This article reports on an urgent United Nations call to address climate change and explores some recent political actions that give the issue its immediacy.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

World issues, environmental studies, politics, economics

Key Questions to Explore:

  • Why is the call so urgent?
  • What are the politicians doing about it?
  • What can we do as citizens?

New Terminology:


Materials Needed:

Copies of the article for the students and access to the Internet for research.

Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

The recent drought and massive forest fires in California have highlighted the issue of climate change again: experts identify it as a root cause while the deniers such as Donald Trump continue to ignore the research and evidence. The United Nations has, once again, issued an urgent call to address the problem before it is too late, but many politicians continue either to deny the issue or to drag their feet, claiming that it would adversely affect the economy and  thereby ignoring the disastrous affect it will have on our very lives. This lesson will have the students, through discussing the article and researching political action, study the urgency of the issue, outline what the various levels of government are doing and offer ideas about what we as individuals can do to take action.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  • Begin the lesson by informing the students that the UN has issued another urgent call for action to prevent catastrophic climate change.
  • Provide the students with a copy of the article and allow them time to read it.
  • Get their reactions to what they have just read and indicate to them that the focus of the lesson will be on what the various levels of government are doing to address the issue. In addition, they will also examine how various organizations are working to address the issue without government cooperation or support.
  • Divide the class into four groups and assign one of the following to each group:
    • Municipal governments
    • Provincial governments
    • Federal government
    • Private organizations and companies
  • Explain to the groups that they are to research their assigned organization and develop a report which will outline what actions are being taken which have either a positive or negative impact on the fight to address climate change. Group 4 should find organizations which are either leading the charge or providing a hindrance.
  • Allow the groups the necessary time to do their research and prepare their reports.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Have each group report their findings and respond to any questions or comments.
  • Once the reports have been completed, hold a plenary session to get general reactions and comments.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

The students will be able to:

  • explain why the call to address climate change is so urgent;
  • outline the actions of each level of government regarding climate change;
  • give examples of what private companies and organizations are doing to address the issue;
  • outline some actions that we as individual citizens can do to help address the issue.

Confirming Activity:

  • As a concluding activity, have the students discuss actions that we can collectively take to increase the efforts of the various governments to address the issue.