Intro Lesson About
Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3 Lesson 4 Lesson 5 Lesson 6 Lesson 7 Lesson 8 Lesson 9 Lesson 10

Lesson 9: Today

Lesson at a glance

The transformation of your land division since the turn of the 20th century has left you where you are today. There have no doubt been changes in population—the numbers of people, new immigrants, and so forth. The land and sea may also have been changed through introduced species, plantation agriculture, or other changes in land use such as urbanization and paved roads.



Demography is the study of the characteristics populations. Demographers look at things such as numbers of births and deaths over time, immmigration and emigration, breakdown by sex, age, ethnicity and income, and any other measurements of the ways in which people differ within or across groups..

Social scientists use demographic data to look at specific changes in populations over time

In this lesson you will look at the demographic characteristics of your own community.


This lesson focuses on the present. It prepares you for the final Onwards lesson, where we explore how your community is looking towards the future.

Key Concepts: Demographics, economic activities, environment and land-use changes

Lesson Outcomes: You will:

  • examine the demographic make-up of your community
  • identify environmental issues that affect your community today
  • identify the most important contemporary issues facing your community
  • compare the issues within your area with those in other parts of the Pacific


  • Census figures or population data for your area or island entity
  • Zoning map of your area, if applicable
  • A local telephone directory -- Yellow Pages.
  • Graph paper
  • Contemporary maps of your area showing environments and land uses
  • Wiki lesson on making bar graphs:


Exercise 1: People
Website: Today > People

Using population data for your entity, look at the population breakdown for your area with particular attention to the following categories:

  • Ethnic Origin
  • Age
  • Income
  • Sex

Use graph paper to make a simple chart to show the structure of the population by age and sex, with females on one side and males on the other. This is called a "population pyramid" because there are generally a lot of little children, then fewer and fewer by age group as people die, with a much smaller number of very elderly. You can use whatever categories come with the data you have, or break into groups of five years (0-5, 6-10, 11-15, and so on).

Discuss what this information tells you about your community.


  • how much of your population is comprised of people who do not have ancestry in your community, but have arrived since "contact" with the rest of the world
  • How has your community responded to the arrival of these people?


Discuss what forces have brought newcomers to your community since Explorers arrived.


Exercise 2: Environment
Website: Today > Environment

What information do you have about the environments of your territory from the past, and from today? How does your environment today compare with what your parents and grandparents remember?

What unique species of birds, plants or mammals exist in your territory? Are there still plenty of them?

What pest species have been introduced to your territory? Why, when, and from where?

hookWhat efforts are underway in your entity to protect the environment? What can you do?



Exercise 3: Issues
Website: Today > Issues

Either by yourself or with a partner or group, discuss what you think are the most pressing issues affecting your community today. These could be social, economic, cultural, political, environmental or whatever.

What changes brought about each issue?

How does each issue affect you and your community?

What do you think are the best solutions to each issue?

How would you go about implementing these solutions?

hookFor each issue you have identified, search the internet to see whether other communities are dealing with the same issues. Most likely there are some, if not several. Look at what solutions they propose and discuss whether they would work for your community.


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