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Council on Foreign Relations


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Geography

Resource Type

  • Podcast, 36 minutes, 25 seconds

Regional Focus


Climate Adaptation: Rising Tides in Coastal Cities

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  • This podcast describes climate adaptations related to sea level rise, including seawalls, barriers, nature-based solutions, and flood-tolerant infrastructure like floating cities.
  • This podcast details impacts and strategies for at-risk countries and cities worldwide, including New York City, the Netherlands, Miami, Bangladesh, and Houston.
Teaching Tips


  • The host and guests discuss nature-based solutions like mangrove restoration and green infrastructure as sustainable ways to adapt to sea level rise.
  • The real-world examples of successful climate adaptations in flood-vulnerable countries like the Netherlands demonstrate that solutions are possible.
  • The podcast discusses economic issues related to relocation, real estate, and flood insurance, and using these economic arguments can be an effective way to prompt action.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with concepts related to disaster response, such as FEMA, flood insurance, and storm surge.
  • Students should also know about the causes and effects of climate change.


  • Social studies or geography classes can discuss the potential for large-scale human migration due to climate change.
  • The webpage for the podcast includes a transcript with links to additional resources that are helpful for students following along in a classroom, especially those who struggle with auditory processing or ELL students.
  • Consider printing some of the linked articles on the Read More section of the webpage and have learners complete a jigsaw activity where they read the different articles and summarize them in groups.
  • Students can research topics mentioned in the podcast, such as climate migration, flooding, sea level rise, and others that interest them.
  • Students can discuss how to approach the disproportionate effects of climate change on those who contributed to it the least.

Scientist Notes
This podcast discusses sea level, its impacts, and how society can adapt to these changes. Initially, the podcast defines sea level rise and details how it will evolve in the near and more distant future. The podcast then examines different adaptation ideas and emphasizes that there are options and that each area has different needs. This resource also explains the differences between mitigation and adaptation and how climate solutions can involve both. The resource includes links to news clips the podcast quoted and other media and resources from guests and CFR. The information presented is accurate, and this resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.9-10.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any false reasoning or distorted evidence.
      • SL.11-12.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-1. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
      • HS-ESS3-5. Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth’s systems.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-1. Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
      • 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.
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