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The Woods Hole Public Library will show a new documentary on Monday, May 20 at 7 PM in the evening, and again on Wednesday, May 22 at 1 PM. The film “Human Element” shows the effect of human activity on the natural world, an activity which has now surpassed all other forces shaping our world.

The film-maker, James Balog brings this film to the public after his four-decade career as a photographer and explorer. He focuses his lens on the complex relationship between humans and nature.

Balog’s work challenges us to contemplate our place in, and responsibility to, the natural world. He investigates how altering the elements is in turn affecting everyday Americans right now.

“Human Element” features people who are often overlooked as victims of climate change. Balog visits Tangier Island, in Chesapeake Bay, a fishing community facing the imminent reality of sea level rise threatening their future. In Denver, Colorado, he introduces Yadira Sanchez and her three children all of whom suffer from asthma, and attend a special school for children struggling with air. Balog embeds with a Cal Fire strike team on the frontlines of the most expensive wildfire in California history. And he ventures deep into Kentucky coal country, meeting unemployed miners finding hope from a new source.

Balog argues that humans are part of the whole system of nature and not apart from it. Knowing this, he finds great hope that the fifth element, the human element, can bring the whole system back into balance.

This film, which was released in 2018, runs 76 minutes. It will be offered free, and is open to the public.