Lesson Plans

Caring About Climate: Telling the Human Story of Climate Change

threshold1.jpg

Image from the Threshold Podcast.

Image from the Threshold Podcast.

Warm-up:

1. Jot down on a piece of paper: When and where have you been in nature? This could be anything from camping in the wilderness to noticing the trees along the sidewalk in your city.

2. Turn to a partner and discuss: Do you like being in nature? Why or why not? Are there some natural places that you like and others that you dislike?

Introducing the Resource:

1. Read this introduction from journalist Amy Martin, the executive producer of Threshold whose voice you will hear in the podcast:

We all know that relationships between two people can be joyful and messy, beautiful and heartbreaking. And the same is true of the relationships between humans and all the other life forms on this planet. These are complex, meaningful connections that tell us a lot about who we are and where we've been, and what we could become. That's what Threshold is about: paying attention to these connections.

2. LISTEN: Threshold Season 2, Episode 1: "The Water Is Wide"

Discussion:

As a class, discuss:

  1. Why do you think the journalist chose to begin the podcast with her story of "[falling] in love in the Arctic"?
  2. How might you think and feel about climate change if your home were in Shishmaref, Alaska? How does that differ from how you think and feel now?
  3. Why is the rate at which global warming is accelerating so important?
  4. Why does what is happening to the remote island town of Shishmaref matter in your community?
  5. Why do you think the journalists chose to tell this story using audio?

Extension Activities:

Option 1. Amy Martin's introduction to the podcast compares relationships between people and the environment with relationships between two people. The first words of this episode are: "I fell in love in the Arctic." Have you ever fallen in love with, or had a strong emotional response to, the natural world?

Choose a photo from this PDF to which you have a strong emotional response. Use the photo to write an ekphrastic poem that expresses your response.

Option 2. Write a letter to Walter, the boy introduced in the podcast who loves living in Shishmaref but finds his life threatened by climate change. In your letter, include a description of nature in your community, and how climate change impacts your own life. Think of at least three questions you would like to ask Walter about his life.

Educator Notes: 

Email the education team to arrange a free Skype visit with Amy Martin or another journalist from the Threshold team.

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