Quantcast
Climate

Immersive Docu-Series Lets You 'See' Climate Change in Virtual Reality

In last year's virtual reality (VR) film Melting Ice, viewers traveled with former Vice President and An Inconvenient Truth star Al Gore on a trip to Greenland to "see" and "experience" ice sheets diminishing, glaciers collapsing and melting ice becoming raging rivers.

Now, and just in time for Earth Day 2018, directors Danfung Dennis and Eric Strauss have released three more, 10-minute immersive episodes in their This is Climate Change docu-series. Fire, Feast and Famine shows the powerful reality of global climate change, from California's burning blazes to drought-ridden Somalia—and you don't even need to leave your couch.


"Climate change isn't a new problem, and certainly not a new documentary subject, but we think it may require a new medium to make this vital, headline-deficient topic powerfully real for audiences," the directors said in a joint statement.

"That was the impetus behind This Is Climate Change: to use the unprecedented sensorial richness of virtual reality to show the very tangible effects of rising temperatures on a wide variety of ecosystems."

Here is a synopsis of each film:

  • MELTING ICE transports viewers instantly to the glacial ice sheets of Greenland with climate change leader and former Vice President Al Gore to witness with him gargantuan glaciers collapsing into crystalline blue waters, icebergs dramatically calving into colossal chunks, and ice thawing at breakneck speed to become roaring rivers—all building to a thought-provoking climax: a "sunny day" Florida flood on the other side of the world, triggered by heightening sea levels.
  • FIRE drops you into the rapid-response lives of the brave firefighters who are sent to battle a drier and drier California and its ever-worsening yearly wildfires. Here, you will also witness helicopter dispatches that show raging blazes across vast terrain, strategic drops of water and retardant from dizzying heights, dangerous ridges where brush must be cleared, and the aftermath of charred ruins that are all that's left of entire neighborhoods.
  • FEAST soars over Brazil's increasingly threatened rainforest to witness majestic trees felled by loggers working illegally, then takes viewers straight into the heart of an outlaw logging operation and inside one of the many enormous cattle farms that are now the biggest driver of deforestation in the Amazon. As viewers see up close how cows are raised for food, the question becomes: Is an insatiable demand for beef going to wipe out the rainforest?
  • FAMINE transports audiences directly into the arid expanse of Somalia, where crushing drought caused by rising temperatures has made once-fertile lands a year-round desert, and is putting a generation of malnourished children in danger as a result. Up close at a crowded refugee camp, where water must be delivered daily, and in an overworked hospital, we see the region's most vulnerable people endure unimaginable suffering.

The VR series doesn't just bring awareness to audiences about the devastating effects of climate change, it calls on them to take action.

"One of the greatest strengths of VR is that it can cultivate an awareness of oneself, and we hope This is Climate Change shakes viewers from their indifference towards this subject by giving them something more immediate than just 2D information," the directors said.

"Whether it's a crumbling ice sheet above you, smoldering destruction all around you, a frightened cow in a kill chute below you, or a malnourished child in front of you, the immersive, 'you-are-there' effect of this groundbreaking medium is a powerful tool that brings us all closer to this ongoing tragedy."

This is Climate Change will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival in its VR theater and will stream on the Within VR app (available on iOS, Android and all major VR headsets) on April 21.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Popular
Sit-in at Rep. Hoyer's office. Sunrise Movement

1,000+ Youth Activists Storm Capitol to Demand Green New Deal

More than 1,000 climate activists with the youth-led Sunrise Movement stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington and participated in sit-ins at Democratic leaders' offices on Monday.

The protesters demanded Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and Jim McGovern support Rep-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's proposal of a "select committee" for a Green New Deal before the winter recess.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
The Stikine River runs through Wrangell, Alaska. Mining operations nearby threaten to poison fish in the Stikine watershed and destroy the traditions and livelihoods of Southeast Alaskan Tribes. Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Canada as Ugly Neighbor: Mines in BC Would Devastate Alaskan Tribes

By Ramin Pejan

Mining operations in Canada are threatening to destroy the way of life of Southeast Alaskan Tribes who were never consulted about the mines by the governments of Canada or British Columbia.

Keep reading... Show less
Business
Deforestation on peatland for palm oil plantation in Borneo, Indonesia. glennhurowitz / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

World's Largest Palm Oil Trader Ramps Up Zero-Deforestation Efforts

The world's largest palm oil trader released plans on Monday to increase its efforts to eliminate deforestation from its supply chain.

Wilmar International, which supplies 40 percent of the world's palm oil, has teamed up with the sustainability consultancy Aidenvironment Asia to develop a comprehensive mapping database to better monitor the company's palm oil supplier group.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
The Elkhorn Slough Reserve is one of California's few remaining coastal wetlands. Edmund Lowe Photography / Moment / Getty Images

New EPA Rule Would Sabotage Clean Water Act

By Jake Johnson

In a move environmentalists are warning will seriously endanger drinking water and wildlife nationwide, President Donald Trump's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reportedly gearing up to hand yet another gift to big polluters by drastically curtailing the number of waterways and wetlands protected under the Clean Water Act.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
James Braund / Getty Images

40 Acres of Farm Land in America Is Lost to Development Every Hour

By Brian Barth

Picture bulldozers plowing up pastures and cornfields to put in subdivisions and strip malls. Add to this picture the fact that the average age of the American farmer is nearly 60—it's often retiring farmers that sell to real estate developers. They can afford to pay much more for property than aspiring young farmers.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy

60,000 Liters of Oil Spills From Pipeline Into Brazilian Bay

About 60,000 liters (15,850 gallons) of oil spilled from a pipeline into the Estrela River and spread to Rio de Janeiro's famed Guanabara Bay over the weekend, according to Reuters and local reports.

The pipeline is owned by Transpetro, the largest oil and gas transportation company in Brazil, and a subsidiary of Petroleo Brasileiro (commonly known as Petrobras). Transpetro claims the leak resulted from an attempted robbery.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
alvarez / E+ / Getty Images

Holiday Shoppers, the Planet Needs You to Take It Easy With Next-Day Shipping

By Jeff Turrentine

Back in 1966, the editors of Time indulged in a long-honored magazine tradition and published an essay in which experts made predictions about the future—in this case, the year 2000. By then, these experts prognosticated, a typical shopper "should be able to switch on to the local supermarket on the video phone, examine grapefruit and price them, all without stirring from her living room." But even so, they predicted, "remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop." Why? Because shoppers "like to get out of the house, like to handle the merchandise, like to be able to change their minds."

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
The Russia pavilion at the COP24 conference in Katowice, Poland. Beata Zawrzel / NurPhoto via Getty Images

COP24: U.S. Joins Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait in Blocking Crucial Climate Report

The U.S. has thrown its hat in the ring with three other fossil-fuel friendly nations to block the COP24 talks from "welcoming" the landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that warned that we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 45 percent of 2010 levels by 2030 in order to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, BBC News reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!