Below are links to a range of videos which engage with human and organisational responses to the climate crisis. They include examples of corporate advertising, environmental NGO critique, shorts from environmentally-themed feature films and satirical shorts. Feel free to send me links to new examples as they crop up!
World renowned climate scientist Professor Michael E. Mann provides a TED talk at Penn State University in 2011 on the basics of climate science, what our climate has been like in the past, where it is now with respect to human induced climate change and where it will go in the future. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Pennsylvania State University, with joint appointments in the Department of Geosciences and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI). Through his pioneering research into the Earth’s climate system (including the famous ‘hockey stick graph’ of past climate patterns), he has received many honours and awards including NOAA’s outstanding publication award in 2002 and selection by Scientific American as one of the fifty leading visionaries in science and technology in 2002. He contributed, with other Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) authors, to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
Video reading of Derrick Jensen’s 2009 Orion Magazine essay “Forget Shorter Showers” on the myth of individual ‘solutions’ to the climate crisis. “Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday; or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons; or that dancing around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”? Why are these “solutions” not sufficient? But most importantly, what can be done instead to actually stop the murder of the planet?”
BBC Newsnight, “A primer on the Paris climate change conference”.
This is quite a good overview of the upcoming Paris climate talks in Dec 2015 and the history of the Conference of the Parties in seeking to come to a global agreement in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“Brandalism 2015 – COP21 Paris Climate Talks”
Two days before the launch of the UN COP21 Climate Conference, 600 posters were installed in outdoor media spaces across Paris. 82 Artists from 19 different countries made artworks to challenge the corporate takeover of COP21 and to reveal the connections between advertising, the promotion of consumerism and climate change. See more at Brandalism.org.uk
The Newsroom, segment from “Main Justice” (series 3, episode 3)
Brilliant dark humour in which news anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) interviews an EPA official (Paul Lieberstein) following the announcement that CO2 emissions have exceeded 400ppm – the interview does not go well!
“Break Up with Fossil Fuels this Valentine’s Day” (UK Climate Youth Coalition)
A spoof video by the UK Youth Climate Coalition promoting the idea of divesting from fossil fuels as akin to breaking up with an unsuitable or abusive partner.
“Breaking Up With Fossil Fuels is Hard to Do” (Environmental Policy Alliance)
An unintentionally funny video developed by fossil fuel interests in response to global divestment day on Valentine’s Day 2015.
“Childlike Imagination – What My Mom Does at GE”
Corporate advertisement promoting an image of corporate environmentalism, in which innovation and technology will save us from climate change. Strong in the emotions of awe and wonder. A good example of both the use of emotion in corporate communications and the political myth of ‘corporate environmentalism’.
“Model Miners” (GE)
An advertisement by US industrial conglomerate General Electric on the launch of their ‘ecomagination’ initiative in 2005. Stresses the company’s investments in developing ‘clean coal’ and features scantily clad models, with the tagline “Now, thanks to emissions-reducing technologies from GE, the power of coal is getting more beautiful every day…”!
“Polar Bear” (plane stupid)
A confronting video developed by environmental NGO Plane Stupid highlighting the CO2 emissions resulting from the expansion of air travel. Example of the use of negative emotions of horror, fear and sadness in climate change communications.
Bidder 70, official trailer
A powerful documentary about environmental activist Tim DeChristopher who derails an illegal oil and gas auction in a courageous act of civil disobedience.
Gasland, official trailer
A 2010 documentary written and directed by Josh Fox, which focuses on local communities in the US affected by the rapid expansion of natural gas drilling and specifically the use of of horizontal drilling into shale formations known as hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’). Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2011.
“The Green Police” (Audi)
Advertisement for a diesel Audi SUV which debuted during the 2010 Super Bowl. Offers a humorous satire of a fictional green police force arresting various members of the public for energy and waste offences. In the key scene a diesel-powered Audi SUV is waved through an ‘eco-roadblock’ after being passed as compliant with tough environmental codes. The tagline declares: ‘Green has never felt so right!’ Greenwashing much?
“Nissan Leaf Polar Bear” (Nissan)
Advertisement for the electric vehicle the Nissan Leaf, which tells the tale of a lone polar bear undertaking an epic journey from the melting Arctic to a major city. There the animal embraces a man who is about to climb into his new Nissan. The touching imagery and soundtrack engage the audience in empathy and sadness for the bear’s plight but then reverse this in the penultimate scene with a message of hope and optimism: nature will thank us if we all buy ‘green’ cars.
“Why would you sit on a soybean?” (Ford)
Advertisement telling the story of the female members of Ford’s R&D department working on soy-based car foam. The narrator, identified as a mother of small children, underlines the need to protect future generations, saying: ‘We need to preserve the environment now.’ Emotions of pride, respect and satisfaction predominate in such accounts of corporate innovation reducing the perceived environmental cost of consumption.
“Australian Coal Mining Company: 2014 Climate Policy Update”
Satirical advert outlining a fictitious coal company’s new vision statement and also highlighting the problem of trying to overcome the conflict between social, environmental and shareholder interests!
“Australian Mining – the REAL Story”
A satirical voice-over of a mining industry advertisement which was origially designed to promote the benefits of mining to local communities and national well-being. A good example of culture-jamming as a source of effective environmental critique.
In March 2007 John Doerr, a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins delivered an emotional talk about climate change and the ‘green economy’ at the annual Technology, Entertainment and Design conference in Monterey, California. A great example of emotions in corporate environmentalism.
“Tag Your Green” (GE)
2010 advertisement by General Electric (GE) as part of their ‘ecomagination’ initiative . Uses the whimsical concept that people only need to dream more sustainable and green futures in order to change our world. A good example of the promotion of ‘green consumerism’ a central tenet of ‘corporate environmental’ responses to climate change.
“A Brief History of Global Warming”
Useful and brief review of the science of anthropogenic climate change and political and policy (in)action over the 50 years.
“Welcome to the Anthropocene”
Visual overview of humanity’s impact upon the Earth and its climate over 200 years of industrialisation.
CFC Keynote – Alan Palm – Alliance for Climate Education (ACE)
Good example of climate change communication for teenagers.