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Where’s Mr. Moose? (Teaching children about climate change’s impact on wildlife)

Berek Bigos


Where’s Mr. Moose?

A children’s book about the exinctintion of Minnesota’s moose population by Berek Bigos

ABSTRACT: Where’s Mr. Moose? is a picture book (with the target audience being children ages 2-4) that teaches children the effects of climate change. The goal of this picture book is to introduce young children to the idea of climate change in a playuful way, while also showing them that climate change isn’t something to be taken lightly. The story itself is about a moose by the name of Mr. Moose, who lives in Minnesota and loves to play outside during the winter time. But then when spring comes along, he goes missing. His fellow animal friends search for him everywhere but he is nowhere to be found. Eventually, we find out that a character by the name of Mr. Tick is responsible for Mr. Moose going missing. Specifically, we find out that Mr. Tick himself has spread dieseases across the entire moose population of Minnesota, causing them to go extinct (including Mr. Moose). Mr. Tick tells the reader that he was able to accomplish this because Minnesota’s shorter winters have granted him the ability to come out of hiding earlier than usual, allowing him to take the moose population by surprise. After this, the narrator of the story takes over and describes to the reader that Minnesota is having shorter winters due to climate change, and these shorter winters are allowing the ticks to come out early and give moose deadly dieseases at an accelerated rate. The story concludes on a positive note saying that eventhough Mr. Moose and the moose population have gone extinct in the story, they are still alive in the real world. This ending is suppose to inspire children to being thinking about climate change and how it is effecting the world around them.


Addressing Climate Change Through Film Today, the art of cinema is more popular than it has ever been. Despite the slow death of local theaters, the cinematic art form has found itself able to adapt and transform for the current times. One of the many reasons why cinema is so popular is due its escapism attributes. In fact, many would argue that the vast majority of audiences watch movies and tv shows in order to escape their every day lives and be transported to an entirely different world. But, what happens when filmmakers implement prominent societal issues into their films? Does it end up breaking the immersion, or does it add to it by making the narrative more relatable? As we’ve seen with films such as Jordan Peele’s, Get Out, (which subtly addressed the issue of modern-day racism behind the mask of a horror film) inserting societal issues into film can educate the audience on an important issue without them feeling as though they are being lectured. Although there have been many films that have incorporated the effects of climate change into their plots, there has yet to be a film that directly educates the audience on climate change as a whole without disregarding the facts behind it. According to a study done by Yale University, merely half of all Americans understand that climate change itself is caused by human activities. As many who are educated on the issues of climate change understand, mankind itself is the perpetrator of climate change. That being said, the fact that only half of America understands the primary contributor behind climate change shows us that there is a definitive necessity to educate the American public on this issue. Despite half of the American public having minimal knowledge on the main contributor to climate change, there is still a drive to learn about the issue. In fact, the same study done by Yale University says that 75% of Americans have an interest in learning more about climate change. Personally, I believe that the best way to educate the American people is through an art form that everyone can understand and enjoy: film. As previously mentioned, there have been films that have, in the past, used the different outcomes of climate change to advance their plots and add a more “realistic” attribute to the world that the filmmakers are trying to build. Unfortunately, many of the most popular climate change-related films are based upon fiction and give the audience a subtle warning of what the world will come to in the possible future where climate change isn’t addressed. With my final project, I would like to incorporate the positive aspects of climate change-related films while also using what they got wrong as ways to better my final product. In the end, I will hope to have created a short film that educates the audience on the current effects of climate change (as well as the main contributors to climate change) in a simple way. One of the most popular and iconic films that heavily intertwines climate change into its narrative is Disney Pixar’s, WALL-E. Released in 2008, this beautifully-animated film follows the story of a robot named WALL-E who falls in love with another robot EVE and leaves his home on earth to pursue the love of his life. But, in the universe that WALL-E takes place in, the earth has long since been destroyed and humanity has left the planet entirely. When it comes to addressing issues of climate change, WALL-E misconstrues the biggest contributors to climate change. Instead of having the world be destroyed by the various effects of C02, WALL-E depicts excessive amounts of trash as being the main contributor to humans being forced out of the planet. In the animated film, earth is almost completely filled with trash (so much so that entire skyscrapers are made out of trash). Even though The World Bank recently released a report that states earth’s total amount of trash will have tripled by the year 2100 , excessive waste still isn’t the biggest contributor to climate change and won’t be the primary factor that ultimately leads to our planet’s demise. Unfortunately, when it comes to addressing facts on climate change, WALL-E falls short. them care for him even more.


One of the most popular and iconic films that heavily intertwines climate change into its narrative is Disney Pixar’s, WALL-E. Released in 2008, this beautifully-animated film follows the story of a robot named WALL-E who falls in love with another robot EVE and leaves his home on earth to pursue the love of his life. But, in the universe that WALL-E takes place in, the earth has long since been destroyed and humanity has left the planet entirely. When it comes to addressing issues of climate change, WALL-E misconstrues the biggest contributors to climate change. Instead of having the world be destroyed by the various effects of C02, WALL-E depicts excessive amounts of trash as being the main contributor to humans being forced out of the planet. In the animated film, earth is almost completely filled with trash (so much so that entire skyscrapers are made out of trash). Even though The World Bank recently released a report that states earth’s total amount of trash will have tripled by the year 2100 , excessive waste still isn’t the biggest contributor to climate change and won’t be the primary factor that ultimately leads to our planet’s demise. Unfortunately, when it comes to addressing facts on climate change, WALL-E falls short. My personal obsession with this film comes from the potential this film has. Personally, I believe that the film would have made for a more informative and powerful experience had the filmmakers chosen to go into more detail on how the Earth got into the situation it did and why the situation itself got so dire that humanity had to leave the planet forever. Had the filmmakers based the earth’s demise on more realistic issues such as the effects of excess C02 emission from the continual use of fossil fuels , I believe WALL-E would have become a hallmark in the history of cinema for being able to teach an audience about climate change in a factually correct manner in a creative way. With this in mind, it’s important to note a key statement given by the film’s director, Andrew Stanton. Around the time the film was released, Stanton said in an interview regarding the environmental statement his film gives, “I knew that I was going into territory that was basically the same stuff, but I don’t have a political bent or ecological message to push.” From this statement, we get the understanding that the film wasn’t meant to be about climate change and therefore shouldn’t be judged as though it is. But, I believe that WALL-E is an incredible inspiration on how to create a lovable story that is enjoyable for people of all ages while also relating to climate change. For my short film, I hope to innovate upon the climate change-aspect of WALL-E while also incorporating a few of the film’s most powerful elements. The film itself is still amongst the greatest animated films of all time and shouldn’t be completely disregarded based on the way it handles climate change. In fact, there are still elements of the film that I want to keep in mind when I’m creating my short film. The single most important element of this film that inspired me to create a short film for my final project was how it makes the audience care for a main character that has very little dialogue. In my short film, I am setting out to create a narrative that revolves around a family of moose and how climate change is leading to their extinction. Because I want to keep the short film as believable and fact-based as possible, I won’t be having my characters speak any lines of dialogue. One of the reasons why Wall-E himself is such a lovable character is because of to his innocence and powerlessness to his surroundings. These exact characteristics leave audience the feeling protective over him and make them care for him even more. Throughout the history of cinema, we’ve seen various types of movies tackle issues that our world deals with on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the art of cinema has yet to release a movie that shows audiences how detrimental climate change is by using actual facts and realistic scenarios. Despite this, I believe that innovating upon WALL-E’s ability to bring awareness to climate change, while also incorporating what makes the film special, is key to creating a final product that can educate the world on planet earth’s biggest threat.


Works Cited

Leiserowitz, Anthony, et al. “Americans’ Knowledge of Climate Change.” Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, 10 Oct. 2010, climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/ Americans-knowledge-of-climate-change/. “Global Waste on Pace to Triple by 2100.” World Bank, 30 Oct. 2013, www.worldbank.org/en/ news/feature/2013/10/30/global-waste-on-pace-to-triple. Hoornweg, Daniel, et al. “Environment: Waste Production Must Peak This Century.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 30 Oct. 2013, www.nature.com/news/environment-waste-production-must-peak-this-century-1.14032. “Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 13 Apr. 2017, www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-data. Simon, Brett. “Pixar on ‘Wall-E’: Environmental Themes? What Environmental Themes?” Vulture, 26 June 2008, www.vulture.com/2008/06/pixar_on_walle_environmental_t.html. “WALL-E (2008).” Box Office Mojo, IMDb, 27 June 2008, www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=wall-e.htm. Wilkinson, Alissa. “Now Is the Time to Revisit Wall-E, Perhaps the Finest Environmental Film of the Past Decade.” Vox, Vox, 3 June 2017, www.vox.com/culture/2017/6/3/15728220/ wall-e-pixar-environmentalist-movie-of-week-paris-accord.


Where’s Mr. Moose? A children’s book about the exinctintion of Minnesota’s moose population by Berek Bigos This children’s book is created as an educational device to teach young children about the impacts of climate change. In many schools today, climate change is something that isn’t being taught as often as it should be. This lack of education is leaving many children unknowledgable about the dangers of climate change and what it will do for both the future of this planet and humanity. In certain situations where climate change is taught in schools, many educational institutions choose to teach children the effects that climate change is having on our personal lives in the current times. It is extremely uncommon for children to be taught about how climate change is going to effect their future, specifically how it will effect wildlife. This is an issue that I hope to solve through this children’s book.

Sustainable Aspects of This Project: • BOOK WILL FIRST BE PUBLISHED USING RECYCLABLE MATERIALS: In effort to help promote the use of recycled materials, the book itself will first be published using recylced materials. • IF PROVEN SUCCESSFULL, BOOK WILL BE PUBLISHED DIGITALLY: Once the book has proven that it is popular amongst children and is selling well, I would like to publish it on digital platforms. Eventually, the idea is to create this book into an interacive iPad application for children. This will cut out the use of paper entirely and will make the story more fun for children to interact with. • TEACHING CHILDREN IMPORTANT LIFE LESSONS: Not only will this story educate young kids on climate change, it will show our youth that there are consequences to your actions. This story teaches children this important life lesson by telling them that climate change, a problem caused by humans, is what is repsonsible for the moose population going extinct. • INSPIRING THE NEXT GENERATION: Most important, this book is meant to inspire the children of our world to begin thinking about climate change at a young age. Hopefully, this story will give them the inspiration they need to provide solutions to climate change.

This educational picture book gives young children the opportunity to learn about an effect of climate change that is going to be a critical issue that they will have to solve when they are grown up. In essense, Where’s Mr. Moose? was created to inspire our youth to inact change for the betternment of their future.


Self Evaluation

5 THINGS THAT ARE RIGHT ABOUT THIS PROJECT 1) The format of the book looks professional and looks like something that can be found on book shelves across the country. 2) The project itself is an example of me showing respect to my home state of Minnesota. Having lived in Minnesota my whole life, I really love how this story gives respect to the state and the wildlife that I’ve grown to love all these years 3) I personally believe that one of the strongest aspects of this story is the way that it was written. The wording makes it easy for people of all ages to understand the conflict. 4) Although the story is meant to be impactful, it is slighlty comical for older audiences. 5)I really enjoy the uniqueness of the story itself, not every children’s book has the main character die within the narrative.

5 THINGS THAT COULD BE IMPROVED ABOUT THIS PROJECT. 1) The biggest improvement that I would like to make on this project is the art itself. In the future I would like to hire a professional artist to hand-draw the pages. 2) Some pages require there to be a white box behind the text of the images, I believe this takes away from the art itself by covering up a portion of it. 3) Although the book is about Mr. Moose, he isn’t in the story for a long enough time. 4) Even though the story is unique and takes place in a state that not many people have been to, it may be too obscure to appeal to the average consumer. 5) I wish that I would’ve shown Mr. Tick latching onto Mr. Moose (and the rest of the moose population) so that the reader can see how ticks spread their dieseases.


Bio Berek Bigos is from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is currently a freshmen at Parsons School of Design located in New York City. At the time he is studying Design and Technology and hopes to become a video game designer upon graduating. In his freetime Berek loves to read comic books, play video games, watch movies and learn about American history. Throughout his life, Berek has always been intrigued by film. At the age of 15, Berekturned his intrigue into art when he began creating shortfilms. He has continued to create cinematic art ever since.

Final Project Portfolio (Sustainable Systems)  
Final Project Portfolio (Sustainable Systems)  
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