Film Club: ‘‘Goodbye, Earth’: A Story for Grown-Ups’

Film Club: ‘‘Goodbye, Earth’: A Story for Grown-Ups’

Students in U.S. high schools can get free digital access to The New York Times until Sept. 1, 2021.

‘Goodbye, Earth’: A Story for Grown-Ups is a two-minute film that tackles the themes of environment, responsibility and change. In the video Op-Ed, 9-year-old Zayne Cowie turns the table on grown-ups, reading a children’s book written especially for them: “Goodbye, Earth.”

The book calls out the adults who’ve failed at addressing climate change, leaving the consequences to be dealt with by younger generations: “While cities burned and temperatures soared, you upped and left the Paris accord. You chose big cars, fast food and coal. The fossil fuels, my future stole. You think this is a fun rhyme book? With your inaction, the Earth will cook.”

Where do you think responsibility lies for the climate change crisis? If you were to create a children’s book on climate change for adults, what message would you want them to understand?


1. Watch the short film above. While you watch, you might take notes using our Film Club Double-Entry Journal (PDF) to help you remember specific moments.

2. After watching, think about these questions:

  • What questions do you still have?

  • What connections can you make between this film and your own life or experience? Why? Does this film remind you of anything else you’ve read or seen? If so, how and why?

3. An additional challenge | Respond to the essential question at the top of this post: What could adults learn about climate change from a young person’s perspective?

4. Next, join the conversation by clicking on the comment button and posting in the box that opens on the right. (Students 13 and older are invited to comment, although teachers of younger students are welcome to post what their students have to say.)

5. After you have posted, try reading back to see what others have said, then respond to someone else by posting another comment. Use the “Reply” button or the @ symbol to address that student directly.

6. To learn more, you can browse the full book version of Zayne Cowie’s “Goodbye, Earth” here.

If you are interesting in exploring the issue of climate change further, please join us for our live panel for students, “Covering the Climate Crisis,” on April 22.

Want More Film Club?

See all the films in this series.

Read our list of practical teaching ideas, along with responses from students and teachers, for how you can use these documentaries in the classroom.