Elemental tells the story of three individuals united by their deep connection with nature and driven to confront some of the most pressing ecological challenges of our time.
The film follows Rajendra Singh, an Indian government official gone rogue, on a 40-day pilgrimage down India’s once pristine Ganges river, now polluted and dying. Facing community opposition and personal doubts, Singh works to shut down factories, halt construction of dams, and rouse the Indian public to treat their sacred “Mother Ganga” with respect.
Across the globe in northern Canada, Eriel Deranger mounts her own “David and Goliath” struggle against the world’s largest industrial development, the Tar Sands, an oil deposit larger than the state of Florida. A young mother and native Denè, Deranger struggles with family challenges while campaigning tirelessly against the Tar Sands and its proposed 2,000-mile Keystone XL Pipeline, which are destroying Indigenous communities and threatening an entire continent.
And in Australia, inventor and entrepreneur Jay Harman searches for investors willing to risk millions on his conviction that nature’s own systems hold the key to our world’s ecological problems. Harman finds his inspiration in the natural world’s profound architecture and creates a revolutionary device that he believes can slow down global warming, but will it work?
Separated by continents yet sharing an unwavering commitment to protecting nature, the characters in this story are complex, flawed, postmodern heroes for whom stemming the tide of environmental destruction fades in and out of view – part mirage, part miracle.
The 57-minute educational cut is a condensed version of the feature-length film and is geared specifically for classroom use.
Use Elemental in Your Classroom
This discussion guide offers suggestions for exploring some of the themes and issues presented in the 57-minute educational cut of the film Elemental. It is designed for educators working with high school or college-level students. The film and guide may be used in a wide variety of courses, including environmental studies, English, literature, political science, career exploration, leadership, or service learning.
These conversation cards provide ways for students to engage with the film. The cards are organized around the following themes: connection to place, perseverance, and nature as teacher. These themes provide ways for students to engage with the film’s content. Use these cards to foster meaningful dialogue in the classroom.