Summary

This article relates the events surrounding Greta Thunberg’s visit to Alberta and what various people had to say about it.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Environmental studies, world issues, politics, economics

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What did Thunberg have to say?
  • How was her message received?
  • What are the facts concerning the “real practical measures that industry is taking in order to reduce emissions?
  • Is that good enough?

New Terminology:

Partisan

Materials Needed:

  • Copies of the article
  • Access to the Internet for research
Learning Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish environmentalist, has been garnering worldwide attention as she calls on those in power to drop political considerations and immediately begin to address climate change in a meaningful fashion. Obviously, a trip to Alberta was going to be fraught with tension, as those primarily concerned about a slumping economy actively sought to have their side of the issue presented. While many came out to support Thunberg, there were opposing activities. The premier of Alberta, Jason Kenney, for example, argued that instead of calling for the shutdown of the modern economy, folks should learn a little bit about real practical measures that industry is taking to reduce emissions. That is what this lesson will ask the students to do – research what actually is happening to reduce emissions, decide if this enough and suggest what needs to be done.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  • Begin the lesson by asking the students to explain who Greta Thunberg is and why she is garnering so much attention.
  • Ask them if they support what she is asking.
  • Divide the class into groups of five or six.
  • Now ask them to assume that they are a resident of Alberta and to discuss whether or not their position would change, giving reasons for their response.
  • Allow them time to discuss the question and prepare their response.
  • Have the groups report to the class.
  • Provide the groups with copies of the article and allow them time to read it.
  • Hold a brief plenary session to get their reactions to what they have just read.
  • Once this has been done, indicate to them that the task for this lesson will be to take up the idea suggested by Kenney in the article and “to learn a little bit about real practical measures that industry is taking in order to reduce emissions”.
  • Assign the following tasks to the groups and provide the remainder of the period for them to begin work.
    • What “real practical measures” are being taken by industry to reduce emissions?
    • Are these good enough?
    • What needs to be done to address this “real and present danger”?
  • Set a deadline for group work completion.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Have each group in turn present their findings and respond to any questions or comments that arise.
Success

Success Criteria:

The students will be able to:

  • Identify Greta Thunberg;
  • Explain actions that are being taken by industry to address emissions;
  • Explain why or why not they think these actions are sufficient;
  • Offer ideas as to action that needs to be taken immediately.

Confirming Activity:

  • As a concluding activity for this lesson, have the students complete a personal writing assignment in which they explain the degree of optimism they have about our ability to address effectively the threat presented by climate change and give reasons for their position.