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University of Maine, The Maine Question Podcast


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Civics

Resource Type

  • Podcasts, 28 minutes, 22 seconds

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - Northeast, Maine

How Can Indigenous and Western Knowledge Help Preserve the Planet?

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  • This podcast features an interview of an Indigenous anthropologist about his views on working together with Indigenous people to protect natural environments, mitigate climate change, and encourage more involvement of Indigenous people in science.
  • It is a wonderful discussion of the benefits of including Indigenous knowledge in science and decision-making on the local, national, and global level.
Teaching Tips


  • Darren Ranco does a great job of explaining the topics in a very accessible way.
  • This interview may encourage students to explore careers or programs that support environmental protection and Indigenous culture.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with what anthropologists study.
  • The podcast can be played directly from the website.


  • Social studies classes could use this podcast to frame a discussion about the value of cultural perspectives and scientific input in governmental decisions.
  • Consider having students write a response paper to this interview, giving specifics from the podcast and using additional research to support their perspective.
  • To extend the lesson, have students research the efforts that the University of Maine is making to address climate justice and environmental conservation.
  • This podcast could be used in science classes as motivation to pursue STEM careers that connect to social issues.
  • Students can do further research on the Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission.
  • Students can look into their own community at the Indigenous voices in positions of power, the traditional foods they eat, or any relevant legislation that will directly impact their community.
Scientist Notes
This resource is a podcast interview with an anthropologist on how traditional Indigenous knowledge can be used to protect the environment. This resource is highly 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.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-7 Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.12.9-12 Analyze how people use and challenge local, state, national, and international laws to address a variety of public issues.
    • Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
      • D4.7.9-12 Assess options for individual and collective action to address local, regional, and global problems by engaging in self-reflection, strategy identification, and complex causal reasoning.
  • 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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