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Our Changing Climate


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Social Studies, Economics, Civics

Resource Type

  • Videos, 10 minutes, 21 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

North America, United States, Asia


YouTube Video

The Problem with Consumerism

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  • This video is about the connections between consumerism, economic growth, and climate change. 
  • It highlights the challenges with decoupling greenhouse emissions and economic growth, using South Korea as a case study. 
  • The video asserts that the only viable solution to climate change includes both reducing consumption and advancing technological innovation in renewable energy. 
Teaching Tips


  • It addresses propaganda by discussing how BP invented the concept of the carbon footprint to place the burden of climate change on individuals instead of corporations.
  • It's optimistic in its presentation of potential solutions to climate change.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The video begins and ends with an advertisement.
  • There are five timestamped chapters allowing for easy navigation.
  • Students should be familiar with certain terms including GDP, renewable energies, and consumerism.
  • Students might find it difficult to learn that certain Christmas traditions can be a contributing factor to climate change.


  • Students can discuss ways that they can contribute to the goal of reducing consumerism through changes in their shopping habits.
Scientist Notes
This 10-minute video presents an overview of consumerism and its impact on climate change. Data pertaining to spending and consumption trends is presented and challenges with decoupling climate-relevant emissions with economic spending trends are discussed, along with potential solutions. Citations are provided in small text on the bottom right corner of the screen, which need to be looked up from a list of resources linked in the video description. Although this takes additional effort to follow citations, this resource is recommended for teaching.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.14.9-12 Analyze historical, contemporary, and emerging means of changing societies, promoting the common good, and protecting rights.
    • Dimension 2: Economics
      • D2.Eco.1.9-12 Analyze how incentives influence choices that may result in policies with a range of costs and benefits for different groups.
      • D2.Eco.3.9-12 Analyze the ways in which incentives influence what is produced and distributed in a market system.
  • 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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