Aug 13, 2013
What is climate change? For many, it sparks images of polar bears on melting ice caps, rising oceans, and polluting smokestacks. We easily ignored the changing climate when it just led to these distant problems, but now we’re experiencing the effects of climate change firsthand. The dots are being connected. These super-storms, droughts, wildfires, they’re getting worse and more frequent because of climate change. This isn’t going to be a film about the daunting facts behind climate change, the ones we feel like we don’t have any control over.
However, it is important to note that the US ranks second among global emissions producers. They produce 19% of all global carbon emissions. The deep dependence on fossil fuel is at the root of the problem. Coal, oil, and natural gas take the blame. It’s not difficult to understand that burning these fuels is bad for the climate, but there’s been a piece missing from the conversation. We know that we humans are causing the problem, but what’s the human cost? Who are the people affected by these fuels, the extractions, the drilling, the mining? What’s it look like from their world?
Sam and his sister Kate are environmentally aware. They turn off their lights. They use their own Virtue bags, ride their bikes when possible, and take shorter showers… all of the usual things. As they started learning more and more about climate change, they began to see that riding their bikes and taking shorter showers wasn’t really going to solve the problem, and, like many people, they didn’t really know where to go from there. They were spending a lot of time talking about the issue, and for such a daunting problem, they wondered why it wasn’t a little more mainstream.
In the midst of the hottest year on record in U.S. history, presidential candidates left climate out of the debates, and it was with this that they realized that sitting around and talking about it was no longer an option. They needed to dive in headfirst and figure out what was really driving climate change and the movement surrounding it. So they loaded up for a 17-day long road trip around the country, a whirlwind tour to see those affected by the fossil-fuel extraction, ending at the Forward on Climate rally, the biggest climate rally in U.S. history.
From the coal-rich mountains of Appalachia to the North Dakota oil fields, down to the Texas tar-sands pipelines, they began to uncover the David versus Goliath story of people that had already taken up action to stop climate change. In some cases, they chose to fight, while others, the fight chose them. Either way, they were all people striving for a better planet. The public realized that climate change is real and that it’s man-caused, but where do we go from here?
Shift: Beyond the Numbers of the Climate Crisis