By Erin Hassanzadeh

MANKATO, Minn. (WCCO) – It’s a continent that many people will never reach, but a high school science teacher at Mankato East just returned from Antarctica.

Julia Battern was invited to attend a climate summit along with 150 other CEOs, politicians, college students, energy company employees, and teachers. She brought back big lessons to share with her students from the land of icebergs, glaciers, and penguins.

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When Battern was selected to travel to Antarctica for a climate summit, she didn’t know what to expect.

There were some tough conversations, especially with the fossil fuel executives on the trip.

“We can point fingers at these companies and I think they have a huge responsibility definitely,” Battern said. “I think also as consumers too we have to find a way to bring demand down.”

She returned with the most incredible stories.

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(credit: CBS)

“We learned you’re not supposed to run from fur seals if they come towards you. You’re supposed to get big,” Battern said.

She said she could hear ice moving and shifting in the background, and whales sounding. Now, she has a deeper appreciation for the home we all share, and is hoping to pass that appreciation along to her students.

“It’s important to know the effects our choices have all around the world,” she said. “Maybe it’ll change the way they do things.”

Each traveler on the trip bought credits that pay other people to produce less, in a move to offset burning jet fuel to go on a trip to learn about pollution.

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Battern is also teaching her students about carbon emissions, and is asking them to make one lifestyle change for a week to cut the carbon dioxide they send into the air.

Erin Hassanzadeh