Economics Toolkit: Teaching The Tragedy of the Commons using Climate-Related Examples

As a teacher of undergraduate Economics you can use this set of computer-based tools when teaching The Tragedy of the Commons.

Your current lesson plan can be augmented with the following resources of this toolkit

  1. Video that introduces the concept of Tragedy of the Commons
  2. Reading Climate Change: The Ultimate Tragedy of the Commons?
  3. Laboratory Activity in which the atmosphere of planet Earth can be considered as a “commons” and that it is affected by human activities such as global warming.

Thus, the use of this toolkit allows you to integrate the teaching of a climate science topic with a core topic in Economics.

Introducing the economic concept of ‘tragedy of the commons’ using global warming

In this laboratory activity, students learn that the atmosphere of planet Earth can be considered as a “commons” and that it is affected by human activities such as global warming. The activity also asks students to consider possible economic drivers as potential solutions for the global warming “tragedy”.

Cli-Fi: Climate Science in Literary Texts

“This module addresses both aspects of climate literacy: understanding of climate science through data analysis and interpretation, and understanding of literary tools and techniques through which climate science is portrayed. The module is designed to be completed in introductory natural science classes where literature is not typically included as well as in humanities classes where climate change science is not normally addressed.” (quoted from

Global Warming I: The Science and Modeling of Climate Change

This e-learning course contains video lectures and exercises based on the use of different models/simulators  to explain the science of climate change. Several factors that influence the climate of planet Earth are discussed and the course also includes material related to the “forecast for humans’ impact on Earth’s climate”.

Climate Change | A Human Health Perspective: A Student Exploration of the Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States

In this lesson plan, students learn about the impacts of climate change on human health. The lesson plan contains several modules and case studies on issues such as Temperature-related Death and Illness; Air Quality Impacts; Vector-Borne Diseases; Water-Related Illness; Food Safety; Mental Health and Well-Being.

Climate Justice in BC: Lessons for Transformation

This educational resource consists of eight modules that situates climate justice within the context of British Columbia’s ecology, history, economy and community. The modules are Introduction to Climate Justice, Reimagining our Food System, Transportation Transformation, Rethinking Waste, Fracking Town Hall, Green Industrial Revolution, Imagining the Future We Want, Challenges to Change.