Day 1 Resource Consumption – Disposable Chopsticks

The Big Idea

The resources that Japan’s large population is consuming exceed the biocapacity of the land.


  • State the reason why it has become a trend to bring one’s own chopsticks when eating out.
  • Describe the causes and effects in the Japan-China market for disposable chopsticks.
  • State the percent of the food supply that is grown in Japan and sources of the rest of the supply.


  • Introductory Powerpoint presentation with narration
  • Disposable chopsticks (optional)


News articles:

  • “Disposable Chopsticks Strip Asian Forests” 
  • “Chopstick Economics and the My Hashi Boom”
  • 10 half sheets of newsprint


  • World Wildlife Fund Report, Japan Ecological Footprint Report 2012, pp. 25-26


  1. View Powerpoint introductory presentation. Have students multiply to estimate the number of pairs of chopsticks the Japanese use every year.
  2. (optional) Demonstrate disposable chopstick customs.
  3. Students read “Disposable Chopsticks Strip Asian Forests” and “Chopstick Economics and the My Hashi Boom”
  4. Divide into groups of three. Students discuss and draw a representation of the cause and effects explained in the article. Groups show their diagrams and explain the relationships.
  5. Direct students to Japan Ecological Footprint Report 2012, p.25-26.  Have them skim the article for a definition of “biocapacity.” Write the definition on the board. Have the students read the
  6. two pages and look at the biocapacity map and pie chart.  Answer the following questions:
    • What percentage of Japanese people’s food is produced in Japan?
    • Which other countries export food to Japan?
    • How are those other countries doing in terms of biocapacity?
  7. Direct students to Japan Ecological Footprint Report 2012, p.31. Read it aloud.
    • Answer the following questions:
      • Is Japan’s food supply secure for the future?
      • What factors do they have in their favor?
      • What actions should they take to improve their food security?