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MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


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

Resource Types

  • Podcasts, 12 minutes, 45 seconds
  • Lesson Plans
  • Activity - Classroom
  • Worksheets
  • Interactive Media
  • Games

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, USA - South, USA - Northeast, South and Central America, Caribbean, Oceania, Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, Polar Regions, California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Virginia



National Security and Climate Change

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  • In this lesson, students will learn about the many ways climate change affects national security, interpret maps, explore case studies all over the United States, and investigate adaptation solutions identified by the IPCC.
  • The lesson mentions California, Honduras, Guatemala, New Orleans, Norfolk, Virginia, and El Salvador.
Teaching Tips


  • The podcast describes the negative impacts of climate change on communities and entire countries, highlighting the importance of planning for policy-makers.  
  • The IPCC file includes region-specific risks and solutions for communities all over the world.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The NOAA maps no longer have "sliders" available, so you will need to have students open different maps for various times to compare them.
  • You will need sets of dice for each group of students to play the game.


  • Social studies or civics classes could conduct a Model UN-style simulation and use the mass movement game provided to examine how governments implement climate change-related policies. 
  • Science classes could analyze data on the precipitation and drought maps and propose solutions that protect people, wildlife, and our environment.
  • Other resources on this topic include this online tool for analyzing the impacts of flooding and this article about climate migrants.
Scientist Notes
This resource underscores the interrelationship between climate change and security. It highlights how climate change has deepened the level of vulnerability of households, forced communities to migrate, and threatened local and national security architecture. It presents the need for government to respond and implement sustainable climate change policies to avert a climate crisis. This 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.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-3 Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.1.9-12 Distinguish the powers and responsibilities of local, state, tribal, national, and international civic and political institutions.
      • D2.Civ.11.9-12 Evaluate multiple procedures for making governmental decisions at the local, state, national, and international levels in terms of the civic purposes achieved.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: History/Social Studies (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
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