Featured Article: “The Women Fighting to Protect Greenland” by Jack Ewing
Greenland is the world’s largest island, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, and it has rare minerals needed for green technology like electric cars and wind turbines. But protesters are blocking a project to mine those minerals, sending a message to mining companies that they can’t exploit people or their land without a fight.
In this lesson, you will learn about the predominantly Indigenous residents of the village of Narsaq, Greenland, who stood up for their home and fought the outside mining companies. Then, you will write about a time when you stood up, spoke out or took action for what you thought was right.
What are you willing to stand up and fight for?
Brainstorm a list of things — people, places and issues — you would fight for. Your list could include your family and friends, as well as animal rights, the environment or a good education.
Next, find a partner and share and discuss your lists.
Finally, reflect together: Why is it important to stand up for what you believe? What if nobody did?
Here are 10 words you’ll find in this article that you may not know:
1. unpopular 2. mining 3. campaign 4. parliament 5. represent 6. logo 7. responsibility 8. varied 9. pity 10. movingly
Which words are you familiar with? Which are new to you?
Use this list of words and their definitions on Vocabulary.com to learn what each means and to practice using them.
Not sure where Greenland is? Check out this map. (By the way, the island isn’t so green. In fact, it’s pretty icy, as you’ll see in the photos below.)
Questions for Writing and Discussion
Click through and read the article above as a slide show or read it here as a PDF. If you want to learn more about Greenland and the conflict over mining, you can read a longer version of the article. Then answer the following questions:
1. Look at the photos: What can you learn about Greenland from them? What story do they tell about the anti-mine campaign on the island?
2. What group of people has led the effort to block the mine near the village of Narsaq? How has Mariane Paviasen in particular been important in this fight?
3. Why did the farmer Aviaja Lennert say “I feel I have a responsibility” to support the protest group? When have you felt a strong responsibility to speak up or take a stand?
4. What does Elna Jensen, an activist, love and appreciate about Greenland and the way of life there? What things do you love most about where you live?
5. What is your reaction to the article? Pick one quote or image that stands out most and explain why.
6. What inspiration can we take from the women profiled in the article? Does the article change any of your ideas about how protests can bring about change?
Write about a time when you stood up, spoke out or took action for something you believed in.
Did you get involved in a protest, a march or a demonstration? Did you step in to break up an argument or a fight? Did you give something up, like eating meat?
Keep in mind that your action doesn’t have to be big or dramatic. Sometimes standing up for what you believe in can just mean offering a kind word or a hand on the shoulder, or simply saying, “I disagree.”
Take a few moments to reflect on these questions, then respond in writing using the sentence starters below as a guide:
A time when I spoke up, spoke out or took action was when I _________.
I felt I had a responsibility because __________.
My efforts helped to make a difference because _________.
Additional Teaching and Learning Opportunities
Learn more about the anti-mine efforts in Greenland. Watch the short video “Greenland Election to Decide Fate of Rare Earth Mining” by TRT World. How does what you watched add to or change your understanding of the issues you learned about in the featured article? If you lived in Greenland and could vote, would you have voted for political leaders and parties who supported the development of mining? Or would you have supported the efforts of Ms. Paviasen and her anti-mine party to protect the land and people from the dangers of rare mineral extraction? In general, how should we decide how to balance business and consumer interests (being able to buy things cheaply) with the rights, safety and well-being of local communities?
Learn more about growing up in Greenland. Watch “Arctic Boyhood,” a five-minute film that explores the lives of the coastal inhabitants of Greenland’s Tasiilaq villages, and in particular, of Asser Boassen, an 8-year-old Tunumiit boy. Afterward, discuss with a partner: What are the joys, beauties and challenges of growing up in Greenland? How different is it from your own childhood? What further questions do you have about life there? Would you want to live there?
Want more Lessons of the Day? You can find them all here.