Carefully Managing the Earth's Resources
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.6 Describe how the civil society sector is often the origin of new ideas, projects and innovation and social renewal.
    2. Standard DP 03. Names and Types of Organizations within the Civil Society Sector
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Recognize and use a variety of terms related to the civil society sector appropriately, and identify the characteristics the terms describe.
    3. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Identify the major operational characteristics of organizations in the civil society sector.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Discuss and give examples of why some humans will sacrifice for the benefit of unknown others.
      2. Benchmark HS.4 Describe and give examples of characteristics of someone who helps others.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define and give examples of motivations for giving and serving.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Compare and contrast enlightened self-interest, egoism, and altruism as they relate to philanthropy and principles of democracy.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.
    3. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Provide a needed service.
    4. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark HS.3 Identify outcomes from the service.

The students define philanthropy and relate it to environmental stewardship. They analyze mission statements from environmental organizations and write their own personal mission statement. They self-select a group to work with to plan and implement an environmental service project.

PrintOne 45-Minute Session and additional time to plan, implement, and reflect on service.

The learners will:

  • define philanthropy, mission statement, altruism, enlightened self-interest.
  • analyze mission statements from environmental stewardship nonproifts.
  • write a personal mission statement about environmental stewardship.
  • develop and implement an act of environmental stewardship
  • Internet access for video and online article/statistics (if possible)
  • Chart paper for group notes
  • Print copies of a local map showing green areas. Two sources for printing maps are Google Maps and Bing Maps. Zoom in to your area using the Bird's Eye View.

Film "What Is Philanthropy?" 

  1. Anticipatory Set

    Put the word philanthropy on the board. Ask the learners for their own definitions of the term. If Internet is available, show the video What Is Philanthropy? 

  2. Explain that philanthropy is “the giving of one's time, talent or treasure for the sake of another, or for the common good.” Philanthropy includes voluntary action for the public good or giving and serving to promote human welfare.

  3. Remind the students of the definition of enviornmental steward learned in the previous lesson. Tell the students that when someone acts as an environmentatl steward, they are a philanthropist.·

  4. Tell the students that businesses and nonprofit organizations often have a mission statement. Define a mission statement as “a concise statement of personal belief and purpose that defines goals and/or sets direction.” They may include two or three sentences which highlight why they exist and how they will function. The mission statement will usually answer the following questions: Who are we, who do we serve, what do we do, how will we do it?

  5. Using Sample Mission Statements (handout below), give the learners examples of actual mission statements. Group the class into five groups and assign one of the mission statements to each group. Ask them to analyze the statement to determine if it answers the four questions: Who are we, who do we serve, what do we do, how will we do it? If not, ask them to add text to complete what they think is missing. (For the purpose of understanding mission statements, it's not necessary for the students to research the organization to do this, they may conjecture about what the organziaton might do.) Ask each group to read their organziation's mission statement and what additions they made, if any.

  6. Tell the students that all the mission statements are from environmental stewardship organziations. These organizations were formed by individual or groups of indivdiuals who care about sustaining the environment for the common good. Hold a class discussion on why people are motivated to form these kinds of organziations? During the discussion, introduce and define the words: altruism, enlightened self-interest, and common good.

  7. Tell the students that just as businesses or organizations have mission statements, individuals may also have a personal mission statement. The pronoun “we” is replaced with “I” for a personal mission statement.

    Have youth write a personal mission statement about environmental stewardship.

  8. Challenge youth to write a personal mission statement in 25 words or less that expresses their personal beliefs about their responsibility to the environment. Have youth write drafts and meet with others for peer review and editing until they have concise statements using correct spelling, acceptable grammar mechanics, and legibility. The mission statement should clearly and accurately define:

    • Who am I?
    • Who will I serve?
    • What will I do?
    • How will I do it?
  9. When youth are ready to share, have them post their mission statements around the room (with or without names on them). Have youth walk around the room and read each others’ statements. Ask that they bring a notepad to take notes on wording or comments that inspire them.

    Have students note those statments that are similar and to suggest categories of environmental interests/action reflected in the mission statments.

    Form groups based on similar interests and statement.

  10. Encourage the groups to develop a service plan to take personal action and to advocate for the responsible use of the Earth’s resources. Guide the students in developing a realistic plan of action, carry out the plan and document the impact.


Read:  If you use a map to locate the major cities around the world, you will discover that many of them have one thing in common. Cities throughout history have been located near rivers or oceans.  That’s because they provide a source of water for drinking, growing crops, transportation, and power to generate electricity.  But as these cities grew, more and more of them have developed things that once didn’t appear to be a problem but now have become a problem.  For example, the once commonly held belief --"running water purifies all" --- allowed cities to use its rivers and streams to carry away community and manufacturing wastes. More and more run-off water enters our water ways directly rather than being naturally filtered by running through permeable surfaces because of all the impermeable surfaces surrounding them. Almost daily, legislation is now being proposed to enforce stricter usage of rivers and streams all across our globe. It is in an attempt to make them safer and healthier for animal and human usage. But the question remains, how did this problem sneak up on us without our realization that we would eventually have the problems we have today. One environmentalist explains it this way, “It’s the Boiling Frog story all over again.” He explained, “A frog can be boiled alive if the water is heated slowly enough. If you place a frog in boiling water, it will jump out. But if the frog is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will never jump out. When it comes to the use of our rivers and streams we were not aware of the catastrophic loss we would experience as a result of the gradual change in our cities and areas surrounding them.”

Discuss: As we look around our community are there any “gradual” changes that have occurred that started out not being a problem but have now become one? In what ways did we or can we become more aware of problems or potential problems in our community? Why is it important to avoid an “out of sight, out of mind” approach to caring for our environment?  Are making and enforcing laws the only way to right the wrongs? Why or why not?