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“Learning through the documentary was very different because we were engaged. It wasn’t just ‘climate change is happening.’ It’s happening in our backyards.”
Annabelle (18), Mekenzie (18), and Tanielma (17) stand at the edge of Island Road in Terrebonne Parish, the part of Louisiana’s coast that remains barely above the sea, watching as two excavators move dirt to build berms that might protect the land. When a storm blows from the west, or the east, the wind pushes water onto the road, sometimes making it impassable. Mekenzie is from here, “down the bayou,” which is sinking nearly faster than anywhere else on earth. She points to the open water: “That used to be land. My grandparents remember herds of cows and wild horses.” Tanielma, who lives in Baton Rouge, and Annabelle, who lives in Lafayette, stare at the blue-gray waves and try to imagine cows. These types of observations about climate change are increasingly commonplace. Less often considered, though, is how this knowledge alters our sense of who we are and what we can do.