Last week, I luckily was able to go to a screening of This Changes Everything, a film by Naomi Klein that is based upon her book with the same title. She is an amazing author from Canada (she also wrote The Shock Doctrine). I love the book version of This Changes Everything so much (you can read a quick review here), that I have been making one of my classes read it.
Anyways, the film was solid. I think because I loved the book so much, I was expecting to have my mind blown. That didn't happen, but I did really enjoy the film. It's probably my favorite climate change documentary that I have seen. It was full of good information, made me cry a few times, and left me on enough of a positive note that I still want to help change the world. Once it is widely available, I will definitely be showing this one to my class.
This Changes Everything is a film about our addiction to oil and the price that we are going to pay for it. The film discusses the climate changes that are already happening, like increases in hurricanes, that are a direct result of burning fossil fuels. It also talks about environmental problems from the oil itself.... oils spills ruining sacred Native American lands, polluting the water of ranch land in the Western U.S., and the tar sand mines in Alberta that are destroying a huge area of Canada.
The film shows pollution in China and the people there who live in a constant state of unsafe air. As Americans, we can look at China and condemn the way that they are polluting themselves. But then we need to ask why they are creating this pollution, and the answer, of course, is to sell cheap good to Americans. So, in essence, this is really OUR pollution, that we have displaced to China. If we stopped buying the goods, they wouldn't produce them anymore. And, did you know that China is actually doing more to cut back greenhouse gas emissions than the US is? Our air just happens to be cleaner.
But why is this all happening? Why are we still digging fossil fuels out of the ground when we know that they will be our demise? Why are we polluting our limited drinking water for more oil? Why are we destroying the land that we are handing down to our children? Mostly it's because a small group of really rich white people are getting richer off of fossil fuels. They are trying to convince us that climate change isn't real, so that they can continue to pillage the land, pollute the air, and make huge profits. They prevent the policies we need to save ourselves so that they can continue to exploit the Earth;s resources. But, I have to ask, what is the point of having immense wealth when there is no Earth left on which to spend it?
Anyways, the movie reminds us of what we already know (or most of us, anyways)... that climate change is real. It is already happening and will continue to happen. Even if we stopped using fossil fuels tomorrow, which we won't, climate change would still continue to happen for very many years to come.
This doesn't mean that the game is over. Not yet anyways. We can still fight to change policies and keep us from destroying ourselves. But it is going to take manpower, womanpower, and childpower. We need to work together, take our Earth back from the corporations, and change the policies that run this world.
Margaret Mead famously said "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.". I think this time around we might need a big group, but it can still be done.
Feeling motivated to help change? Contact 350.org and find a local branch near you.