Activity: Conversations with Greta Thunberg - biodiversity and climate change

In this activity, your class watches short clips of Greta Thunberg and Museum scientists answering questions from young people about the climate crisis. You can then challenge your students to consider their own opinions and actions.

Topics covered include: InterconnectivityBiodiversityClimate CrisisPossible SolutionsClimate JusticeEco Anxiety and COP 27.

  • Key Stage: KS2(yr6), KS3, KS4
  • Time required: 15 minutes - 1 hour+

About this resource

  • Resource type: classroom activity, video, discussion
  • Theme: Climate change and biodiversity


Greta Thunberg visited the Natural History Museum in 2022 and met students from London schools. They spoke together and with Museum scientists about biodiversity, the climate crisis and eco anxiety and possible solutions to these problems. The event was produced in partnership with Penguin Books, publishers of The Climate Book.

This resource presents snippets from the discussion and challenges your students to listen, reflect and discuss their own thoughts on the subject. The resource contains short video clips and suggested conversation starters which can be used in various ways as part of lessons.

Teachers can select themes that are most relevant to their lessons however we recommend covering ‘Eco Anxiety’ alongside any other topic.

Teacher notes with supplementary information and suggestions can be found below.

This is the full 60 minute video of Greta Thunberg in conversation at the Museum. Short clips are below.

Warm up: Interconnectivity

suggested time 5-10 mins

Conversation starter: Are humans’ part of nature? Why/why not?

  • Prompts

    You can prompt the students to consider:

    • where their food comes from
    • what are humans’ closest relatives (apes)
    • how much of the students’ lives depends on technology
    • if technology is part of nature


suggested time 20-30 mins

1. Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth - everything from bacteria to seaweed to people. You can watch this video as a reminder of ‘What is Biodiversity?’

2. Provide the below five questions to your students as discussion points or a written task (to answer after watching the clip below):

  • What is biodiversity?
  • What does biodiversity mean to you?
  • How might your life be different with less biodiversity in the world?
  • Give an example of interconnectedness in nature.
  • How is biodiversity loss and the climate crisis linked?

3. Watch the video clip below:

4. Provide time for students to reflect on/write answers to the five questions. Then discuss answers in small groups or as a class.

  • Some example answers for questions

    How might your life be different with less biodiversity in the world?

    Answers might include:

    • fewer pollinators would lead to fewer choices in food, fewer crops available and at extreme lengths, starvation (without a certain species of midge we wouldn’t have any chocolate)
    • fewer plants and trees would lead to less clean air
    • fewer green spaces and wild areas may influence mental health and wellbeing
    • fewer plants in forests and jungles might lead to fewer opportunities for medical ingredients, fewer cures and treatments being available
    • fewer trees in certain areas might lead to more flooding
    • fewer organisms in soil would means organic waste would not be broken down (inc food, sewage and even corpses)

    Give an example of interconnectedness in nature

    Answers might include:

    • food chains and webs
    • (see video links below for more examples)

    How is biodiversity loss and the climate crisis linked?

    Answers might include:

    • Reduced biodiversity makes climate change worse. Increased climate change reduces biodiversity.. They are linked in a negative cycle.
    • For example, forests that are made up of only one type of tree (monocultures) are more likely to experience forest fires. Forest fires release CO2 which makes climate change worse.

5. Watch one of these additional videos to show more examples of interconnectedness in nature:

Climate Crisis

suggested time 20-30 mins

1. Conversation starter: What do you think is the worst-case scenario of the planetary crisis for humans?

  • Prompts and follow up questions

    Prompt students to consider:

    • food security
    • extreme weather events
    • air and water pollution

    Follow up questions:

    • What would lead to that worst-case scenario?
    • How likely do you think that worst case scenario is? 

2. Watch the video clip below:

3. Conversation starter:  What solutions to the climate crisis and biodiversity loss have you heard of before in terms of:

  • Individuals?
  • Local?
  • Political?
  • International?
  • Answers may include


    • Recycling, reusing, reducing.
    • Reducing carbon footprint - choosing greener options: Walking/cycling, electric cars, public transport, using less electricity and gas.
    • Eating less meat and choosing sustainable products eg sustainable palm oil.
    • Writing to MPs.
    • Protesting and strikes.


    • Better cycle lanes and public transport.
    • Easier access to electric car charging points.
    • Improving recycling points.
    • Education on making better choices.
    • Planting trees to absorb carbon.


    • Investing and prioritising renewable energy and sustainable transport.
    • Encourage rewilding.
    • Prioritising restoring nature - forests, oceans and more.
    • Encouraging companies to reduce carbon emissions.
    • Making sustainable options available to all.


    • Global agreements on carbon emissions and global warming.
    • Action on companies profiting from fossil fuels.
    • Supporting countries and indigenous people to cope with effects of climate change. 

4. Watch the video clip below:

5. Conversation starter: Imagine a company, government or individual who does NOT already take part in any of the solutions. What do you think it would take to convince them?

  • Prompts

    Prompt students to consider:

    • What prevents people taking part in solutions?
    • What prevents you from taking part in solutions?
    • What would make it easier for people to take part in solutions?
    • What else would need to happen to convince even the most anti-environment people to take part in solutions? 

Possible solutions

suggested time 30 - 40 mins

1. Student reflection/recap: Take a moment to consider the different things that individuals and societies can do to help reduce biodiversity loss and climate change. (If you completed the previous topic ‘Climate Crisis’, remind the students of some of the solutions you spoke about.)

2. Watch the video clip below:

4. Recap some solutions as to how individuals can choose to help protect the planet (click through the carousel of images below, or you can view the whole article here):

5. Watch the video clip below:

6. Conversation starter: What are your opinions on protests?

  • Prompts

    Prompt students to consider:

    • what might be the outcome of a protest?
    • are protests permitted in different parts of the world?

7. Follow up question: Are there any other types of smaller/simpler protests than taking to the streets? What different types of protests can you think of?

  • Answers may include

    Answers may include:

    • voting with money (eg stop buying unsustainable products)
    • social media campaigns
    • contacting influential people
    • petitions

8. Watch the video clip below:

9. Conversation starter: Do you think companies and governments do enough to protect the planet?

  • Follow up questions
    • What do some companies and governments already do to help protect the planet?
    • What else should they be doing (if anything)? 

10. Watch the video clip below:

  • Conversation starter: Do you think there should be any consequences for people or countries who damage the environment the most?
  • Prompts

    Prompt students to consider:

    • what would be fair, reasonable and practical?

Climate Justice

suggested time 15 - 20 mins. This topic is recommended for more advanced students.

1. Conversation starter: The planetary emergency does not and will not affect people equally across the world. In what ways do you think it might affect some people more than others?

  • Prompts

    Prompt students to consider:

    • sea level rising
    • extreme temperatures
    • storms floods and other weather
    • related events 
    • crop failure

2. Watch the video clip below:

3. Conversation starter: How do you feel about living in a relatively protected country that contributes heavily to the planetary emergency, whilst other countries contribute less but feel the affects more?

Eco Anxiety

suggested time 15 - 30 mins

1. Conversation starter: How do you each feel about the state of the planet?

  • Prompts

    Prompt students to consider:

    • are they affected currently by the climate crisis?
    • do they think they will ever be affected?
    • do they worry about this?
    • does everyone feel the same? 

2. Watch the video clip below:

3. Conversation starter: Do you feel like you have the power to change things?

  • Prompts

    Prompt students to consider:

    • why/why not?
    • what do you feel like you do have power over?
    • what do you feel like is out of your control?

    Try to help students realise factors that they do have control over.

4. Watch the video clip below:

5. It is very common for people to feel anxious about the planetary crisis. Here are some things to remember if you start to feel overwhelmed:

  • Remind yourself that caring about the planet and your future the right thing to do. It is something worth caring about. Having worrying feelings about it is justified and common.
  • Turn anxiety into action – this can help you feel less helpless and more in control. Pause when you need too, keep going when you are able.
  • These are long term problems, so the solutions will be long term solutions. It will take a long time to see positive outcomes. Come back to the present moment and think about what you can control right now.
  • It is easy to feel that in such a big problem, there is nothing you can do that would make a difference but remember: 'We don't need a handful of people doing (it) perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.'
  • Do what you can – not everyone is able to take on board all solutions. Don’t feel ashamed if you cannot join in with certain solutions.
  • Remember, choices become habits. Start with one small positive choice and it might become automatic habit over time.
  • Talk about the changes you make, the good and bad bits – this can help you feel more in control of the situation and might inspire others to get involved too.
  • Get outside! Nature can have a positive impact on wellbeing.
  • Support to each other’s efforts. We are all in this together. Inside classrooms, homes and across the globe. Notice and encourage other people’s positive actions.

COP 27

suggested time 10 - 15 mins

1. Conversation starter: Have you heard of COP before? What do you understand about it?

2. Watch the video clip below:

3.  Conversation starter: In a meeting of global leaders – what priorities do you think different countries might have? What would you hope would be at the top of the agenda for them to discuss? 

  • Prompts

    Prompt students to consider:

    • how a country’s wealth might impact their priorities
    • if efforts are only undertaken by some countries
    • how might this affect the global target