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House on fire

Last week, world leaders and business chiefs met in Davos to talk about global issues and solutions. 16-year-old Greta Thunberg from Sweden was there too. She presented her point of view on climate action.

Read the following words and phrases and their definitions.

  • lack of effective change – not enough action to make real changes
  • price tag – the amount of money that something costs
  • to acknowledge – to admit; to say that you accept or do not deny the truth or existence of something
  • broad public awareness – the situation that many people know that something exists or is happening
  • homo sapiens – the human race; all human beings
  • to gain notoriety – to become well-known for things you do or say
  • mature – having the mental and emotional qualities of an adult and acting like that
  • to uphold an agreement – to give support to an agreement and stick to it
  • to adhere to environmental regulations – to act in the way that is required by the rules for making and keeping the world healthy
  • unspoken sufferings – physical or mental pain which is understood without being directly said aloud


First read the assignment. Next watch the video. Take notes to help you do the assignment.

1. What does Greta mean when she suggests that ‘the house is on fire’?
2. What does Greta want of the world leaders?
3. Greta says: ‘Their financial success has come with an unthinkable price tag.’ What is this ‘price tag’ she is talking about?
4. According to Greta, is it too late to do anything? Explain your answer.
5. Does Greta think it will be an easy task to solve the climate crisis? Explain your answer.

Watch Greta’s full speech here.
– Also listen to Greta’s message to Davos before leaving by train from Stockholm to Switzerland.
– Children all over the world are concerned about climate change. Check out this earlier video with students in Australia.


Extra speaking assignment
Greta Thunberg started the climate strike movement, young people skipping school to draw attention to the issue of climate change.

1. How do you feel about going on a school strike because of climate change?
2. Split the class in two.
3. One side thinks of arguments for striking, the other against striking.
4. Have a class discussion.

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