BHP Lesson 45: The Future of Our Planet

Our future faces several potential problems, but we’re also equipped with plenty of tools to make positive changes now. How can empathy help us solve even the most pressing global issues?


Driving Question: How can we work today to solve problems that will affect future generations?

  • We’ve identified a number of problems affecting the world today. We know they’ll have an impact on future generations, too. So what can we do about it? What actions can we take today to mitigate the effects of climate change? These are big problems, but even the smallest actions will help. We can cut down on the amount of single-use plastics we consume. We can drive less and walk or bike more. We can take just one paper towel instead of three. To really make a dent in the problems of the future, we need to start thinking about how our actions affect others, and that’s going to require some empathy.

Word of the Day: Empathy

  • Definition: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another person.
  • When we feel sympathy, we feel sorry or sad for someone else. However, when we have empathy, we actually put ourselves in the shoes of that person to better understand and relate to the way they’re feeling. Empathy builds our capacity for compassion. When we have compassion for others, we’re more likely to act in ways that benefit them, not just ourselves. 


  • Go to Khan Academy and do the activity The Future of Our Planet.
  • This activity is going to get you thinking about how we can solve some of the biggest problems we’ll face in the future. You’ve already got a list of problems from the Visions of the Future activity. Use that list today as you generate solutions!

Historian’s Journal Prompt

  • What actions can you take to solve a problem facing your local community?
  • Earlier this week, you brainstormed about a problem facing your local community. Now it’s time for you to take action. Who can you interview to make sure that you understand perspectives other than your own on this issue? What resources or organizations already exist in your community that you might be able to connect with? How can you use your unique talents and skills to make a difference?