Thursday 5 November 2015

film review : this changes everything

I love celebrating sustainable frocks and examining the pros and cons of fast fashion labels dabbling in environmentalism as much as the next gal, but today I'm compelled to write about my ultimate passion - addressing climate change.

Last night I saw the film This Changes Everything, and was reminded about the power of people and the importance of activism.

Loving the revolutionary graphics
on the movie poster

Naomi Klein opens her film with a confession - that she sort of hates environmentalist movies, and is tired of seeing polar bears struggling to find a bit of ice, like this:

image credit:

Klein has been a longtime role model of mine and I was delighted to hear that she and I feel the same way about these polar bears.

Of course I love polar bears, and am devastated about what is happening to their natural habitat, and yet - as Klein highlights in the film - their world could not be more different from the world I live in, and the time has come to change the story about how we talk about, and deal with, climate change.

This film is directed by Avi Lewis, is inspired by Klein's book of the same title*, and is meant to move away from scaring people or making us feel guilty, and instead to help us feel empowered. As far as I'm concerned - job well done.

Klein on the ground in New York
copyright Ed Kashi

Throughout the film we meet a number of activists from around the world fighting industry and government to take back the land.

March in Sompeta, India

I'm not sure which story I found most inspiring - the people in Andhra Pradesh, India, who engaged in dangerous action against a proposed coal mine in their wetlands, Crystal from the Beaver Lake Cree First Nation in Canada trying to gain access to ancestral lands, the passion of the Greek protestors, or the determination of so many people marching and protesting around the globe for justice on a range of environmental issues.

Protestors in Halkidiki, Greece

Ultimately the film suggests that we do have the power to change the story - we can either let outdated thinking and a broken economic model drive us toward an uninhabitable planet, or we can take charge and design a world that is cleaner and more just for all.

Will there be push back?

Oh yeah.

Just take a look at what happens at the climate conference hosted by the short-sighted, ultra-conservative Heartland Institute and you'll see the levels of greed and denial that we are up against (I'm still wondering how filmmakers got access and approval to release the footage!).

Nevertheless, the time to act couldn't be more pressing.

I'm starting by joining the People's Climate March taking place in Australia 27-29 November. Taking place just before world leaders meet in Paris for the annual United Nations climate summit, marches will occur in major cities around the world to demand a transition to renewable energy, secure job creation, clear air and a healthy environment.

It's been far too long since I pounded the pavement and raised my voice for my cause. I walked away from the film screening last night with an ache in my heart for not being more present on the ground over the past couple of years. My activist-soul cannot wait for the 29th of November, when I hope I'll see you Sydneysiders at our march in the Domain. If not there, find a march near you, and we can send a united message to world leaders that the time for action is now.


*Confession time for me - I haven't read it yet! It's somewhere on my long-list of 'must read for PhD' books. I promise I'll get to it.

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