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Hot Mess


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


Science, Social Studies

Resource Type

  • Videos, 9 minutes, 26 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus



YouTube Video

Feeling Guilty About Climate Change

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  • This video focuses on how feelings of guilt can influence the way people think about climate change and what they do about it.
  • Students will learn that having complicated views on things like fossil fuels, which have made life better while simultaneously hurting the planet, is more beneficial than ignoring reality.
Teaching Tips


  • The video challenges students to cultivate a nuanced view about their ability (or lack thereof) to personally address climate change and the feelings that go along with it.
  • The discussion of the relationship between values and behavior (4:45-5:03) is especially well illustrated.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The video begins with an advertisement.
  • Students will need to have a basic understanding of the role that fossil fuel emissions play in creating climate change.


  • In science or writing classes, students could work in pairs to complete a writing activity to explore the positive and negative effects of fossil fuels on the world. Each student could take one side and then combine their paragraphs and include renewable energy solutions that maintaining the benefits without the negatives.
  • Ethics, life skills, government, or civics classes could use the video as a tool for discussing climate change or other topics that inspire complicated feelings. Teachers could pose the following questions:
    • What makes this topic complicated?
    • How do you feel when someone you care about has different feelings on the topic?
    • What do you think is the most effective way to share your feelings on the topic?
  • Social studies or ethics classes could use the video to talk about why some people are in a position to make "good" choices when it comes to climate action, while others are not.
  • Other resources on this topic include this Project Drawdown video on individual and large-scale climate solutions, this podcast episode about Republicans advocating for climate action, and this EcoAmerica article that offers tips on having effective climate change conversations.
Scientist Notes
This resource provides a sober reflection on taking climate action, not just individually but collectively as a whole system. It demonstrates the need to be active and to not feel ashamed about doing what is right for the planet. This is recommended for teaching.
  • Social Sciences
    • Economics (K-8)
      • 7.8 Examine how economic decisions affect the well-being of individuals, businesses, and society.
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