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The Climate Question


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


Social Studies, Economics, English Language Arts

Resource Type

  • Podcasts, 27 minutes, 23 seconds

Regional Focus

Global, Oceania

Does Recycling Help Fight Climate Change?

Ask a Question

  • Is recycling good for the environment, or is it actually counteractive to our efforts to reduce carbon emissions? In this podcast, the presenters investigate this question as they track down the places where our recycled items end up.
  • Listeners will learn about global waste, the effectiveness of recycling certain items, deceiving marketing strategies, and the benefits of aiming for a more circular economy.
Teaching Tips


  • This podcast challenges a common misconception about recycling and the environment that many people have.
  • Students can learn about the importance of reducing waste and reusing items.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The podcast switches to climate news at 22:23.
  • The podcast makes references to the idea of a circular economy. It may be helpful to introduce students to this concept before listening to the podcast.


  • Students in social studies classes learning about economics can use this podcast to investigate the pros and cons of a "linear" economy.
  • A possible extension activity could include asking students to share what they learned about recycling and the climate with others, by making a video, infographic, or flyer, or by writing an essay.
  • Related resources include this video or this video about recycling, and this activity about trash.
Scientist Notes
The podcast emphasized the effects of recycling on the environment and recommended the circular economy as the ideal model to significantly improve both the economy and the environment. This resource is suitable for teaching because it contains no scientific misconceptions.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Economics
      • D2.Eco.2.6-8 Evaluate alternative approaches or solutions to current economic issues in terms of benefits and costs for different groups and society as a whole.
      • D2.Eco.15.9-12 Explain how current globalization trends and policies affect economic growth, labor markets, rights of citizens, the environment, and resource and income distribution in different nations.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
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