'Deeply disturbing': Filmmakers, creators go bold with climate change stories | CBC News (2022)

This story is part of a CBC News series entitledIn Our Backyard, which looks at the effects climate changeis having in Canada, from extreme weather events to how it's reshaping our economy.

"We need to make sure we don't shut the stable door after the horse has bolted." True to his craft as a nature documentary filmmaker, theproducer ofOur Planetuses a vivid image to warn ofthe dangers of doing nothing about climate change.

"That horse—the haunches are just going through the stable door now," said Keith Scholey."There's just a moment, probably, to grab it by the tailand wrestle it back into the stable.And shut the door with a huge padlock."

That same intense urgency runs throughout Scholey'seight-partOur Planet series, narrated by a fellow veteran of the genre, David Attenborough.

For decades, Attenborough's documentaries have beenrevered for their never-before-filmed scenes of wild animalsand spectacular shots of pristine wilderness—all shot with sophisticated camera technology.

Our Planetstill presents the glory of the natural world, but those scenes are now woven together withshocking footageof environmental disasters where entire ecosystems once existed:palm oil plantations, clear cuts, dead coral reefs.

The filmmakers also did something they'd never done before: showanimals dying from their inability to adapt to a changing climate.

'Deeply disturbing': Filmmakers, creators go bold with climate change stories | CBC News (1)

"The impacts of our growing population and our consumption now directly threaten our own future," Attenborough told the audience at Our Planet's premiere in London on April 4, a day ahead of its worldwide Netflix launch. "What we do in the next 20 yearswill determine the future."

From heartbreaking footage of struggling wildlife to music videos designed to go viral, some filmmakers and creators are using bold new tactics to ensure their work inspires a global call to action.

Al Gore's 2006 film, An Inconvenient Truth, was one of the most watched documentaries of all time, puttingclimate change on the map for many viewers worldwide. Now13 years later, public concern about the climate is at record levels in several countries — including Canada — and filmmakers are hoping their messages can help.

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Scholeysaid he knows firsthand how "big landmark wildlife films can reach a lot of people."But healso admits these projects "don't often actually move the dial in terms of changing people's views and habits toward the natural world."

Creating awildlife documentary series with a strong climate change message front and centre is something that hadn't been tried before, he said, so "we just went with our experience and our gut feeling."

'Climate change horror'

One segment of the series — shot in Russia in 2017 — shows an experiencethat was deeply shocking to the veteran film crew:dozens of walruses plunging to their deaths from atop a rocky cliff.

The huge marine mammals spend much of their time resting with their young on sea ice. But with sea ice melting at an alarming rate, there's less to be found.

Our Planetcaptures onegroup ofwalruses moving onto solid land, with some climbing to the top of an 80-metre cliff. Many then topple to their deaths onto the rocky beach below, seemingly unaware of the effects of such a large drop.

Warning: This footage may be disturbing to some viewers.

After the series debuted in April, some parents complained about the scene, calling itinappropriate for children. Netflix responded by issuinga warning that included timecodes of thescenes viewers may find disturbing.

"At the end of the day, I think, when you make a show like this, the one thing you can't do is lose your nerve," said Scholey. "That scene is deeply disturbing—and it shouldn't be happening."

That's why his team felt it essential to includethe footage in the series.

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"We knewas soon as we saw that, that this was going to be the footage that would become most associated with the climate change horror that's happening to Arctic species," he said."What we desperately wanted to get across to people was that humanity cannot survive without nature."

'Deeply disturbing': Filmmakers, creators go bold with climate change stories | CBC News (3)

In early May, aUnited Nations report warned that one million species are threatened with extinction, "with grave impacts on people around the world now likely."

And in April, Environment and Climate Change Canada reported with "high confidence"that Canada is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world.

Employing entertainment, humour

Creatorsneed to make people feel theemotion of the storyin their guts,but be careful not to leave themfeeling onlydepressed,according to Maggie Stogner, anEmmy Award-winning filmmaker and executive director of the Center for Environmental Filmmaking at American University in Washington.

"You lure people in through entertainment, through dramatic characters, though compelling storytelling," she said.

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Stognertells her students that success is having an audience leavethe theatre saying:"I feel empowered. I feel like I have agency. I have a voice."

Audiences of Planet Earth IIseeminglyfelt empowered. A recent studyout of the U.K.showed that onlinesearches for "plastic recycling"increased by 55 per centafter Attenborough issued a call to action on plastic waste in the series, which had highlighted the effectsof such waste on ocean wildlife.

'Deeply disturbing': Filmmakers, creators go bold with climate change stories | CBC News (4)

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Humour can be an important tool, too.Stogner said one of the best things about comedy is "it captures the attention of peoplewho might go, 'Oh, climate change. Roll my eyes again. Not going to listen.'"

Take David Burd, the comedian-rapper better known as Lil Dicky, who usedhumour to reach out to his massive audience inaprofanity-lacedclimate change song calledEarth.

The song's music video is funny, rude and star-studded: Big-name celebritiesJustin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Snoop Dogg, Shawn Mendes, Miley Cyrus, the Backstreet Boys and Leonardo DiCaprio all make an appearance.

Since its release on April 10, ithas racked up144million views on YouTube.

Warning: the following video contains strong language

Burd's original plan was to enlistas many celebrities as possible for a fun,animal-themedanimated track. But when he discovered the dangers these animals face from climate change, he embraced a larger purpose for the project, partneringwith DiCaprio and the actor's environmental foundation to give a portion of the song's profitsto those on the "front lines" of implementing climate change solutions.

Terry Tamminen, CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, said it was exciting to connect with an audience the foundationdoesn't normally reach. The partnership also sparked an online dialogue.

"Thanks to the internet and social media, we've been contacted by thousands of people offering to help or sharing their ideas for solutions, and then other people comment on those solutions," saidTamminen.

Beyond social media, some are also finding success sounding the climate change alarm by going straight to the spaces where people gather, whether it's watching late-night TV or visiting a major art gallery.

When Last Week Tonighthost John Oliver devoted an entire showto the Green New Deal in May, the episodesurpassed six million views on YouTube, fuelled by a profanity-laced skit from Bill Nye the Science Guy,the normally kid-friendly presenter.

The Canadian filmmakers behindAnthropocenecreated a large-scale photography exhibition,embedded with virtual reality experiences, as a companion to their documentary, which explores human evolution's devastating effect on the planet. After opening in Toronto and Ottawa, the exhibition is currently on display in Bologna, Italy.

Making an impact

The vivid images, emotional storytellingand optimism about possible solutions laid out byOur Planetmay already behaving an impact.

(Video) Telling Stories and Building Narrative in a Distracted World

The series was the most-watched show in the U.K. when it premiered in April, andNetflix, which typically doesn't release viewership figures, estimatedit would be watched in over 25 million homes around the world during that one month alone.

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A cornerstone of the series is research from theWorld Wildlife Fund's Living Planet Report on global biodiversity and the state of the planet.In 2018, the WWF report concluded that "unsustainable human activity is pushing the planet's natural systems that support life on Earth to the edge."

Since Our Planet's debut, WWF has seen some of its biggest spikes ever on social media, as well as a significant increase in traffic to its website.

'Deeply disturbing': Filmmakers, creators go bold with climate change stories | CBC News (5)

In addition to reaching a global audience via Netflix, the Our Planetteam'sstrategy also involves speaking directly to government policy-makers and industry leaders.

U.S. ambassadors and members of Congressattended screenings of the series held at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington. And the filmmakers weren't sure anyone would show up for screenings they scheduled at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said Scholey.But demand was so high, they added extra showings.

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From there, the momentum continued, with the World BankandChristine Lagarde, managing director ofthe International Monetary Fund, both requesting presentations, said Scholey.

"The emergency that's coming our way with the environment is going to be like a major conflict," he said, before taking a cue fromOur Planetand tempering his warning with a dose of optimism.

"I think once that has sunk in, we will see huge change happenvery, very quickly."

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FAQs

Who is doing the most for climate change? ›

Based on the 2022 Climate Change Performance Index, Denmark was ranked as the country with the highest achievement in climate protection, followed by Sweden. Sweden has established a goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2045, although critics noted that the country lacks a strategy to reach this target.

What movie was based around a climate shift? ›

An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

The concert film recounts former US Vice President Al Gore's campaign in 2000 to educate people about global warming, making the documentary stand out in its experimental narration.

What is happening with climate change 2022? ›

The annual mean global near-surface temperature for each year from 2022-2026 is predicted to be between 1.1 °C and 1.7 °C higher than pre-industrial levels (1850-1900).

Are we doing enough to stop climate change? ›

Yes. While we cannot stop global warming overnight, we can slow the rate and limit the amount of global warming by reducing human emissions of heat-trapping gases and soot (“black carbon”).

Which country is worst for climate change? ›

Top 10 polluters
  • China, with more than 10,065 million tons of CO2 released.
  • United States, with 5,416 million tons of CO2.
  • India, with 2,654 million tons of CO2.
  • Russia, with 1,711 million tons of CO2.
  • Japan, 1,162 million tons of CO2.
  • Germany, 759 million tons of CO2.
  • Iran, 720 million tons of CO2.
Jul 6, 2022

Which country is safest from climate change? ›

According to the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), published by the independent monitoring agency, the top three countries leading in climate protection are all Scandinavian: Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, while the United Kingdom is ranked fourth in climate protection.

What is the best climate affecting movie? ›

Best Movies About Climate Change, Ranked
  • 8/14 FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)
  • 7/14 The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)
  • 6/14 Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
  • 5/14 2040 (2019)
  • 4/14 Princess Mononoke (1997)
  • 3/14 An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
  • 2/14 Avatar (2009)
  • 1/14 Interstellar (2014)
Sep 1, 2022

What can we do to save Earth from climate change? ›

Here are a dozen easy, effective ways each one of us can make a difference.
  1. Speak up! ...
  2. Power your home with renewable energy. ...
  3. Weatherize, weatherize, weatherize. ...
  4. Invest in energy-efficient appliances. ...
  5. Reduce water waste. ...
  6. Actually eat the food you buy—and compost what you can't. ...
  7. Buy better bulbs. ...
  8. Pull the plug(s).
Apr 20, 2022

What causes Laura to become ill? ›

They burn library books. 45. What causes Laura to become ill? She has an infected cut and has developed septicemia.

How is climate change affecting the world right now? ›

Climate change is changing water availability, making it scarcer in more regions. Global warming exacerbates water shortages in already water-stressed regions and is leading to an increased risk of agricultural droughts affecting crops, and ecological droughts increasing the vulnerability of ecosystems.

How will climate change affect us? ›

The impacts of climate change on different sectors of society are interrelated. Drought can harm food production and human health. Flooding can lead to disease spread and damages to ecosystems and infrastructure. Human health issues can increase mortality, impact food availability, and limit worker productivity.

How is climate change affecting people? ›

Climate change is already impacting health in a myriad of ways, including by leading to death and illness from increasingly frequent extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, storms and floods, the disruption of food systems, increases in zoonoses and food-, water- and vector-borne diseases, and mental health issues.

What will happen if we don't stop climate change? ›

The wildlife we love and their habitat will be destroyed, leading to mass species extinction. Superstorms, drought, and heat waves would become increasingly common and more extreme, leading to major health crises and illness. Agricultural production would plummet, likely leading to global food shortages and famine.

How long is earth left? ›

By that point, all life on Earth will be extinct. Finally, the most probable fate of the planet is absorption by the Sun in about 7.5 billion years, after the star has entered the red giant phase and expanded beyond the planet's current orbit.

How long do humans have left? ›

Humanity has a 95% probability of being extinct in 7,800,000 years, according to J.

Where will be the safest place to live in 2050? ›

A new book examining the forces shaping the future of global migration forecasts Michigan as the best place in the world to live in 2050.

Which country is the most affected by climate change in 2022? ›

CANADA (Climate Risk Index: 21.83)

It may surprise you to see this giant among the places most affected by climate change, but a government study suggests that Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet.

What countries will benefit from climate change? ›

In fact, the analysis suggests that around 70 countries in total stand to benefit from higher temperatures. Fellow cold climate countries Russia, Canada, Mongolia, Finland, Kyrgystan, Norway, Tajikistan, Sweden, Iceland and North Korea are all in the same boat.

Where should I live to avoid climate change? ›

Climate change hazards like extreme heat, drought, wildfires, inland flooding, and coastal flooding are expected to impact millions of Americans by 2050. Vermont is the best state to move to avoid climate change. At-risk homeowners can minimize threats and save money by future-proofing their homes.

Which country has the best climate in the world? ›

  • Portugal. #1 in Pleasant climate. #26 in Best Countries Overall. ...
  • Greece. #2 in Pleasant climate. #25 in Best Countries Overall. ...
  • Spain. #3 in Pleasant climate. ...
  • New Zealand. #4 in Pleasant climate. ...
  • Italy. #5 in Pleasant climate. ...
  • Costa Rica. #6 in Pleasant climate. ...
  • Brazil. #7 in Pleasant climate. ...
  • Argentina. #8 in Pleasant climate.

Where is the best place to live given climate change? ›

The best cities for climate change
  1. San Francisco, California. ...
  2. Seattle, Washington. ...
  3. Columbus, Ohio. ...
  4. Minneapolis, Minnesota. ...
  5. Baltimore, Maryland. ...
  6. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. ...
  7. Portland, Oregon. ...
  8. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Oct 12, 2022

What are major environmental problems? ›

These include pollution, overpopulation, waste disposal, climate change, global warming, the greenhouse effect, etc.

What is the summary of the day after tomorrow? ›

How many climate refugees are there? ›

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), an annual average of 21.5 million people have been forcibly displaced by weather-related events – such as floods, storms, wildfires and extreme temperatures – since 2008.

How can you protect the environment as a student essay? ›

Soil conservation is yet another important way to save the Environment. For this, there must be control of landslides, floods, and soil erosion. Furthermore, there should also be afforestation and tree plantation to conserve the soil. Also, terrace farming and using natural fertilizers are some more ways.

How can we protect conserve and restore our environment essay? ›

Environment can be saved by planting more trees, recycling, reusing, reducing pollution, creating awareness through environmental programs, etc. Conclusion: If we want to save the environment then, we should stop the exploitation of natural resources.

What we should do about climate change essay? ›

Instead of becoming more dependent, we need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and electricity right away. Opt for eco-friendly options like solar energy and win power. Take up the habit of recycling and reusing. Do not throw away things instead learn to reuse them properly.

How can global warming lead to an ice age? ›

As the Southern Ocean gets saltier and the North Atlantic gets fresher, large-scale ocean circulation patterns begin to dramatically change, pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere and reducing the so-called greenhouse effect. This in turn pushes the Earth into ice age conditions.

What type of unusual weather occurs in Tokyo in the day after tomorrow? ›

The weather worsens across the world: Tokyo is struck by a giant hail storm, Los Angeles is devastated by a tornado outbreak, and three helicopters sent to rescue the British Royal family from Balmoral Castle crash in Scotland after their fuel lines and crew freeze when they fly into their superstorm's eye.

Which natural disaster is covered in the day after tomorrow? ›

Before long, ferocious tornadoes level Los Angeles; a towering tidal surge floods Manhattan; a massive super-storm batters the northern hemisphere--and in the middle of this endless maelstrom of destruction--Jack's son, Sam, gets trapped in a New York public library with a handful of friends.

Who is the biggest climate change activist? ›

Who are some famous climate change activists? Greta Thunberg, David Attenborough, and Leonardo DiCaprio are some famous names working actively against the climate change.

WHO is helping to stop climate change? ›

The Union of Concerned Scientists has worked on global warming solutions for over 30 years. Our experts and activists are campaigning to cut emissions from the energy and transportation sectors; highlighting climate impacts; and fighting for accountability from major fossil fuel companies.

What are people doing to stop climate change? ›

For example, improvements to energy efficiency and vehicle fuel economy, increases in wind and solar power, biofuels from organic waste, setting a price on carbon, and protecting forests are all potent ways to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and other gases trapping heat on the planet.

What is the most effective environmental charity? ›

These Are the 9 Best Charities for Climate Change
  • Cool Earth.
  • Clean Air Task Force.
  • Union of Concerned Scientists.
  • Carbon180.
  • Greenpeace.
  • Earth Justice.
  • Rainforest Alliance.
  • Practical Action.

Who is famous for helping the environment? ›

1. Sir David Attenborough. This list would be incomplete without David Attenborough, as his activism has inspired a generation to start taking care of the environment.

Who is the youngest climate change activist? ›

One of the world's youngest climate activists, Licypriya Kangujam started advocating for local and global climate action since the age of six, where she protested outside the Indian parliament with a specific set of demands, including air pollution laws and to make climate-change literacy mandatory in schools.

When was climate change started? ›

Scientists generally regard the later part of the 19th century as the point at which human activity started influencing the climate. But the new study brings that date forward to the 1830s.

What will happen if we don't stop climate change? ›

The wildlife we love and their habitat will be destroyed, leading to mass species extinction. Superstorms, drought, and heat waves would become increasingly common and more extreme, leading to major health crises and illness. Agricultural production would plummet, likely leading to global food shortages and famine.

What can we do to stop climate change essay? ›

How To Prevent Climate Change Essay
  1. Make policies and agreements on climate change.
  2. Implement projects on clean energy.
  3. Create social awareness on climate change.
  4. Prohibit deforestation and cutting down trees.
  5. Conduct capacity building programs on climate change.
  6. Keep the surroundings clean.

Why should we stop climate change? ›

Climate change won't just impact forest, or coral reefs, or even people in far-off countries – it will affect all of us. From more extreme weather to increasing food prices, to recreation and decreased opportunities to appreciate the natural world, people everywhere will feel its effects.

Which is the best practice to reduce the effect of climate change? ›

Limit your use of air conditioning and intensive city driving. Don't weigh down your car – limit extra things when packing your car. Carpool when possible – this splits car emissions and lowers the number of cars on the road, making travel more efficient all around. Fly less if possible.

What can a community do to prevent climate change? ›

Actions could include:
  1. Campaigning to produce behavioral change.
  2. Developing more sustainable commuting.
  3. Producing products and food locally.
  4. Providing services to people affected by climate change.
  5. Reducing the use of energy in buildings.
  6. Local solutions for sustainable energy access and transformation.

How can you as a student help address climate change? ›

1. Conserve energy in your everyday life.
  1. Turn off the lights.
  2. Close doors immediately so heat does not escape.
  3. Take short showers.
  4. Walk or bike if you can (instead of having your parents drive you).
  5. Turn off your computer when not in use (don't leave it on just to keep Facebook or Myspace active).

How can climate change raise money? ›

To get you started, here are just a few of the best environmental organizations to donate to that are working for climate justice today:
  1. World Wildlife Fund. ...
  2. Environmental Defense Fund. ...
  3. Conservation International. ...
  4. Audubon Society. ...
  5. Water.org. ...
  6. Greenpeace. ...
  7. Sierra Club. ...
  8. Sunrise Movement.
5 days ago

Does planting trees help climate change? ›

As trees grow, they help stop climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon in the trees and soil, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. Trees provide many benefits to us, every day.

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