Activity Introduction

TCE-Li-Bo-photoframeQuick summary: This Changes Everything includes a book by Naomi Klein and film by Avi Lewis. The texts join the dots between climate change, economic systems and the power of community action. Working from videos and extracts from This Changes Everything, students will compare responses to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and the pollution caused by the oil industry in Nigeria. They will define the term ‘climate debt’ and discuss the impacts of economic growth on people and the environment. Students will then analyse a proposed plan for wealthy countries to pay Ecuador not to sell its oil and write arguments to explain their position on the strategy of having wealthy countries compensate poorer countries for not exploiting their oil reserves.

Learning Objectives:

  • Students understand how economic the economic growth of wealthy countries has impacted poorer countries and the environment.
  • Students understand what is meant by the term ‘climate debt’.
  • Students recognise that there are many different ways that wealthy countries can redress their ‘climate debt’.

21st century skills:

climate v capitalism skills

Advice for teachers: This unit is designed to help year 9 and 10 students to look critically at the idea of how our economic system’s push for continual growth impacts both the environment and quality of life for all people. Excerpts from the This Changes Everything book and documentary film are used as starting points throughout the lessons to spark discussion, and to put a human face on complex issues through case studies and in-depth analysis. Parts of this unit is suitable for the following learning areas: Geography, Economics and Business, Civics and Citizenship, English and Environmental Science. These lessons can be used to integrate the Cross-curricular priority of Sustainability into your learning area. Each lesson is designed to stand on its own; you can easily pick and choose what learning activities best meet your curricular goals.

Australian Curriculum content descriptions:

Year 9 Geography

  • The effects of the production and consumption of goods on places and environments throughout the world and including a country from North-East Asia (ACHGK068)

Year 9 Economics and Business

  • Why and how participants in the global economy are dependent on each other (ACHEK039)

Year 9 English

  • Present an argument about a literary text based on initial impressions and subsequent analysis of the whole text (ACELT1771)
  • Create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that present a point of view and advance or illustrate arguments, including texts that integrate visual, print and/or audio features (ACELY1746)

Year 10 Geography

  • Human-induced environmental changes that challenge sustainability (ACHGK070)

Year 10 Economics and Business

  • The ways businesses respond to changing economic conditions and improve productivity through organisational management and workforce management (ACHEK054)

Year 10 English

  • Reflect on, extend, endorse or refute others’ interpretations of and responses to literature (ACELT1640)
  • Create sustained texts, including texts that combine specific digital or media content, for imaginative, informative, or persuasive purposes that reflect upon challenging and complex issues (ACELY1756)

Syllabus outcomes: GE4-2, GE4-3, GE4-4, GE4-5, GE5-2, C5.2, C5.3, C5.4EN5-1A, EN5-5C.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding, Intercultural Understanding.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.1, OI.6, OI.8.

Relevant parts of Year 9 Geography achievement standards: Students predict changes in the characteristics of places over time and identify the possible implications of change for the future.

Relevant parts of Year 9 Economics and Business achievement standards: Students analyse the interdependence of participants in the global economy.

Relevant parts of Year 9 English achievement standards: Students evaluate and integrate ideas and information from texts to form their own interpretations. They create texts that respond to issues, interpreting and integrating ideas from other texts.

Relevant parts of Year 10 Geography achievement standards: Students predict changes in the characteristics of places and environments over time, across space and at different scales and explain the predicted consequences of change.

Relevant parts of Year 10 Economics and Business achievement standards: Students explain how businesses respond to changing economic conditions and improve productivity.

Relevant parts of Year 10 English achievement standards: Students develop and justify their own interpretations of texts. They create a wide range of texts to articulate complex ideas. 

Topic: Climate Change, Sustainability, This Changes Everything.

Unit of work: This Changes Everything.

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee activity and guide discussions.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet. Film clip: The Exxon Valdez Oil SpillThis Changes Everything book excerpts: Niger Delta and Climate Debt. World map large enough to share with class. Persuasion Mapping Tool and Persuasive Writing Assessment RubricThis Changes Everything book excerpt: Polluter Pays and Why #BlackLivesMatter article (Take it  Further/Extension). 

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Keywords: Climate debt, climate justice, social inequality, legacy of colonialism, economic development, This Changes Everything.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

TCE-Crystal-Lameman-heroTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students will understand how the economic growth of wealthy countries has impacted poorer countries and the environment. They recognise what is meant by the term 'climate debt', and understand that there are many different ways that wealthy countries can redress their 'climate debt'.

Teacher content information: This Changes Everything explores the complex relationship between humans and our environment, and in particular how our economic system’s push for continual growth impacts both the environment and quality of life for all people. Both the book and the film present powerful portraits of communities on the front line of both fossil fuel extraction and the climate crisis it is driving, from Montana’s Powder River Basin to the Alberta Tar Sands, from the coast of South India to Beijing and beyond.

This Change Everything is a vehicle to discuss the climate crisis as an opportunity; an opportunity for a new economic model that accounts

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Student Worksheet

oil spill

Thought starter: Why is social justice so important to the environmental movement?

Part 1.

Read the This Changes Everything book excerpt Niger Delta (p. 305-306) and participate in a 'Think, Pair, Share' activity.

THINK - Work independently to answer the following questions:

What impact did the economic growth of wealthy nations have on the people of Nigeria and the environment?

How would Australians react if, every year, an Exxon Valdez-worth of oil spilled into waterways in one of their communities? Why do you think so much oil has been allowed to spill in the Niger Delta for more than fifty years? How do you explain the disparities in how problems are solved for different people?

PAIR AND SHARE - Once you have answered these questions, turn to a classmate and share your answers.

  • Are your answers similar?
  • How different are your definitions?
  • Why do you think this is?

You may amend your answers once you have finished your discussion.

Part 2.

Read the excerpt Climate D

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