Climate Change, People Power and Great Movies from “Down Under”


Credit: Shutterstock

As extreme weather continues to wrecks havoc around the world with wildfires, droughts, floods and superstorms becoming the norm coverage in world media and “connecting the dots” on these extreme events and climate change isn’t keeping up.

Scientists, who are “shouting from the rafters” about the crash course we are on with our environment are not being heard. Dr. James Hansen, NASA who resigned in early March 2013 after nearly 50 years as a climate scientist for NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, stated that “as a government employee, you can’t testify against the government,” and he plans to play a more active role vis a vis lawsuits lawsuits challenging the federal and state governments over their failure to limit emissions and on visible symbols of climate change like the Keystone XL pipeline.

Two wonderful films from film makers “down under” in New Zealand – Thin Ice – and Australia – 2Degrees – have come to our attention and we would love for you and the kids in your life to learn more about them.

Thin Ice , the inside of Climate Science launches on Earth Day, April 22nd.

Thin Ice Trailer from Thin Ice Climate on Vimeo.

In the film, Geologist Simon Lamb follows scientists at work in the Arctic, Antarctic, Southern Ocean, New Zealand, Europe and the USA. They talk about their work, how climate science has come under increasing attack in recent years and their hopes and fears – with a rare candour and directness. This creates an intimate portrait of the global community of researchers racing to understand our planet’s changing climate. Learn more about the film here.

Credit: 2Degrees, vulnerabilities of forest dwellers to climate change

2Degrees, from Australia, is the second film that has come across our desk and which we look forward to seeing when it is released later this year.

2Degrees looks at the urgency of the climate crisis from a climate justice perspective and features what is happening to our rainforests, the lack of progress from the international community through the United Nations process, and positives like campaigns for solar thermal power and the voice of youth fighting for their future. Similar to Jim Hansen’s concerns that “the message isn’t getting out,” one of the films producers, Angela Palmer, shared the following personal take on the lack of media attention in Australia around climate change with Climate Mama. This same lack of urgency and attention we see and feel here in the USA is found the world over and we all need to work together to overcome this inertia, from the ground up!

Angela Palmer on 2Degrees media silence and a “call to arms”

Green Turtle Films has been working on our film, 2 Degrees, about climate justice, for over 4 years now. Having been immersed in this subject for so long, we take it for granted that climate change is real, humans are causing it, and the planet will face dire consequences if we continue with the currently universal “business as usual” approach.

Credit: Shutterstock

But the reaction of the Australian media to the recent fires and heatwave still manages to shock us. There have been very few mainstream media articles linking the recent events to climate change. The few that have resulted in a storm of skeptic voices, led by the national newspaper, The Australian, and members of Parliament from the conservative opposition.

This silence on the part of the media was not by accident. Scientists were speaking up, such as Liz Hanna, from the Australian National University, who made an impassioned plea:

“Those of us who spend our days trawling — and contributing to — the scientific literature on climate change are becoming increasingly gloomy about the future of human civilisation. We are well past the time of niceties, of avoiding the dire nature of what is unfolding, and politely trying not to scare the public. The unparalleled setting of new heat extremes is forcing the continual upwards trending of warming predictions for the future, and the timescale is contracting. This trepidation on the part of scientists and researchers, and in some cases flagrant resistance by stakeholders in the fossil fuel industry, to allow the real story to be fully revealed and comprehended by the public at large, has allowed the stalling of action to save the planet, and ourselves”.

The media’s behavior has made us even more determined to finish our film and have it distributed as widely as possible. The message of our film is that we will not have a “top-down” solution to climate change from the United Nations process or from governments in the time frame the science demands. The only way we will see a reduction of emissions is for the general public to take action: to both reduce our own personal emissions and to demand more from our governments, media and industry. Only when it is clearly an electoral issue will governments take it seriously. People power has forced change in the past, and we need to do it again now. Our film is a call to arms, and clearly it has never been needed more urgently.

Click here to find more information about 2 Degrees

Stay tuned for more Earth Day movie recommendations next week..In the meantime, as it is DO SOMETHING WEDNESDAY, check out these two films, with the kids in your life. Find out if there is a screening in your neighborhood, or better yet, plan one. In the lead up to Earth Day, discuss what actions you and your family will take to combat climate change at home, with your community and beyond. Share your ideas with us so we can share them with others!


Climate Mama

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