Daily Video

September 21, 2019

Greta Thunberg on the urgency of the climate crisis



Directions: Read the summary and watch the video above and NewsHour’s interview with Greta Thunberg posted below and here. Then answer the discussion questions.


Summary: Although more and more Americans are taking the threat of climate change seriously, less than 40 percent expect to make “major sacrifices” to tackle the problem.  According to Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teenager and climate activist, drastic action is exactly what needs to happen to address the problem. In this NewsHour interview, Thunberg discusses the importance of galvanizing young people across the globe to the climate cause.

Thunberg spoke at the United Nations on Monday and testified in front of Congress last week. She spoke in Washington D.C. on Friday, Sept. 20th, as protestors in cities across the globe took to the streets to demand action on climate change. The demonstrations, easily the largest to focus on climate, represent a movement driven largely by young people — many of whom left school to join the walkout. Several participants talked to the PBS NewsHour about their mission to reduce fossil fuel emissions and how they plan to execute it, including meeting with elected representatives and supporting the Green New Deal, closing coal-fired power plants and converting as well as filing lawsuits alleging that the U.S. government has failed to adequately address climate change.


Discussion questions:


1) Essential question: How has Greta Thunberg helped to galvanize young people to take action against climate change?


2) What is a climate strike? How is it different from a climate protest? Do you think young people should miss school for an important cause?


3) What part of Thunberg’s speech in front of the United Nations struck you the most? Why? What part of Thunberg’s interview with the NewsHour were you most impacted by? Explain why.


4) Activist Katie Elder says young people should not have to spend their time planning protests or lobbying their representatives. Why do you think more adults and political leaders are not doing more to fight climate change?


5) What do you know about the sit-ins of the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement? What are similarities and differences between the climate strikes and the sit-ins?


6) How important is taking action against climate change to you?


7) Media literacy: Watch the segment produced by NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs. Is there a different type of impact made when you hear directly from young people on the issue of climate change? 


Extension activities:

  1. Super Civics 2020: Where do the presidential candidates stand on climate change? Choose one of the Democratic candidates running for president and research their stances and policy proposals on climate change. Then research President Donald Trump’s views on climate change and his administrations’ policy decisions. What policy proposals and decisions do you agree with? Disagree with?
  2. STEM-Civic connections:



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