Activity Introduction

TCE-Naomi-Klein-New-York-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. This lesson introduces students to the themes of climate change and capitalism by viewing the This Changes Everything trailer. Students then explore the connections between climate change and capitalism.

Learning goals:

  • Students will recognise the tension that exists between economic growth and environmental challenges; especially climate change.
  • Students build their thinking and questioning skills.
  • Students think critically about the themes presented in This Changes Everything.

21st century skills:

climate v capitalism skills

Advice for teachers: This unit is designed to help year 9 and 10 students 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

  • Australia as a trading nation and its place within the rising economies of Asia and broader global economy (ACHEK038)
  • Why and how participants in the global economy are dependent on each other (ACHEK039)

Year 9 English

  • 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

  • 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)

Year 10 Science

  • Global systems, including the carbon cycle, rely on interactions involving the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere (ACSSU189)

Syllabus outcomes: GE4-2, GE4-3, GE4-4, GE4-5, GE5-2, GE5-3, C5.2, C5.3, C5.4, EN5-1ASC5-12ES.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.1, Sustainability OI.2.

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 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 create a wide range of texts to articulate complex ideas.

Relevant parts of Year 10 Science achievement standards: Students describe and analyse interactions and cycles within and between Earth’s spheres.

Topic: Climate Change, Sustainability, This Changes Everything.

Unit of work: This Changes Everything.

Time needed: 45 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – allow students to explore the topic independently.

Resources required: Laptops. Device capable of presenting a video to the class (This Changes Everything trailer). Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Key words: Climate change, environmental health, economic growth, global economy, This Changes Everything.

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


Teacher Worksheet


Teacher Preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students increase their understanding of the terms 'capitalism' and 'climate change' and explore the relationships between the two concepts.

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 fossil fuel extraction and the climate crisis it is driving - from Montana’s Powder River Basin to the Alberta Tar Sands and beyond.

This Changes Everything is a vehicle to discuss the climate crisis as an opportunity; an opportunity for a new economic model that accounts for both people and the planet in a just and sustainable way. It is through this context that the possibilities for hope and optimism amidst the climate crisis are explored. Teachers and

- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Thought starter: To change everything, do we need everyone to change?

This Changes Everything - Global Trailer (

After watching the clip, answer the following questions:

1. In your own words, describe what you saw in this clip:

2. What does this clip make you think about?

3. Do the themes presented in the clip relate to your own life? If yes, which themes?

4. In the context of this film, what do you think of the statement: "Change, or be changed"?

5. If you could invent a different future, what would it look like?

6. In the trailer Naomi Klein says: “'I've spent six years wandering through the wreckage caused by the carbon in the air, and the economic system that put it there”. In what way was it our economic system that caused carbon to be put in the air?


Complete the 'Connect Extend Challenge' questions below:

Connect Extend Challenge - Questions


How is the clip connected to climate change and cap

- or - to view worksheets

Leave your Feedback

We appreciate your feedback. Let us know what you like or don't like about this activity:

Sorry. You must be logged in to view this form.