Decoder: A seat at the table for funding climate change

Decoder: A seat at the table for funding climate change

The small island nation of Barbados is leading the call for international finance reform needed to fight the impacts of global warming. The world is listening. From the left, Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley, Netherlands’ Minister of Finance Sigrid Kaag,...

June to August 2023 were the world’s hottest months on record, meaning the stakes are high to address climate change for all. This is especially true for small island nations and developing countries who do little to contribute to climate change, but disproportionately suffer its consequences. Correspondent Susanne Courtney digs into Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s plan to level the climate financing playing field in this Decoder.

Exercise: Inequities in climate financing loom large. Read the article with students, then have them explore this interactive visualization of historical greenhouse gas emissions by country and region. How does your country or region’s emissions compare to those of the world’s largest emitters? Create an infographic depicting this information, including a call to action for students to promote climate action in their local communities.

Decoder: The myth of an international community

Decoder: The myth of an international community

When Russia invaded Ukraine, the “international community” stood back. But is there such a thing? What, if anything, can bring the world together? The entrance to the United Nations in Geneva is obscured by the emblems of a dozen international economic and...

Blaming the “international community” for inaction is easy. But does this community actually exist, or is it just tantamount to the United States and company? Correspondent Bernd Debusmann runs it down in this Decoder.

Exercise: Divide students into nine groups. Each group will be assigned one of the regional organizations mentioned in the article: NATO, European Union, Arab League, G-7, G-20, ASEAN, OAS, African Union, BRICS. Groups should research their assigned organization and identify the organization’s main objectives and stance on current international tensions (e.g. war in Ukraine, economic sanctions on North Korea, nuclear proliferation, etc.). Can these regional groups work together to create a true international community, or are their interests too disparate? 

Decoder: Why Japan matters more than ever

Decoder: Why Japan matters more than ever

Japan remains a global economic powerhouse and is becoming an ever closer political partner of the West. People walk at a pedestrian crossing in Ginza shopping district in Tokyo, Japan, 31 March 2023. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)  This article was produced exclusively...

ND correspondent and Asia specialist John West takes students to Japan in this Decoder explaining the island nation’s growing geopolitical importance and evolving defense strategy. Ranked the 17th-most democratic country in the world ahead of both the United States and France, Japan remains a key Western ally in a region fraught with tension.

Exercise: Geography has always played a significant role in the founding of civilizations and countries, shaping a nation’s economy and security. Launch a class discussion about how Japan’s geographic location and topography may have influenced the developments described in the article. Then, have students brainstorm how your country’s own geographic location (and geographic features like mountains, water sources, etc.) affects its role and influence on a world stage. This exercise is particularly well-suited to be a complementary lesson after students learn about the conditions of Japan’s surrender after World War II, highlighting the lasting effects of history in the present day.

Decoder: Don’t expect technology to save the planet

Decoder: Don’t expect technology to save the planet

In the movies, the solution for global disasters comes at the nail-biting end. Not so in real life. It won’t be The Rock that saves this rock we live on. Dr. Ally Hextall, played by Jennifer Ehle, tries to save the world from a virus in the movie Contagion. ...

In the fight against climate change, technology is often seen as a panacea that absolves corporations and individuals of the responsibility to act. The narrative reads as follows: with new technology, we can continue to live as we always have, without reducing consumption and waste. In this latest Decoder, correspondent Sarah Edmonds explains why this is not at all the case.

Exercise: The article decodes several types of climate technologies making headlines now, notably: nuclear energy, solar power, carbon capture, hydrogen and wind energy. Divide your class into five groups, each taking on one of these technologies to investigate. They should start with the information presented in the article, then conduct outside research online using reputable sources. Each group should then discuss the benefits and drawbacks of their assigned climate technology, and elect a spokesperson to share their findings with the class.

Decoder: What has happened to Sudan and why you should care

Decoder: What has happened to Sudan and why you should care

Sudan is surrounded by unstable nations. A humanitarian crisis could result in refugees flooding into countries ill-equipped to handle the crisis. 150 evacuees from Sudan on a relief flight returning to Qatar, 5 May 2023. (AP Photo/Lujain Jo)  This article was...

Conflict in Sudan is causing a humanitarian crisis. Correspondent Jessica Moody decodes what’s going on in Africa’s third largest country with a look at the past, present and future implications of the conflict. Could what’s happening in Sudan expand throughout the region?

Exercise: In an exercise to grow students’ synthesis skills, have them read the article, then come up with their own headline for the text. Their headline should synthesize the most important takeaways from the article. As a follow-up, ask students to consider how this headline has changed as a result of reading the article. How does students’ view of the Sudanese conflict differ from what they would have said yesterday? (Exercise adapted from Ron Ritchhart’s Making Thinking Visible). 

Decoder: Can the world see China as the top peace broker?

Decoder: Can the world see China as the top peace broker?

Even as the U.S. and China stare each other down, China is bridging conflicts in regions the U.S. once dominated. Are we looking at a new world order? Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, left, hold hands with his Saudi Arabian counterpart Prince...

Some experts say that the world is entering a period of a renewed Cold War. This Decoder from ND correspondent Jim Wolf dives into the role China plays as new allegiances are formed and countries take ideological stands on democracy versus autocracy. Help your students draw the connection between past and present with this classroom article. 

Exercise: After reading the article as a class, have students create a Venn Diagram comparing and contrasting what the article describes as a potential “new world order” and the first Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union. For both past and present, students should consider: major world powers, alliances (including non-aligned nations), proxy conflicts/Cold War “hotspots”, effectiveness of diplomacy, ideological conflicts, etc. 

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