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Database Provider


Zinn Education Project


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, History

Resource Types

  • Articles and Websites
  • Interactive Media
  • Videos

Regional Focus


The Climate Crisis Has a History

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  • This interactive timeline traces the history of our current climate crisis back to 1452, examining human contributions to creating our current environmental emergency and scientific breakthroughs in climate change awareness.
  • Students will learn about the historical events and discoveries that initiated the global climate crisis and attempts and failures to address climate change.
Teaching Tips


  • There are 108 stories on the climate crisis timeline, enough to create an entire learning unit.
  • The article includes several teaching ideas.
  • There are links to related articles, podcasts, and books that will enable teachers to enhance their lessons.
  • The resource also includes links to even more teaching materials via a helpful sidebar.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Teachers can share this website via social media or print it to provide a hard copy.
  • Some timeline stories involve slavery and genocide, so teachers should prepare for questions.
  • Students should have prior knowledge of the climate crisis.


  • Since there are 108 stories, History teachers can assign research projects to individual students and have the students include other significant events that happened in their given years.
  • Each timeline event presents only a headline of information, so teachers can have students work in small groups to provide the details of each contributing factor.
  • Art teachers can have students create sketches for each main event on the timeline.
  • More advanced students can read the full articles included in some events, while those with low reading stamina can read just a few of the events.
  • The readings include a lot of content-specific vocabulary, so ELL students may benefit from using a tool like the Google Translate Chrome extension to translate the page.
Scientist Notes
This resource from the Zinn Education Project provides an excellent and informative interactive climate crisis timeline. The timeline starts in 1452 with the Doctrine of Discovery and continues through 2023, with each timeline tile providing additional information for students to explore. This interactive timeline is well sourced, well researched, and provides a wealth of information for students to learn about the climate crisis.

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

  • Social Studies
    • U.S. History: America in the World - Economics, Innovation, and Technology
      • 6.1.12.EconEM.2.c: Analyze how technological developments transformed the economy, created international markets, and affected the environment in New Jersey and the nation.
    • U.S. History: America in the World - Geography, People, and the Environment
      • 6.1.12.GeoHE.16.a: Explain why natural resources (i.e., fossil fuels, food, and water) continue to be a source of conflict and analyze how the United States and other nations have addressed issues concerning the distribution and sustainability of natural resources and climate change.
    • U.S. History: America in the World - History, Culture, and Perspectives
      • 6.1.12.HistoryCC.14.d: Evaluate the decisions to wage war in Iraq and Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks.
  • 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-ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • RI.IT.9–10.3 Analyze how an author unfolds ideas throughout the text, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.
      • RI.IT.11–12.3 Analyze the impact of an author's choices as they develop ideas throughout the text regarding a complex set of ideas or sequence of events, and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop.
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