Between doing research for this blog and Reel Inspiration, Dan and I have seen a plethora of films on climate change. Recently we watched “This Changes Everything,” screened as part of the Social Justice series held at the Loft Cinema. In the opening, narrator Stacey Raab admitted that she didn’t want to make another climate change documentary with polar bears. I found her doc in turns infuriating and inspiring. It was particularly painful to see conference attendees from the Heartland Institute (a think tank owned by the Koch brothers) cheering their success in convincing Americans that there was no global warming. But I loved the overall theme that we could rewrite our story. We don’t have to continue the narrative of profit at all cost. We can work together to take care of each other and the planet.
As audience members we might relate to her discomfort of being dragged along on physically challenging trips to witness communities suffering from the effects of climate change, while being very aware of the great opportunity it is to see breath-taking scenery and colorful cultures.
Their first trip is a sort of family reunion with Susie’s relatives on her father’s side in Siberia. (Her mom met her father while working there as a young anthropologist.) We soon discover that Susie knows the language. In fact, she has a keen ear for languages and blatantly expresses her embarrassment when her mother struggles to communicate. We watch this teen grow as she sees firsthand how climate change is affecting that part of her family. The permafrost has melted causing the ground to turn to mush. The hay they need to feed their cows (their main source of food) has died as well as the trees. The change in Susie is especially evident when they return home and she visits with her friends. You can see it in her eyes as one of her friends says she doesn’t know if she believes in climate change because her father says it isn’t true.
Both of these movies express hope for the people who inhabit this planet that we call home. “The Anthropologist” shows how people are capable of change and “This Changes Everything” shows how we can change our story to one where we unite to save it.