001 - Divergent


Geographic Knowledge and Understanding

Divergent thinking about population and resource consumption trends:

Pessimistic views, including neo-Malthusian views

Optimistic views, including Boserup

Balanced views, including resource stewardship

Key Concepts

Knowing the different views surrounding resource consumption can give countries the power to utilise their resources effectively.


  • To have knowledge and the understanding of the contrasting views on resource consumption.

Key Terminology

            • Stewardship

            • Divergent

            • Neo-Malthusian thought

            • Boserup

We will be using the words above during the course of the lesson. If you get to the end of the lesson and you are still not sure what they are click on the useful links below to find out their meaning.

Useful Links

Activity One - Comprehension

Watch the youtube clip below which is based on historians showing you that History is old Geography. Use the information in that clip to answer the following questions:

  1. What is divergent thinking?

  2. Describe Malthusian views on resources and population change.

  3. What are the neo-Malthusian views?

  4. Watch the second youtube clip and make notes on whether we need small families to save the planet. Remember to include data in your notes - this is evidence.

  5. Read the first article in the 'Useful Resources' box and write down how the article agrees with neo-Malthusian theory and how it goes against it.

  6. Boserup's approach to viewing population and resources was quite different to Malthus and neo-Malthusian views. She could be termed as optimistic in her approach. With the aid of a diagram describe Boserupian Theory.

  7. What evidence is there to suggest that Boserup's views are correct?

  8. Define the term resource stewardship.

  9. How can resource stewardship be seen as a balanced view? (Somewhere between neo-Malthusian view and Boserup)

  10. Click on the link that will take you to the UNs SDGs. Which ones promote resource stewardship? Explain your answer.

  11. Choose two SDGs that specifically focus on resource stewardship and summaries their goals/targets (no more than three targets).

  12. What evidence is there in the media to suggest that resource stewardship is a key focus for countries? Conduct a 5 minute internet search to help you with this.

Useful Resources

Population, Sustainability and Resources

Crash Course History

Small Families, Small Planet

Population Matters

Activity Two - Debate

The class will be divided into three key teams. Each team will be given a specific view on resources to focus on. Your teams role is to argue why that view on population and resources is correct. This is not just an opinion piece you need evidence to illustrate and give strength to your arguments. You will have 10 minutes to prepare your speeches.