If you enjoy documentaries you might be changing the world. Documentaries change conversations around important issues and some are so effective at doing so that they make a real-world impact beyond the audience. By bringing issues to light these films raise awareness to problems that we as a society can solve, sometimes the solutions are complex (like Inside Job) and other times they are easier to argue for (like banning the capture and torture of whales). If you want to make the world a better place then go watch some documentaries and tell your friends about it.
Two Columbia University staffers appeared in this exposé of the 2008 financial crisis: Economist/professor Frederic Mishkin and Business School dean Glenn Hubbard. Both men were less than transparent about their professional connections to the finance world. The film reveals that Mishkin wrote a paper about Iceland’s economy without disclosing the $124,000 he’d received from the country’s chamber of commerce. Hubbard, meanwhile, grew combative when questioned about his many consulting clients. A few months after Inside Job’s release, Columbia released much stricter disclosure rules for faculty who work with Wall Street, and the economics department chair credited the movie (which won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 2011) as a driving force.
The Rockefeller Foundation has produced a new documentary celebrating areas humans live in that are designed to be resilient to climate change. By building our cities and countries around the concept of resiliency we can better prepare for what’s ahead when it comes to unpredictable and extreme weather. It’s design thinking applied on a ecosystem level that allows human civilization to continue while supporting existing natural systems.
The clip above is focussed on Louisiana post hurricane Katrina, the movie explores other places around the world that have also rejuvenated their loyal ecosystems to thrive once again.
Resilience is also a key theme at Rockefeller, which believes national, even global change can start at a city level. In a way, municipalities are the perfect ecosystems to try transformational projects that other cities can tweak or adopt. To that end, the group has invested over a half billion dollars in various resilience initiatives including the National Disaster Resilience Competitionand 100 Resilient Cities.
According to Carter, the film’s concept began with the idea of chronicling several success stories that others could learn from. The group quickly realized that had they enough material for a movie about the broader global movement. Resilience test cases include New Orleans, which has rebuilt better, greener and stronger in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
When I started this website about good news I never thought I would be mentioning Leonardo DiCaprio, but here we are. The award winning actor teamed up with Fisher Stevens to create a really good documentary about the state of climate change. The documentary weaves together the historical context we find ourselves in and how the current power structures (economic and political) contribute to the ongoing issues around climate change. Change is happening faster than predicted and the documentary encourages us to act even faster.
It’s a good documentary that paints a dreary picture but not without hope for saving the future.
Here’s the trailer in case you need more convincing.
The Toronto International Film Festival starts today and one of the documentaries that will be screened is based on the book This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein. The film shares the same title and looks like it carries the same optimistic and clear message: we can change the world and we have to!
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.
Directed by Avi Lewis, and 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.