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Curriculum: Agriculture: Energy & Environmental Technology [ 119.22(c)(4)]

The Texas Legacy site hosts a variety of educational curricula, lesson plans, keys and ideas, and supporting media, including video, databases, transcripts and other material.  Below you can find the TEKS Agriculture standards for Energy and Environmental Technology, particularly Land Use Planning as described in section 119.22(c)(4), with relevant activities drawn from this archive.

Goal:  The student recognizes the importance of land use planning:

  

Excerpts of TEKS Text

TexasLegacy.org  Relevance

Suggested Activities

 

(A)  identify the principles of land use;

 

 

TexasLegacy.org archive has numerous discussions of the principles, considerations, and trends in land use.

 

A central principle of land use is compatibility, both of compatibility between the use and the land, and between one landowner's use of his property and that of his neighbor.

San Antonio landscape architect, Larry DeMartino, discusses the idea of how land can both support and limit certain uses.  George Rice, a San Antonio groundwater hydrologist, gives an example of how the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone can limit safe land uses and practices.

Farnsworth banker, Jeanne Gramstorff, and Perryton farmer, Donnie Dendy, explain how one neighbor's land use can impinge on another's, using the example of the odors, dust, flies and nitrates that escape from a pig and cattle feeding operations.

 

 

(B)  define considerations for land use management; and

 

There are extensive conversations among TexasLegacy.org participants on how to best manage, require and encourage wise land use.

 

There are a variety of tools for encouraging, and in some cases, mandating appropriate land use.

Some urge providing information about the economic returns from sound land use.  For instance, the celebration of ecotourism is intended to encourage landowners to preserve their land for the revenue that they can earn from hunting, birding, fishing and other outdoor pursuits.  Please see our video, Our Place in Nature, which gives a number of perspectives about ecotourism.  The shorter excerpts from hunter David Langford and birder Tom Pincelli are other lessons in how good information can lead to wise land use.

Others feel that there is a natural motive to maximize return on land and other property, even if the costs are externalized to neighbors and the general public (please see Smitty Smith's teasing about the extent of air polluters' voluntary good intentions).  From this perspective, proper land use requires a clear governmental standard and mandate.  Houston air quality inspector, Brandt Mannchen, explains his preference for an explicit law laying out the requirements. 

Still other observers think that better land use will ensue from a combination of information about good practices and government regulations that eliminate subsidies for poor practices.  For example, investment in renewable energy should increase as the public and government has better information about the climate, air quality, and national security risks of fossil fuels, and as government pulls back on depletion allowances for petroleum, liability insurance for nuclear energy, and other subsidies.  Utility advocates Smitty Smith and Russel Smith explain the promise of renewable energy if society is well-informed and the market playing field is level.

 

 

(C)  compare land use policy trends.

 

TexasLegacy.org narrators are witnessing a fascinating evolution in land use policy, as more elected officials and members of the general public realize the uniqueness, limited quantity, and vulnerable nature of land even in a big state like this.

 

Texas is a relatively young, and still rapidly growing, state.  We are still coming to terms with the fact that Texas is a finite place increasingly affected by our neighbors' land use (see remote sensing specialist, Kamlesh Lulla's excerpt), as well as our own population (please see the remarks from mammalogist, David Schmidly).

As we continue to populate and learn about this state, we are gaining a better sense of place.  In other words, Texans are starting to see what makes Texas unique, and how to best protect and enhance those qualities. 

One land use policy trend is the recognition and protection of our historic resources.  Landowner Mary "Sissy" Fenstermaker recalls her forebears' efforts to protect the frontier Fort Davis post.

Another land use policy trend comes under the name of  "smart growth", or "compact city".  Houston urban planner, Barrie Zimmelman, and San Antonio politician, Helen Dutmer, talk about the struggle to keep the integrity of cities' downtown, and to rein in the tendency to sprawl out over the landscape.

A third land use policy trend is the effort to minimize environmental injustice, and to reduce and heal the "sacrifice zones" that have long hosted the dangerous, unhealthy industries and wastes of our society.  Phyllis Glazer, a northeast Texas rancher, Grover Hankins, a Houston attorney, Meg Guerra, a Laredo publisher, and Sylvia Herrera and Susana Almanza, Austin health advocates talk about their struggle to improve land use, and make it more compatible with neighboring communities.

 

 


 
Conservation History Association of Texas
Texas Legacy Project


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2007