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Probable Futures


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Biology

Resource Type

  • Ebooks

Regional Focus




Land: Our Inheritance

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  • This brief reading explores the relationship between land and humans over time and the importance of giving back to nature.
  • The reading includes an animated map and graph, and discusses how humans have used and changed land surfaces all over the planet and what that means for the climate and biosphere.
Teaching Tips


  • This reading includes charts and maps that show the change in global land use and climate zones over time and through different levels of warming, respectively.
  • It simplifies complex scientific concepts and provides an easy-to-understand timeline.
  • This resource is an excellent introduction to indigenous knowledge and its potential for climate mitigation.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This reading is the second part of a four-part series on land but can be read as a standalone.
  • The animated graph and map can be paused to view the data after a specific century or the state of land at a certain temperature.
  • Students should know how to read charts and maps and have a general understanding of terms like biosphere, colonization, industrialization, and biodiversity.


  • This resource can be used in history classes during lessons about the progression of human civilization and the use of science and technology.
  • Geography classes could use this resource during lessons about how the geographic differences in the development of civilizations.
  • Although the text's primary solution is restoration and giving back to the land what we take, have students also consider the potential impact of reducing consumption and only taking what we need from the land. Have students brainstorm actual solutions that would achieve this goal and protect natural ecosystems.
  • In social studies classes, connect this reading with climate solutions that support equal access to education and healthcare as a means to reduce consumption and the increasing pressures on our planet.
Scientist Notes
This resource provides in detail, the history of civilization, how land use has changed as a result of population growth, cultural practices and human activities. Although, some cultural practices have benefitted nature in some locations, it contrary in other geographies. However, this resource re-awakens our commitment to protecting nature and its biodiversity, our land and the climate. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-3 Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
      • HS-ESS3-5 Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: History/Social Studies (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.3 Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text's explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.
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