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Film Screening: This Changes Everything (2015)

Thursday, November 19, 7-8:30 PM
At the Gallery in Artisan Square


Director: Avi Lewis
Narrated and inspired by the book by Naomi Klein

Running time: 1h 29m

Filmed over 211 shoot days in nine countries and five continents over four years, This Changes Everything is an epic attempt to re-imagine the vast challenge of climate change.
Inspired by Naomi Klein’s international non-fiction bestseller This Changes Everything, the film presents seven powerful portraits of communities on the front lines, from Montana’s Powder River Basin to the Alberta Tar Sands, from the coast of South India to Beijing and beyond.

Interwoven with these stories of struggle is Klein’s narration, connecting the carbon in the air with the economic system that put it there. Throughout the film, Klein builds to her most controversial and exciting idea: that we can seize the existential crisis of climate change to transform our failed economic system into something radically better.The extraordinary detail and richness of the cinematography in This Changes Everything provides an epic canvas for this exploration of the greatest challenge of our time. Unlike many works about the climate crisis, this is not a film that tries to scare the audience into action: it aims to empower. Provocative, compelling, and accessible to even the most climate-fatigued viewers, This Changes Everything will leave you refreshed and inspired, reflecting on the ties between us, the kind of lives we really want, and why the climate crisis is at the centre of it all.

Will this film change everything? Absolutely not. But you could, by answering its call to action.

Can I be honest with you? I’ve always kind of hated films about climate change. What is it about those vanishing glaciers and desperate polar bears that makes me want to click away? Is it really possible to be bored by the end of the world? It’s not that I don’t care what happens to polar bears. It’s just that we’re told that the cause isn’t out there, that it’s in us, it’s human nature. We’re innately greedy and short- sighted. And if that’s true, there is no hope. But when I finally stopped looking away, traveled into the heart of the crisis, met people on the front lines, I discovered so much of what I thought I knew was wrong. And I began to wonder: what if human nature isn’t the problem? What if even greenhouse gases aren’t the problem? What if the real problem is a story, one we’ve been telling ourselves for 400 years. I was in a stately home in the English countryside that looked an awful lot like Downton Abbey. It was an invitation-only meeting hosted by the world’s oldest scientific organization, the Royal Society. Instead of ordering around the servants, the people here were trying to order around the sun. I mean the sun, in the sky. They were discussing a plan to spray chemicals into the stratosphere to turn down the temperature for planet earth.
Here’s the thing. This idea may be crazy but it’s also totally logical within the story that the Royal Society pioneered in the 17th century. Here’s how it goes. The earth is not, as most people thought back then, a mother, to be feared and revered. No. Science had granted men god-like powers. The earth is a machine and we are its engineers, its masters. We can sculpt it like a country garden. We can extract from it whatever we want. These scientists helped turn the mother into the motherlode. This story is where the long road to global warming began. When I realized that, I stopped tuning out those sad polar bears because unlike human nature, stories are something we can change.
— Naomi Klein, from This Changes Everything