“I can’t escape the fact that coal made me who I am today,” said photographer James Balog, whose grandfather died at 62-years-old in a coal-mining accident. Balog has chronicled one climate change consequence of human coal use in “Chasing Ice” and narrated a film documenting another in “Message in a Bottle.” In “The Human Element,” he ponders “the fifth element” (after water, earth, air and fire). By changing the other four elements, he says, humans are “shaping the Earth as we know it.” Balog documents this collision between people and nature through stories ranging from Chesapeake Bay’s dwindling Tangier Island to California’s record-breaking wildfires of 2017 to last summer’s three devastating hurricanes.
This program is generously underwritten by Priscilla O’Neil; the Environmental Awareness Series is generously underwritten by Holly & Buck Elliot. This program is presented in partnership with Walking Mountains Science Center.