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…Bethel has a high reputation for scholastic achievement. As long as I am able, I will continue to support my alma mater.
Jacqui-Ann Doig, R.N., ’07

Documentary shows the human face of climate change

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, located at Bethel College, will continues its annual film series April 6, with the 2010 release Climate Refugees.

The 86-minute documentary screens at 3:30 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in the Fine Arts Center. The film is free and open to the public, with a freewill offering taken to support the work of KIPCOR.

A new global phenomenon is that of “climate refugees” – people displaced by climatically induced environmental disasters that result from incremental and rapid ecological change, which are producing increased drought, desertification, sea-level rise and more frequent occurrence of extreme weather events such as hurricanes, cyclones, fires, flooding and tornadoes.

All this is causing mass global migration and border conflicts. Climate Refugees illuminates the human face of climate change as civilization now finds itself facing the confluence of overpopulation, lack of resources and a changing climate.

Irish-American filmmaker Michael Nash and his producing partner Justin Hogan visited 50 countries in about 18 months. They interviewed a variety of leading scientists, relief workers, security consultants and major political figures, including John Kerry and Newt Gingrich.

All make a strong case that whether the changing climate is a result of human causes or is a product of nature, it is already creating humanitarian disasters and will inevitably lead to worldwide political instability.

The film also includes the voices of some of the 25 million climate refugees on the run worldwide, with footage from Bangladesh, Chad, China, Fiji, Kenya, Maldives, Sudan, Tuvalu and the United States, as well as Europe.

After making Climate Refugees, Nash concluded that both the short- and longer-term changes in climate are causing vast numbers of people to abandon jobs, homes and countries, sometimes to seek better lives elsewhere, sometimes simply to survive.

Some of the questions he asks in the film are: What will become of the millions whose lack of access to food and clean water leads them to take increasingly desperate measures? How will migration on this scale strain the resources in more developed countries?

And, as retired Navy vice admiral Lee Gunn posits in the film, will this also pose a threat to Americans’ national security?

Climate Refugees was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Independent Film Festival, among many others, and has garnered numerous awards and accolades.

Sherry Quinn said on National Public Radio: “[This is] a must-see film that puts the human soul in the science of climate change. … a resounding wake-up call for every human being….”

The audience for the April 6 screening of Climate Refugees at Bethel College will be able to participate in a talk-back session after the film with Jon Piper, Bethel professor of biology, and other resource people.

For more information about the showing of Climate Refugees, contact KIPCOR at 316-284-5217.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2013-14 Forbes.com analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States, and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2013-14. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.