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COLOMBIA: PIPELINE WAR

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total length: 16:58

Clip 1 (length 5:50)
Aftermath of a rebel attack on Colombia's oil pipeline

Clip 2 (length 5:18)
Profiting from oil in Colombia's civil war

Clip 3 (length 5:50)
The paramilitaries' campaign of 'social cleaning'



Image from the storyAddress Concerns Caused by Conflict in Colombia

Target Grade Levels:
Grades 7-12

Themes:
Poverty, Oil Industry, Human Rights, Conflict Resolution

The Activity
Relevant National Standards
Cross-Curricular Activities
Ties to Literature


The Activity


The instability caused by Colombia's bloody civil war and violent drug trade has long served to limit foreign investment in the country. But Colombia's extensive oil reserves have attracted interest within the United States as it moves to further diversify its sources of oil imports. Tapping Colombian oil, however, has come at a hefty price both for civilians and for the environment. Colombia is one of many conflicted regions across the globe that shows the shaky balance between multinational investing interests and the potential for those interests to exacerbate existing internal conflicts. Frequent rebel attacks on the oil pipeline cause oil to spill into water wells and other water sources, forcing many of Colombia's poor to leave their homes for lack of clean water. Some estimates place the volume of crude oil that has spilled into Colombia's rivers and ranges over the past 15 years at 2.5 million barrels -- a total volume 10 times greater than that of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.

Explain to students that they are going to propose some strategies for reducing the negative impact of oil development on the people of Colombia and the environment. First, show the class where Colombia is on a map. Then, help them get up to speed on the key issues and players involved in Colombia's pipeline war. Divide the class into 10 teams and assign each team one of the stakeholder groups profiled in "Who's Who in the Pipeline War in Colombia".
pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/colombia/characters.html
Have each team read the profile of their assigned group then determine what motivates that stakeholder. Other Web sites with information on the stakeholders profiled in "Who's Who in the Pipeline War in Colombia" can be found in the Links & Resources
pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/colombia/links.html
section of the story "Colombia: Pipeline War."

Next, have a town meeting of sorts at which all assigned stakeholder groups advocate for their issues, listen carefully to others' perspectives and compromise as appropriate. Ask students to consider these questions.

  • What strategies are the most viable for preventing pipeline oil spills and protecting civilians?
  • On what issues does it make the most sense for the parties to compromise?
  • Among these parties, who carries the largest sense of responsibility for making change?
Debrief with students about the town meeting, and if possible, have students share their ideas with players in Colombia's pipeline war.

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Relevant National Standards


These standards are drawn from "Content Knowledge," a compilation of content standards and benchmarks for K-12 curriculum by McRel (Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning), at (http://www.mcrel.org/standards-benchmarks/).

Economics, Standard 1: Understands that scarcity of productive resources requires choices that generate opportunity costs

Geography, Standard 13: Understands the forces of cooperation and conflict that shape the divisions of Earth's surface

Level III, Benchmark 5
Understands the factors that affect the cohesiveness and integration of countries
Geography, Standard 16: Understands the changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution and importance of resources
Level III, Benchmark 2
Knows strategies for wise management and use of renewable, flow and nonrenewable resources (e.g., wise management of agricultural soils, fossil fuels and alternative energy sources; community programs for recycling or reusing materials)
World History, Standard 44: Understands the search for community, stability and peace in an interdependent world
Level III, Benchmark 4
Understands instances of political conflict and terrorism in modern society
Level III, Benchmark 8
Understands the role and difficulties of the present-day migrant worker (e.g., the Southeast Asian domestic in the Persian Gulf, the American oil executive in Saudi Arabia, the Moroccan factory worker in France)
Level IV, Benchmark 1
Understands the influences on and impact of cultural trends in the second half of the 20th century
Level IV, Benchmark 4
Understands the oil crisis and its aftermath in the 1970s (e.g., how the oil crisis revealed the extent and complexity of global economic interdependence; events that have affected world oil prices since 1950; relationships between U.S. domestic energy policy and foreign policy in oil-producing regions since 1970)
Level IV, Benchmark 6
Understands the role of ethnicity, cultural identity and religious beliefs in shaping economic and political conflicts across the globe

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Cross-Curricular Activities
Consider building on the themes of the above activity by working with colleagues in other disciplines to conduct the following activities.


Examine the Effects of Disease Across Time (Health)

The Activity

Create a matrix that examines the social, economic and political effects of disease epidemics across time. Divide students into groups and have each group choose a disease featured on the Epidemics Through Time
pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/hongkong/epidemics.html
map. Be sure one group chooses SARS so an example of a recent outbreak is included. Using the map and other research materials i.e. Links and Resources,
pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/hongkong/links.html
have each group fill in the class matrix with the following information about their assigned disease: name of disease, details of its outbreak (including geographic areas affected), mode of transmission, and one social, one economic and one political effect of the disease. When the matrix is complete, discuss these questions.

  • What are some of the similarities and differences of the diseases?
  • In our modern world, how is the mode of transmission different from earlier times?
  • Should the United States be concerned about disease outbreaks in foreign countries? Why or why not?

Resources

Visit the "Hong Kong: Chasing the Virus" Web resources to find the features mentioned in this activity, to watch the full FRONTLINE/World segment in streaming video, or to gather related links and facts:
pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/hongkong/

Relevant National Standards

Health, Standard 2: Knows environmental and external factors that affect individual and community health

Health, Standard 8: Knows essential concepts about the prevention and control of disease

Level IV, Benchmark 4
Understands the social, economic and political effects of disease on individuals, families and communities

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Track the Discovery, Spread and Control of Disease (Health, Life Sciences)

The Activity

Create a flow chart following the SARS crisis from its outbreak to the discovery that peptides can prevent the SARS virus from penetrating cells. Students can find information for their charts in the story overview
pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/hongkong/thestory.html
for "Hong Kong: Chasing the Virus" and in "Peptides, Antibodies, Membranes ... What?".
pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/hongkong/science.html
Students also can complete their flow charts by watching the video (about 13 minutes long) of this story.

Resources

Visit the "Hong Kong: Chasing the Virus" Web resources to find the features mentioned in this activity, to watch the full FRONTLINE/World segment in streaming video, or to gather related links and facts:
pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/hongkong/

Relevant National Standards

Health, Standard 2: Knows environmental and external factors that affect individual and community health

Level IV, Benchmark 3
Understands how the environment influences the health of the community
Level IV, Benchmark 4
Understands how the prevention and control of health problems are influenced by research and medical advances
Life Sciences, Standard 5: Understands the structure and function of cells and organisms

Level III, Benchmark 4
Knows that multicellular organisms have a variety of specialized cells, tissues, organs and organ systems that perform specialized functions
Level III, Benchmark 8
Knows that disease in organisms can be caused by intrinsic failures of the system or infection by other organisms

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Calculate When the Oil Industry Will Dry Up (Mathematics)

The Activity

Have students use the statistics provided in the feature "Charting the World's Oil"
pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/colombia/oil.html
to answer these questions.

  • Based on the current level of oil production for each country (given in millions of barrels per day in "Where Is the World's Oil Currently Produced?"), in what year will each country's oil reserves (given in billions of barrels remaining in "Where Are the World's Oil Reserves?") run out?
  • What is the projected percentage of increase in world and U.S. oil demand between now and the year 2020? (See the Surprising Facts section.)
After students have finished their calculations, have them discuss these questions.
  • How might the United States' demand for oil influence its foreign policy decisions?
  • How could the United States decrease its demand for oil?

Resources

Web site for "Charting the World's Oil"
pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/colombia/oil.html

Visit the FRONTLINE/World Fellows story "Peru: Gamble in the Jungle" for another look at the issues involved in balancing natural resource exploration and the environment:
pbs.org/frontlineworld/fellows/peru0803/

Relevant National Standards

Mathematics, Standard 3: Uses basic and advanced procedures while performing the processes of computation

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Draw Musical Inspiration from Nature and World Cultures (Music)

The Activity

Using Icelandic music as a case study, explore how the environment inspires music as well as how cultures around the world influence one another's music. Begin by having students pretend to be reporters covering the Icelandic music scene. Using the feature "Long Nights Out With Top Icelandic Bands",
pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/iceland/music.html
ask students to choose one band and write a descriptive review of its music. Reviews should include student hypotheses and supporting explanations for what they believe has inspired the band's sound (for example, Iceland's moonlike geography, its endless summer days and winter nights, its frequent economic interactions with the United States and Germany, and so on). Students may wish to consult the Facts & Stats section
pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/iceland/facts.html
on Iceland for information and ideas.

Resources

Visit the "Iceland: The Future of Sound" Web resources to find the features utilized in this activity, to watch the full FRONTLINE/World segment in streaming video, to read an interview with music reporter Marco Werman, or to find related links:
pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/iceland/

Relevant National Standards

Music, Standard 7: Understands the relationship between music and history and culture

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