This is a short film about life on the rapidly disappearing Isle de Jean Charles, a small island off the coast of Louisiana.
The resource also includes a standards-aligned lesson plan and a number of links to websites and articles.
The short film couples two personal accounts from residents of Isle de Jean Charles with beautiful cinematography, giving the audience a meaningful look at both the richness of the natural environment and the vanishing culture on the island.
Though the lesson plan is geared towards high school students, most components are suitable for middle school students as well.
The film was made in 2014 and the situation on the island has changed dramatically since that time. This resource provides up-to-date information on the current resettlement plan for Isle de Jean Charles residents.
The film does not explain that the Isle de Jean Charles is home to the Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Tribe.
English classes could follow the film with any of the following writing prompts:
The two residents in the film, Edison Dardar and Chris Brunet, do not want to leave Isle de Jean Charles even though they know staying on the island will be difficult and possibly dangerous. Why do you think the island is so important to the two men?
The federal government is funding a resettlement project for residents of Isle de Jean Charles to establish a new community in a different location. If you were a resident of the island, how would this make you feel? Why?
Who or what do you think is responsible for the changes on Isle de Jean Charles? What lessons can be learned from what happened to the island?
Science classes could make a cause and effect chart to explain how Isle de Jean Charles has changed. After the list is complete, small groups could discuss solutions that might prevent other coastal islands from vanishing.
Biology classes could research and discuss the importance of barrier islands, such as Isle de Jean Charles, to coastal communities.
Social studies and geography classes could use this article to discuss the ethical questions surrounding people, like the residents of Isle de Jean Charles, who are displaced because of climate change.
Other resources on this topic include this resource on how sea level rise is forcing people to leave their homes, this firsthand account of flooding in Louisiana from Our Climate Voices, and this video on slowing coastal erosion.
This resource is a short 9-minute documentary looking at the impact of sea level rise and storm surges on a coastal community in Louisiana. This resource provides insight into the ways in which people living in areas threatened by sea level rise live and understand their environment and is a demonstration of human resilience. This resource is recommended for teaching.
English Language Arts
Speaking & Listening (K-12)
11-12.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, perspective, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
HS.ESS3.1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
HS.LS2.6 Evaluate claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
5.13 Describe how natural and human-made events in one place affect people in other places.
HS.44 Assess how changes in the environmental and cultural characteristics of a place or region influence spatial patterns of trade, land use, and issues of sustainability.
HS.48 Determine the influence of long-term climate change and variability on human migration, settlement patterns, resource use, and land uses at local-to-global scales.