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6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Videos, 28 minutes, 1 second, CC

Regional Focus

Global, South and Central America

Does Nature Have Rights?

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  • This engaging video describes the threats facing natural ecosystems and details the reasons why Ecuador included a legal right for nature to exist in its constitution. 
  • Beautiful conservation areas are shown, along with numerous animals and plants in the biodiverse forests in Ecuador.
  • The video includes interviews with numerous locals and youth that provide examples of how humans are engaged in saving natural ecosystems.
Teaching Tips


  • This video will interest learners due to its depictions of animals, forests, insects, and colorful flowers. 
  • Students will be introduced to climate change heroes who are dedicated to saving the species and biodiversity of the rainforest.
  • The career paths of scientists and biologists are presented as exciting, noble, and adventurous throughout the presentation.

Additional Prerequisites

  • There may be a brief PBS commercial before the video begins.
  • Part of the video discusses a young climate activist who died from cancer.
  • Teachers may wish to have students find Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands on a globe prior to viewing the video.
  • The closed-captioning does not always directly align with the narration.
  • Spanish is spoken by some people in the video, but their words are translated on the screen.


  • An extension lesson could be developed for geography classes where students research the species of animals and plants that live in the Ecuadorian rainforest.
  • Connections can be made in social studies classes studying the U.S. Constitution and/or the definition of legal rights.
  • Orchids and vanilla are mentioned and shown extensively, so an actual orchid and pod of vanilla can be visual aids to include in the classroom.
  • Language arts or civics teachers can use the video in lessons about gathering evidence and making persuasive arguments.
  • Science classes can use this video to support lessons about ecosystems, habitats, biodiversity, synergistic relationships, or interdependent relationships between plants and animals.
Scientist Notes
This video resource from PBS highlights conservation work in Ecuador made possible by the fact that the rights of nature were enshrined in Ecuador’s constitution in 2008. This video features beautiful images of the rainforest and species that are endemic to Ecuador, and shows how young people are leading much of the work. The idea of nature having rights looms large in this presentation, providing a topic for classroom discussion. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
    • LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
      • HS-LS4-5 Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in: (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.
      • HS-LS4-6 Create or revise a simulation to test a solution to mitigate adverse impacts of human activity on biodiversity.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.2 Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.2 Analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how the ideas clarify a topic, text, or issue under study.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.2 Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.
  • World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages (ACTFL)
    • Connections: Connect with other disciplines and acquire information and diverse perspectives in order to use the language to function in academic and career-related situations.
      • 3.1 Making Connections: Learners build, reinforce, and expand their knowledge of other disciplines while using the language to develop critical thinking and to solve problems creatively.
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