Written by Shelli-Kae Foster, YES! Program Director
To kick off the MN Conference for Science Educators (MnCOSE) The Human Element was shown to a crowd of educators from around the state. The Paramount Theatre in St. Cloud was the perfect venue to gather for this deep dive into how climate change is affected by humans and how humans are affected by it. This made for a robust discussion afterwards.
The movie is divided into five elements including earth, air, water, fire and people. Each segment focuses on a community struggling with issues brought on by climate change. One story that particularly affected me was about children who go to a special school because of their health needs due to respiratory issues such as asthma. In fact, most children at the school visit the school nurse up to four times a day to use their inhalers, take medicine, or be plugged into their oxygen devices. One student said, “sometimes I feel like I am drowning when my asthma is really bad.” One local expert commented, “even if you don’t give a damn about climate change, you should care about what your family puts into their lungs.”
The movie can be viewed as a whole or broken into segments. There are curriculum guides to accompany the movie whether you choose to view this with peers or students. It can be purchased on Amazon for $12.99 or you can rent it for $4.99.
After the movie, I joined a panel of three others to facilitate a discussion about the movie. My takeaway was that the movie gave a very good up close and personal view on how climate change affects humans in their daily lives. I believe the next step is to bring these topics close to home, building stories about how climate change affects each one of us in our own region. And then let’s work to seek solutions to mitigate climate change every chance we get!
Major funding for the YES! program was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).