Lesson Plans

Climate Change and Culture

Copenhagen’s intersections have been redesign to better accommodate public transit, bikes and pedestrians. Image by Alex MacLean. Denmark, 2015.

Chef Francois Pasteau founded Bon pour le Climat. Image courtesy of Bon pour le Climat.

Photo courtesy of Twitter.

Ather Energy's smart electric scooter is set to debut in the market next year. Image courtesy of Ather Energy.

Rysum, a 15th-century village. Expansion is restricted within a growth boundary, creating a sharp urban and rural edge. Image by Alex MacLean. Germany, 2015.

Photo courtesy of Twitter.

A neighborhood in Copenhagen with dense housing that has a relatively low carbon footprint. Image by Alex MacLean. Denmark, 2015.

Photo courtesy of Twitter.

Western Harbor, in Malmö, is the first carbon-neutral neighborhood in Europe. Image by Alex MacLean. Sweden, 2015.

Photo courtesy of Twitter.

Malmö's Western Harbor was transformed from a former shipyard and is now home to 4,000 people. Image by Alex MacLean. Sweden, 2015.

Photo courtesy of Twitter.

A planned community with roof gardens in the Ørestad district of Copenhagen. The city requires green roofs for all new buildings with pitches less than 30 degrees. Image by Alex MacLean. Denmark, 2015.

Photo courtesy of Twitter.

Strøget St. To avoid controversy, city planners have removed a small percentage of street parking each year. Image by Alex MacLean. Denmark, 2015.

Photo courtesy of Twitter.

Nørreport Station. Many commuters have two bikes, one for each end of their commute. Image by Alex MacLean. Denmark, 2015.

Dybbølsbro Station.The city's light rail and other public transit accommodate bicyclists to extend their traveling range. Image by Alex MacLean. Denmark, 2015.

A dedicated bike bridge, called the “Cycle Snake” in Copenhagen. Continuous bike lanes are increasingly popular in the city. Image by Alex MacLean. Denmark, 2015.

Allotment gardens (“Schrebergärten”) are an important source of fresh local produce. Image by Alex MacLean. Germany, 2015.

A biomass power plant in Ortofta, provides district heating through a buried pipeline to the equivalent of 25,000 households in three nearby communities. Image by Alex MacLean. Sweden, 2015.

This solar power plant, built atop former military airport runways near the Polish border, produces a 145-megawatts a year. Image by Alex MacLean. Germany, 2015.

Solar farms are popping up in the Welsh countryside, although there is local concern about their visual impact. Image by Alex MacLean. Wales, 2015.

When completed, this wind farm will be the largest in Holland. The larger wind turbines are replacing smaller, earlier models. Image by Alex MacLean. Netherlands, 2015.

Wind turbine blades stockpiled at a port facility along the Elbe River. Image by Alex MacLean. Germany, 2015.

A 25-turbine wind farm located about eight kilometers off the northern Welsh coast in the Irish Sea. Image by Alex MacLean. Wales, 2015.


Students will be able to analyze and summarize four accounts of how climate change is affecting culture internationally in order to compare and contrast with how climate change is impacting their communities.


1. Make a list of the effects of climate change in your community.

2. What is climate change? Work with a partner to define the term, and be prepared to share with the class.

3, What are things that you and your community members do that affect climate change? Be prepared to share with the class

4. Discuss with a partner: How does climate change directly impact the following things?

  • Traffic
  • Food
  • Health

Introducing the Lesson:

These resources explore the idea of climate change and the effect they have on communities and everyday people around the world. They were produced by Pulitzer Center grantees Dan Grossman and Esha Chhabra.

Dan Grossman went to Europe for is project "Prevention + Cure," writing about what European communities are doing to protect their natural resources and reducing their carbon emissions. 

Esha Chhabra went to India for her project, "India's Entreprenurial Answer to Healthcare." It is about the obviously overpolluted cities in India and the effects that pollution has on the people there.

Introducing the Resources:

As you read each of the resources, answer the accompanying questions and consider the following:

  1. How is climate change directly impacting the lives of the subjects?
  2. How does what the subjects are facing in the article compare to what your community is facing?
  3. How would you present this article to someone who hasn’t seen it? What details would include?
  4. Summarize.
  5. How does the medium help or detract from the message the artist is trying to convey?

Discussion of All Four Articles:

  1. Discuss the impacts of climate change on your culture. Compare and contrast with the articles you read.

Extension Activities:

  1. Discuss: How could your community reduce its carbon footprint?

    • Write a journal entry about specific changes your community could make to reduce its carbon footprint.

  2. Using twitter #odd/even:

    • What would you tweet if the odd/even rule came into effect at your school?

  3. Create a hastag around an environmental issue that you care about.

Educator Notes: 


Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.


Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.


Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.

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