This online unit of work focuses upon the interconnections and inter-relationships that link teenage consumers living in the UK with societies and environments overseas (where the goods they purchase are made). As well as explaining how these connections work – and why they have come into being – the unit introduces students to some of the moral, ethical and environmental issues that are associated with the global trade in consumer goods (including child labour and food miles).
The first lesson introduces students to the idea of global supply chains. Referencing a variety of ‘stuff’ (from laptop computers to Hip-Hop music), the global ingredients of consumer products are recorded and mapped. An investigation is undertaken into why consumerism – especially amongst teenagers – has grown so much in recent decades and why such complex supply chains now exist to help feed demand.
The middle part of the unit looks at the places and spaces where ‘stuff’ is bought and consumed. An analysis is undertaken of the different kinds of retail environment found in the UK and the advantages and disadvantages that these bring to local societies and environments. Online retailing is also put under the spotlight.
The last two lessons of the unit deal with big issues including child labour and the environmental and social impacts of global trade. The explore and assess prospects for change and strategies for action around these issues.
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