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Gabrielle Sierra


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


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Podcasts, 36 minutes, 50 seconds

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - Northeast, Washington D.C.

Why It Matters: Water Scarcity

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  • In this podcast episode, the host speaks with the founder and director of the Global Water Policy Project, Sandra Postel, and Georgetown geography professor Mark Giordano, to learn about solutions for conserving water and protecting the water cycle.
  • Students will learn about the water cycle and how climate change and uneven human consumption have caused many regions to experience water scarcity. 
  • Students will also learn that agriculture and textiles use a tremendous amount of water, with agriculture using the most water by far and understand the effects on the Colorado River.
Teaching Tips


  • This podcast episode will help foster the understanding that water is a shared resource.
  • A full transcript of the podcast episode is available.
  • The show notes provide links to sources for further reading.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have a basic understanding of the water cycle.
  • An advertisement plays at 15:10.


  • Civics or social studies classes could discuss the relationship between water availability and geopolitics.
  • As an extension to this resource, consider inspiring the students to think of a creative way of making more water available to vulnerable people within their neighborhood or community.
  • Science classes could use this resource for lessons about the water cycle, human uses of water, the thermal expansion of water, the phases of water, or how water is essential for life.
  • Other resources on this topic include this resource about the water cycle, this article about how forests protect water for cities, and this United Nations article on climate migrants.
Scientist Notes
This resource is a podcast that takes a close look at multiple issues related to water scarcity and climate change. This resource includes interviews with experts and covers topics including the water cycle, climate change, policy, resource conflict, and environmental personhood. A transcript is also available. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • MS-ESS2-4 Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth's systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-2 Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.
      • MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
      • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
      • 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.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.12.6-8 Assess specific rules and laws (both actual and proposed) as means of addressing public problems.
      • D2.Civ.13.9-12 Evaluate public policies in terms of intended and unintended outcomes, and related consequences.
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.10.6-8 Analyze the ways in which cultural and environmental characteristics vary among various regions of the world.
      • D2.Geo.10.9-12 Evaluate how changes in the environmental and cultural characteristics of a place or region influence spatial patterns of trade and land use.
      • D2.Geo.12.9-12 Evaluate the consequences of human-made and natural catastrophes on global trade, politics, and human migration.
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