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Be Smart


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


Science, Biology

Resource Type

  • Videos, 11 minutes, 7 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus



YouTube Video

If We Plant 1 Trillion Trees Can We Stop Climate Change?

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  • This video explains the important role that trees play in capturing carbon and halting climate change. 
  • Students will learn about tree-planting activists, the importance of protecting existing forests, and the potential for using synthetic biology to help trees sequester even more carbon. 

Teaching Tips


  • The video does a good job of explaining why we will need to reduce our carbon emissions while also protecting all the existing trees and replanting as many trees as possible. 
  • There are great animations and images to help support the material.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This video contains advertisements.


  • Biology classes could discuss why RuBisCo has not evolved to be more efficient like other molecular enzymes. Students could debate whether scientists should try to manipulate RuBisCo so that it is more productive. 
  • Science classes or environmental clubs could organize a tree-planting day for the community and use this interactive resource from the Nature Conservancy to see which neighborhoods would benefit most from having more trees. 
  • Other resources on this topic include this MIT resource, this video about natural solutions to climate change, this table of solutions from Project Drawdown, this lesson about climate solutions, and this Vox video on how humans disrupted the natural carbon cycle.
Scientist Notes
This PBS video highlights an important aspect of climate science policy. Trees are often touted as the only solution to climate change and, unfortunately, the math does not work out on this one; we do not have enough space for trees to compensate for the total amount of carbon emissions we currently put into the atmosphere. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Science and Engineering
    • ESS2: Earth’s Systems
      • HS-ESS2-2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
      • HS-ESS2-6 Develop a quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
      • HS-LS1-5 Use a model to illustrate how photosynthesis transforms light energy into stored chemical energy.
      • HS-LS1-6 Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for how carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen from sugar molecules may combine with other elements to form amino acids and/or other large carbon-based molecules.
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