Climate Sisu

Climate Sisu in the News

Great Lakes Now| PBS Documentary explores climate resilience in northern Michigan

Climate Sisu: The Stories of Climate Resilience from Northern Michigan

“Climate Sisu” is the first documentary to address climate change and community resiliency in Michigan. Taking the audience on a journey from GVSU campus "Up North" in search of community knowledge about climate action, resilience, adaptation, and education, the documentary offers an urgent, yet optimistic call for climate action. It is a collection of powerful stories told by environmental activists, students, climate scientists, educators, farmers, winemakers, and urban planners, looking for climate change solutions in our state.



Climate Sisu trailer

Watch here the most recent trailer of "Climate Sisu"

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What is Sisu?

“Sisu” is a concept known by many Michiganders, especially those who reside in the Upper Peninsula. It means “extrordinary determination, courage, and resoluteness in the face of adversity”.  Our team (at the Climate Change Education Solutions Network) felt a deep connection to this word as we traveled throughout our state. Not only did we see first hand the work of those who embody Sisu in the midst of climate change, but we also felt the hope that they were creating. Rather than inciting action through fear and “doom and gloom” messages, these educators, citizens, and climate activists reinforced how fun and rewarding doing their part in creating a resilient future can be. It is possible to be hopeful about our future and for each of us to take part in climate resiliency— Climate Sisu.

Elena Sisu

Meet Elena Lioubimtseva

Elena Lioubimtseva is a full professor of geography and sustainable planning at GVSU with over 30 years of field research experience across four continents. She is an author of more than 50 scholarly publications and hundreds of academic and community presentations on human vulnerability, community resilience, climate adaptation planning, education for sustainable development, human dimensions of global change, land-use and land-cover changes, environmental and climate justice, and applications of geospatial technologies for environmental monitoring. Teaching full-time at GVSU since 2000, Elena has led numerous research and education projects on climate change. Lioubimtseva is currently an R.G. Mawby Faculty Fellow at the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy. She is a co-founder and leader of the Climate Change Education Solutions Network and is active on the boards of several environmental organizations locally and internationally.

"Working as a writer and film producer for Climate Sisu and being a part of the cast was a truly transformative experience for me. I am trilled with this story-telling project connecting GVSU expertise in climate change science with breathtaking beauty of Northern Michigan and its people".

Kristin Davis

Meet Kristin Davis

Kristin graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2022 with a bachelor's degree in Film & Video Production. Some of her most recent works include a short documentary called Representation On Screen: Focusing on Women in Cinema and her upcoming fiction-short film The Collection. She is   a free-lance cinematographer, editor, content producer, and film director based in Los Angeles, California. She was a videographer, editor, and co-director for Climate Sisu and video editor in Elena Lioubimtseva's project Michigan Resources for Climate and Land Change Education in 2021-23 funded by NASA Michigan Space Grant Consortium.


Meet Leah Anderson

 Leah is a proud alumna of GVSU, graduating in 2020 with a Bachelor's in Geography and Environmental Studies. She is passionate about climate change adaptation, mitigation, and resiliency which sparked her interest in the Climate Change Education Solutions Network. She began her work with the CCESN as a research assistant working Professor Lioubimtseva on the first GVSU Climate Change Education Solutions summit in 2019. Leah returned to Grand Valley in 2022 to assist in the production of Climate Sisu. She is currently pursuing her Master's of Environmental Policy at the University of Denver. As a native of Marquette, Leah feels a very strong connection with the Upper Peninsula's nature and the concept of sisu as a metaphor of climate resilience.

Climate Sisu screenings

Please, contact Professor Elena Lioubimtseva if you are interested to host a screening and/or discussion of Climate Sisu.



Executive Producer: Climate Change Education Solutions Network

Producers: Elena Lioubimtseva, Leah Anderson, Kristin Davis

Directors: Kristin Davis and Elena Lioubimtseva

Videography: Kristin Davis and Leah Anderson

Narrator: Leah Anderson


Sponsors: NASA Michigan Space Grant, GVSU Office for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship, GVSU Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence



Page last modified April 3, 2024