This Changes Everything - People, the Planet, and Economic Growth

This Changes Everything - People, the Planet, and Economic Growth

Lesson 3 of 10 in this unit

  • Secondary
  • Year 9 - 10
  • English
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Geography
  • Business and Economics
  • Environmental
  • Climate Change
  • Sustainability
  • Social
  • Human Rights
  • Social Action
  • Economic
  • Financial Literacy
  • ...

Lesson summary

This Changes Everything includes a book by Naomi Klein and film by Avi Lewis. The texts join the dots between climate change, economic systems and the power of community action. In this lesson students will analyse a quote that describes the conflict between the finite resources of the planet and the current push for growth, and then break down a case study that illustrates the relationships among people, the environment, and economic growth. Finally, students are asked to work with a partner to develop a solution to the conflict presented in the case study.

Learning intentions:

Students will...

  • recognise the relationship between natural resources and the global economy, in particular the relationship between economic growth and natural resources
  • understand that the production of energy through the use of fossil fuels has both environmental and human costs.

Lesson guides and printables

Lesson Plan
Student Worksheet
Teacher Content Info

Lesson details

Curriculum mapping

Australian Curriculum content descriptions:

Year 9 Geography:

  • The effects of the production and consumption of goods on places and environments throughout the world and including a country from North-East Asia (ACHGK068)

Year 9 Economics and Business:

  • Why and how participants in the global economy are dependent on each other (ACHEK039)

Year 9 English:

  • Create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that present a point of view and advance or illustrate arguments, including texts that integrate visual, print and/or audio features (ACELY1746)

Year 10 Geography:

  • Human-induced environmental changes that challenge sustainability (ACHGK070)

Year 10 Economics and Business:

  • The ways businesses respond to changing economic conditions and improve productivity through organisational management and workforce management (ACHEK054)

Year 10 English:

  • Create sustained texts, including texts that combine specific digital or media content, for imaginative, informative, or persuasive purposes that reflect upon challenging and complex issues (ACELY1756)

Year 10 Science:

  • Global systems, including the carbon cycle, rely on interactions involving the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere (ACSSU189)

Syllabus outcomes: GE4-2, GE4-3, GE4-4, GE4-5, GE5-2, GE5-3C5.2, C5.3, C5.4EN5-1ASC5-12ES.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative ThinkingEthical UnderstandingIntercultural Understanding.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.1, OI.6, OI.8.

Relevant parts of Year 9 Geography achievement standards: Students predict changes in the characteristics of places over time and identify the possible implications of change for the future.

Relevant parts of Year 9 Economics and Business achievement standards: Students analyse the interdependence of participants in the global economy.

Relevant parts of Year 9 English achievement standards: Students create texts that respond to issues, interpreting and integrating ideas from other texts.

Relevant parts of Year 10 Geography achievement standards: Students predict changes in the characteristics of places and environments over time, across space and at different scales and explain the predicted consequences of change.

Relevant parts of Year 10 Economics and Business achievement standards: Students explain how businesses respond to changing economic conditions and improve productivity.

Relevant parts of Year 10 English achievement standards: Students create a wide range of texts to articulate complex ideas.

Relevant parts of Year 10 Science achievement standards: Students describe and analyse interactions and cycles within and between Earth’s spheres.

Unit of work: This Changes Everything.

Time required: 60 mins, plus some out of-class preparation.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee activity and guide discussions.

Resources required


This lesson is designed to build students’ competencies in the following skills:

  • Critical thinking
  • Empathy
  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Cultural understanding
  • Ethical understanding
  • Problem solving
  • Global citizenship

Additional info

This Changes Everything explores the complex relationship between humans and our environment, and in particular how our economic system’s push for continual growth impacts both the environment and quality of life for all people. Both the book and the film present powerful portraits of communities on the front line of both fossil fuel extraction and the climate crisis it is driving, from Montana’s Powder River Basin to the Alberta Tar Sands, from the coast of South India to Beijing and beyond.

This Changes Everything is a vehicle to discuss the climate crisis as an opportunity; an opportunity for a new economic model that accounts for both people and the planet in a just and sustainable way. It is through this context that the possibilities for hope and optimism amidst the climate crisis are explored. Teachers and students are critical to this conversation. After all, it will be young people who will inherit the world we have created, who will become the leaders tackling the many challenges and who will reinvent a different future.

This Changes Everything - Global Trailer (

Additional information:

To arrange for a screening of the This Changes Everything movie, please click here. The book is available to purchase here.

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