New York middle schoolers Yassy, Zhao, and Beatrice are among the students who take part in a unique and vital school program teaching environmental and climate literacy called RiSC: the Resilient Schools Consortium. While climate education is supported by a majority of parents, teachers, and students in the U.S., most teachers aren’t talking about it. But, in Brooklyn, climate change is on the curriculum and IT’S OUR FUTURE tells the story of RiSC, these kids, and their forward-thinking New York educators.
A wonderful, heart-warming snapshot, this documentary portrait was made before and during the toughest time in their—and our—lifetimes: the COVID-19 pandemic. In March of 2020, RiSC staff and their partners were planning boat excursions and dune plantings at local beaches. Then, everything changed: the pandemic hit and New York City schools were closed. Families got hit hard, including sixth grader Yassy’s family: she’s been in self-isolation for 77 days and her parents aren’t working from home but, as restaurant owners, they need to be out, risking their health and lives.
Still, the teachers, students, and partners all committed to finishing the school year with online learning and virtual field trips. As RiSC teaches, and IT’S OUR FUTURE tells, climate resilience education proved to be a powerful tool that helped young people learn how to adapt and thrive in the face of tragedy, disruption and uncertainty.
Lukas Huffman is an award-winning writer and director based in Brooklyn. Huffman’s narrative feature film, WHEN THE OCEAN MET THE SKY (2016), won more than a dozen awards worldwide and was selected for the Toronto International Film Festival Circuit. He has been commissioned to create science and technology driven films for networks and organizations such as The New York Times, Vice Media, ESPN, The Boston Globe, The National Wildlife Federation, and more. His digital series DEAR FUTURE (2018), won a Webby Award. Huffman is passionate about supporting the voices of the next generation of social justice and climate activists.