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The Climate Question


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Chemistry, Earth and Space Sciences, Civics, History

Resource Type

  • Podcasts, 27 minutes, 19 seconds

Regional Focus

Global, Polar Regions

What Can We Learn from Fixing the Ozone Hole?

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  • This podcast discusses the scientific research that led to the discovery of the ozone hole, how the problem was addressed through the Montreal Protocol, what we can learn from that response, and how it can be applied to climate change.
  • It uses storytelling and expert interviews with scientists, along with musical interludes, sound clips, and historical references to explain the scope of the problem and the steps of the discovery and response to address this global crisis.
Teaching Tips


  • This podcast is a fun way to introduce students to the most successful global environmental treaty in history.
  • The scientists interviewed were directly involved in discovering the ozone hole and in monitoring the levels to ensure the Montreal Protocol was adhered to.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This resource requires access to the Internet.
  • The last five minutes is an introduction to another podcast about climate change.
  • You may want to reinforce that as new information is gained from new research or technological advancements, solutions may need to change or adjust to take those insights into account (such as the realization that some of the substitute gases for CFCs were powerful greenhouse gases).


  • This resource can also be used in health classes during lessons about ultraviolet radiation and cancer, or in history classes during lessons about international cooperation and treaties.
  • Have students consider why the Paris Agreement has not had the same success as the Montreal Protocol.
  • To have students learn more about solving environmental problems, have them listen to this podcast about peatlands and this podcast on methane emissions.
  • Social studies and civics classes can use this podcast as a introduction to global treaties or as an example of international cooperation that can be modeled to address climate change.
Scientist Notes
This audio resource from the BBC gives a nice history of successfully dealing with chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and how that may be analogous to efforts to control greenhouse gas emissions. It touches on environmental sleuthing to identify areas of non-compliance and how monitoring is vitally important to enforce policy. Also discussed is how past climates can be explored from ice cores with trace gases still trapped within the ice. Fun link: https://icecores.org/. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-6 Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
  • 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.
      • D2.Civ.5.9-12 Evaluate citizens' and institutions' effectiveness in addressing social and political problems at the local, state, tribal, national, and/or international level.
    • Dimension 2: History
      • D2.His.14.9-12 Analyze multiple and complex causes and effects of events in the past.
    • Dimension 3: Gathering and Evaluating Sources
      • D3.1.9-12 Gather relevant information from multiple sources representing a wide range of views while using the origin, authority, structure, context, and corroborative value of the sources to guide the selection.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.
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