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Christiana Figueres, TED


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


Science, Social Studies, Civics

Resource Type

  • Videos, 7 minutes, 58 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

Global, South and Central America


Downloadable MP4/M4V

The Case for Stubborn Optimism on Climate

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  • This video from TED is about the necessity of stubborn optimism to achieve a sustainable planet for future generations. 
  • Students will learn about how Christiana Figueres was inspired by her father, the former president of Costa Rica, to take immediate action on climate and inspire global cooperation. 
Teaching Tips


  • Christiana is like a coach giving an inspiring speech to the team (humanity) to take action with a positive mindset.
  • It can serve as social-emotional learning for students who are feeling overwhelmed when learning about climate change and environmentalism.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should know what decarbonization is and why it would lead to a more sustainable future.
  • Students should know generally about the 2015 Paris Agreement and what it set out to accomplish.


Scientist Notes
While there is no specific science in this video to verify, Christiana Figueres offers an important perspective on climate change about staying optimistic. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.7.9-12 Apply civic virtues and democratic principles when working with others.
    • Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
      • D4.7.6-8 Assess their individual and collective capacities to take action to address local, regional, and global problems, taking into account a range of possible levers of power, strategies, and potential outcomes.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence.
      • 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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