Unit 1

Background

Throughout history, land has been of central importance. People have stolen and reclaimed land and even fought wars over it.

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THE MEANING AND IMPORTANCE OF LAND

Farmers in rural Africa working the land

The way in which land is valued is dependent on our culture, where we are located in society and how our various needs are met.

For many rural communities around the world, land is linked with access to food and other fundamental needs. In many cases it is tied to a community’s culture, identity, religion and livelihood, and therefore its very survival. For them land is life. However, for those living in industrialised nations who do not depend directly on land to meet their basic needs, it is increasingly being viewed as a source of profit – a commodity which can be divided up and bought and sold.

Tractor in field

As countries industrialise and populations increase, competition for natural resources and the world’s limited supply of land has increased to meet a growing number of needs and lifestyle requirements. As a result, subsistence farmers and small-scale food producers living in rural areas have become increasingly at risk of losing the land they depend on for their survival.

Activity Guide

Activity 1.1 Land and Lifestyle Priorities

This ranking activity encourages students to consider where land fits amongst their other lifestyle priorities, and to explore the similarities and differences in values and attitudes towards land within the class group and between different cultures.

Activity 1.2 The Demand for Land

This activity encourages students to think about why there is competition for land, and the importance of land in meeting the fundamental needs of many people around the world.