Among the many ZEP lessons that I incorporate into my curriculum, a powerful and relevant one that I adopted for distance learning this year was the role play for the film “Necessity: Oil, Water, and Climate Resistance.” I had not heard of the film and was so glad to have found it through the Zinn Education Project. It was perfect for our U.S. history course with an Ethnic Studies lens, through its various intersections of indigeniety, climate justice, advocacy, and more.
Living in the Pacific Northwest, many of my students were unaware of the controversies and dangers around oil pipelines, specifically Line 3 and the story told in this lesson. They made deep connections to the challenges of indigenous peoples protecting their sacred grounds and waterways, especially since we have local water issues as well and Alberta Tar Sands oil passing through our great state. Many of my white students also saw the action of the valve turners and attorneys as empowering and inspiring to the ways that we all can be advocates and protect our earth and native peoples. Thanks so much to Ursula Wolfe-Rocca, Zinn Education Project, and the role models for social justice protecting our waters and sacred grounds as taught through this lesson.