Le monde en images - Dealing with global warming in Bangladesh (Activité en anglais)


Geography, English, Sciences, Current events



Time needed:

One/two school lesson(s).


  1. Ask students to go to the following pages of the module :

  2. Make sure they understand and differenciate the following terms :

    • Global warming: Current increase in the average temperature of the Earth's near-surface air and oceans since the mid-twentieth century, and its projected continuation.
    • Greenhouse effect: Greenhouses gases trap heat in Earth's atmosphere, within the surface-troposphere system.
    • Global change, climate change, global climate change: These terms sum up global warming and its consequences. The term "climate" implies that rising temperatures are not the only effect of global warming.
  3. Have them list and discuss the (future) effects of global warming.
    Draw on the board a table with 2 columns : global warming effects and examples.

    Example of a list of global warming effects :
    • Climate change (ex: increase of temperature in the mediterranean region)
    • Sea level rise
    • Extreme weather events (ex: storms, heat waves)
    • Changed amount and pattern of precipitation (ex: droughts, floods)
    • Changes in agricultural yields
    • Changes in trade routes
    • Glacier retreat
    • Species extinctions (ex: polar bear)
    • Increases in the ranges of disease vectors (ex: mosquitos)
    • ...
  4. Ask students to read the following page in the module :

    Can they think of how global warming could affect Bangladesh ?
    Add a third column to the table and mark a cross for each global warming consequence that could affect Bangladesh. At this point, students should realize that pretty much all global warming effects they have listed will have an impact in Bangladesh.
    It is important to strengthen that global warming has global consequences.

  5. Tell the students the following facts about Bangladesh (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangladesh) :

    • Bangladesh is among the most densely populated countries in the world and has a high poverty rate. In 2007, the country counted 150 000 000 inhabitants with a density of 1045 habitant/km².
    • Bangladesh is located in the low-lying Ganges-Brahmaputra River Delta. The alluvial soil deposited by these rivers has created some of the most fertile plains in the world. Most parts of Bangladesh are less than 12 metres above the sea level.
    • Straddling the Tropic of Cancer, Bangladeshi climate is tropical with a mild winter from October to March, a hot, humid summer from March to June. A warm and humid monsoon season lasts from June to October and supplies most of the country's rainfall.
    • Natural calamities, such as floods, tropical cyclones, tornadoes, and tidal bores occur almost every year, combined with the effects of deforestation, soil degradation and erosion.
    • Despite continuous domestic and international efforts to improve economic and demographic prospects, Bangladesh remains a developing nation. One significant contributor to the development of the economy has been the widespread propagation of microcredit by Muhammad Yunus (awarded the Nobel peace prize in 2006) through the Grameen Bank.

    Have the students think and debate about what could be the worst global warming consequence for Bangladesh (possibly extreme weather events and sea level rise causing floods).

  6. Give the students a print out of the article Bangladesh: Country expands despite global warming (24 MB .rtf file).
    Ask them to summarize the article in 10 sentences (or in 10 lines).

    Example of a summary :
    • Bangladesh is getting bigger and bigger because of sediments deposits into the Bay of Bengal. This process is called "accretion".
    • This process was measured by satellites since 30 years. The country is growing of about 20 km² annually.
    • Climate change will cause the sea-level to rise, threatening 1/5 of Bangladesh land mass (and 20 millions of inhabitants) to be under water.
    • However, the predicted sea rise is expected to exceed by far the rate of sedimentation, thus causing inundations.
    • Building dams, dykes and polders is the only way to prevent floods and intrusion of saline water near the coasts.
    • Bangladesh - one of the lowest producers of greenhouse gases – will need to ask international donors billions of dollars to fight the effects of climate change.

    Make sure the map of population density within and outside of a 10 m Low Elevation Coastal Zone (LECZ) is understood by everyone.

  7. Have the students locate Bangladesh on the CO2 map previously opened. Have them analyze also the map of greenhouse gas emissions by country and the per capita by country map given at the end of the article.
    Students should realize that countries are not egal regarding their greenhouse gases emissions.
    Which are the countries who emit more ? What type of countries are they ?
    Why are the maps per country and per capita so different ? (because of very densely populated countries)
    Have them debate about the fact that one of the lowest greenhouse gases producers (Bangladesh) will have to fight so hard against the effects of climate change.

  8. Extra - More articles about climate change issues in Bangladesh :