with the unit gigaton, the unit in which carbon emissions are measured.
Learners should understand concepts such as carbon sequestration, carbon sink, carbon emissions, and land conversion.
This interactive table of solutions can be used to show students the rankings of solutions by scenario on the Drawdown website and may make it easier to understand the relative impact of grassland protection.
The information in this article provides the opportunity for interdisciplinary study in math, biology, and ecology by quantifying the different models and results of land protection.
Consider having students discuss social and economic barriers to grassland protection and talk critically about the viability of this solution.
As an extension, students could identify major grassland habitats and species in their region and investigate whether or not they are legally protected or if they contain endangered or threatened species.
This is a brief overview of the impact that grasslands can have on greenhouse gas emissions. A solution to retaining these grasslands is presented along with a methodology, results, and discussion about the proposed solution to retain natural grasslands. This resource allows students the ability to think critically about what are viable solutions to climate change. The material is well sourced and encourages thoughtful discussion. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 texts and topics.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 11-12 texts and topics.