Climate Change, Does It Need to be a Tragedy?

With all the news coming out of Glasgow about global warming, we need to consider what we can do as individuals as well as companies to make a change. Presidents can pontificate, but it will take people to make a difference. For GenZ climate change is not an existential crisis, it is a reality they will have to live with, which is why they are making waves at COP26 and fortunately for all of us, they are being listened to by those who have the power to make change. As Thomas Friedman writes in his NYT column this week, the summit has him both energized and afraid for all these reasons.

It’s not easy. The issues are complex and reducing CO2 and methane gases require a global response not just individual action. It also requires sacrifice that not every individual or nation is willing or able to make. Transitions are always difficult, particularly for those whose jobs will be lost or who can’t afford the short term rise in costs. While new technologies will be transformative, fossil fuels will remain in use until clean energy is available in sufficient quantities. The gap is real. Part of the problem according to CNBC is that the demand for power is growing much faster than the global supply of renewable energy.

Understanding the issues and their consequences helps. At MPRM we have had the privilege of working with change makers who choose to use the power of film to deliver their message. We worked on the award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which showcased Al Gore and his seminal work in climate change, from its debut at Sundance through its theatrical release.

Over the years we have delved deeply into issues surrounding the impact of climate change through documentaries ranging from David Attenborough’s iconic Our Planet to his retrospective A Life on Our Planet, in which he reflects upon the changes that have taken place during his 80+ years, and Leonardo Dicaprio’s The 11th Hour, about as he says, “ Global warming is not only the number 1 environmental challenge we face today, but one of the most important issues facing all of humanity. We all have to do our part to raise awareness about global warming and the problems we as a people face in promoting a sustainable environmental future for our planet.”

This past year we generated awareness for The Race to Save the World, about climate change activists; Eating Our Way to Extinction, which allows audiences to confront the impact of their everyday food choices; and Bring Your Own Brigade. about the connection between climate change, longtime logging practices, and wildfires.

Headquartered in LA these are not ephemeral issues. Drought and fire are concerns we live with and need to address now, not in the future just as those in other parts of our country are dealing with floods and freeze. The economics are devastating. At the micro level it means increased gas and home heating prices, at the macro level, it impacts businesses and communities. Do we think short term or long? It’s not something we can ignore.

But is there something that one person can do? According to Friedman, the answer is “Yes!, Plant a tree.” Good to know because it’s something that we just did.

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