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Our Changing Climate


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


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Engineering

Resource Type

  • Videos, 25 minutes, 29 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States


YouTube Video

Why Sustainable Housing Matters

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  • This video explains that sustainable housing is energy efficient, built with good materials, and does not take up too much space. 
  • Students will learn that cities are inherently more sustainable than suburbs because people living in suburbs rely on cars, have larger homes, and are more socially disconnected. 
  • The video also provides information on how racism, white flight, and housing discrimination led to urban degradation in many American cities. 
Teaching Tips


  • Students will learn that sustainable housing is a multifaceted concept that involves much more than energy-efficient appliances or green roofs. 
  • Students will enjoy the casual, conversational tone of the video.
  • The video is segmented into chapters, making it easy to navigate to specific sections.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have some background knowledge on the history of school segregation and desegregation in the United States.


  • For biology classes, if time is an issue, consider just showing the portion of the video called "highway to habitat destruction."
  • Before showing the video, engineering and design classes could have students answer the question from the video: "what comes to mind when you think about sustainable housing?" Students could answer this question again after the video to see how their ideas have changed.
  • Students could make a list of the components that make housing sustainable and research which of these components are present in their neighborhoods.
  • Other resources on this topic include this video about how the Oglala Lakota people of South Dakota prioritize sustainable living, this video about the importance of urban design, and this article on environmental racism.
Scientist Notes
The resource underscores sustainable urban development and explores the interconnectedness in the urban-suburb drift. Although the video is lengthy, it would provide good insights for students to understand the importance of developing and improving sustainable cities. This is recommended for teaching.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 6.ESS3.3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
      • HS.ESS3.2 Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • MS.ETS1.1 Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
      • HS.ETS1.3 Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • 7.LS2.4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
      • HS.LS2.6 Evaluate claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
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