Lucia Grenna heads the unit specializing in Communication for Climate Change at the World Bank operational communication division, where she has been working since 1999.
The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Already the Flim4Climate Global Video Competition has more than 250 entries from 100 countries and counting. Each video is telling a story of how skyrocketing carbon emissions and the activities that feed those emissions are having impacts across the globe. More videos are being submitted every day.
Each story is its own. Some films focus on the individual, others focus on groups, a few focus on countries as a whole and others don't focus on humans at all—instead choosing to examine animals, plants or oceans. Individually, these films leave a viewer with a unique experience, but collectively these films combine to create a wonderful mosaic of some of the biggest issues related to climate change today.
We have one week left to the deadline for video submissions (enter your story before Sept. 15) and it is already clear that the stories told through Film4Climate hit the big issues and draw light on the often under told implications of the climate crisis.
Here are three takeaways from the submissions we've received so far and reasons why you should submit your climate story today:
Take 1: Consumption Junctions
If you were to blindly click on the part of the Film4Climate website where all the videos are displayed (vote for your favorite), there's a good chance you would find a film addressing consumption habits. Perhaps this increased emphasis on the electricity we use, the food we eat and the water we require, is indicative of a "post-Paris" climate movement that is beyond merely making noise directed at heads of state and obscure United Nations committees and is instead focused on actions that drive the transition away from fossil fuels.
Of course, meeting the targets agreed upon at Paris will require governments and heads of state to keep stepping up, but as seen in so many of the Film4Climate entries, it's the individual who really holds the power, especially when it comes to consumption. The film entries relating to electricity usage and the consequences our diets have on the planet, talk as much about the food and electricity that we don't use as much as the food and electricity we do use. And for good reason.
When it comes to electricity use, there are a few films that simply emphasize the difference in use by telling the stories of a few people. In the developed world there are huge differences when it comes to personal energy use. In the U.S. and Canada, for example, the average person uses about 4,500 kWh each year while a person in the UK or Germany will come in way under that by using under 2,000 kWh each year.
But variations don't just exist in the developed world, emerging economies show wide ranges in energy use. The average person in Brazil, Mexico and China uses about 500 kWh, but in Brazil residential use per person has been the same for almost 20 years, while in Mexico it is up 50 percent and in China it has increased 600 percent. There are film submissions from all these countries devoted to consumption habits.
Of course there are a number of positive stories of innovation that lead to smarter ways of consuming electricity and energy. Many of these films are incredibly inspiring and focus on very local solutions. When it comes to reducing pollution, being smarter about energy and rethinking our diets, there are a number of films highlighting champions that we can all learn from.
Beyond energy there is a major emphasis on food in the Film4Climate competition. Again, the films are complimented well by the facts on the ground. In the U.S. alone, approximately 40 percent of food goes to waste. Globally, about one third of the food produced for human consumption every year—approximately 1.3 billion tons—gets lost or wasted.
Unsurprisingly, much of the food-focused films in this contest so far are devoted to exposing the damage caused by the global meat industry. The World Resources Institute studied the impact of meat consumption on the planet and found that, "reducing heavy red meat consumption—primarily beef and lamb—would lead to a per capita food and land use-related greenhouse gas emissions reduction of between 15 and 35 percent by 2050." According to that same World Resources Institute report, "Beef uses more land and freshwater and generates more greenhouse gas emissions per unit of protein than any other commonly consumed food."
A growing global beef industry requires more land for grazing and that has resulted in massive clear cutting of the world's largest rainforest. Thus, the beef consumption issue is a deforestation issue. Which brings us to...
Take 2: Deforestation Flicks
For any environmentalist and for what is probably a large part of the population, seeing trees and forests cut down evokes a real and tangible emotion. The destruction of a living thing, that is a habitat for so many other living things and provides the oxygen all earthly things carries weight.
For any environmentalist and for what is probably a large part of the population, seeing trees and forests cut down evokes a real and tangible emotion.Mahmoud El-Kholy
It can manifest with a flinch that accompanies the screech of revved up chainsaw or the internal hollowness that radiates like tree rings from one's stomach when a giant tree thuds helplessly on the forest floor. Maybe these images, these sounds these feelings are the reason so many films in the Film4Climate contest highlight the deforestation issue.
While forest-related stories come from all parts of the world, Brazil is a common setting. Over the last thirty years, the Amazon rainforest has has lost about a fifth of its trees. There are a number of causes for this but the largest, as indicated above factor is cattle ranching. Trees are cut and the land is converted into a pasture for cattle grazing at such a staggering rate in Brazil that between 1996 and 2004, the total export value of Brazilian beef increased tenfold from $1.9 million to $1.9 billion. Brazil is now the largest beef exporter in the world. In other parts of the world, where cattle grazing persists so to does deforestation.
But it's not all cattle. Often, deforestation is the result of increased development or in other cases, deforestation is the result of a quest for palm oil, used in many household, cooking and cosmetic goods. A whopping 85 percent of all palm oil in the world is produced and exported from Indonesia and Malaysia.
Be it beef production, palm oil or other factors, the world lost an estimated 129 million hectares of forest, an area the size of South Africa, between 1990 and 2015. This trend is a real life horror plot as forests are the largest holder of carbon, but deforestation is the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions after fossil fuel burning, causing 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Of course not all the films focused on the negative of deforestation. Within every genre of film submitted so far to the contest, there are a number of solutions based films related to deforestation. In fact a common theme running through the positive deforestation films was one of rethinking our personal relationships with nature and how adjusting our mindset to when it comes to diet and development can make a difference.
Whether it's the positive or the negative, deforestation story needs to be told and I encourage any filmmaker out there working on the issue to enter their story.
Take 3: Water, Water Everywhere
Water runs through everything on this planet, so perhaps it's no surprise that water is a theme that runs rapidly through the Film4Climate competition.
Videos already sent in to this competition focus on subjects like the food we get from the ocean (spoiler alert: it's fish), the freshwater habitats that are at risk to climate change and the irreversible damage we are doing to our reefs thanks to ocean acidification. Higher temperatures and a shift in extreme weather patterns affect availability and distribution of rain, snow, river flows and groundwater and further deteriorate water quality.
Videos already sent in to this competition focus on subjects like the food we get from the ocean.Stephanie Rabemiafara
The films devoted to these impacts, whether they tell a story of remote villagers that must now travel farther for sketchier sources of water for their family or they document the growing number of vanishing species resulting from vanishing habitats, underscore the connectivity that comes with the water challenge.
Many of the water films are incredibly positive stories as they tend to focus on localized solutions and individuals who are determined to make water access easier for their communities. Through a number of the positive heroic actions the water struggle is explained by focusing on the heroes instead of the villains.
But if there it's villains you are into then look no further than the issue of ocean acidification. Ocean Acidification, the result of warming water and subsequent chemical reactions, has a dramatic impact on calcifying species like oysters, clams, shallow water corals and deep sea corals along with a number of other creatures under the sea.
Above the sea, more than a billion people worldwide rely on food from the ocean as their primary source of protein and a huge number are employed by getting those creatures on dinner tables around the world. The films dealing with ocean acidification all touch on the food aspect, as well as the fact that acidification is already taking hold on some of the world's most vibrant habitats like the Great Barrier Reef.
If you have a story about better caring for or preserving our water resources in times of climate change, please enter your film.
With more than 200 films entered in the Film4Climate contest and each one of those containing a real story about how the climate crisis is taking hold around the world, there's a lot for any film fanatic to take in.
I hope that when the submission deadline hits in September we have many more stories to watch and more inspiration for action to take on climate change. After all, we should all be working towards a happy ending on climate change.
Lucia Grenna heads the unit specializing in Communication for Climate Change at the World Bank operational communication division, where she has been working since 1999.
While to many the climate debate may seem remote from daily life, the small decisions that we all can make—how much water we use, the products we buy, how we vote—are personal and possible. And they become easier the more we are aware of the consequences.
Already much of society is choosing to engage in a climate-friendly economy, to invest in renewables, conserve energy and promote climate-smart agriculture and resource conservation. Cities and the private sector are shifting their behavior, building resilience to climate impacts and putting a price on carbon pollution.But the poorest in the world do not even have the luxury of choice. For them, climate change is an immediate, life-threatening danger. Striking images and personal stories help us understand the need for immediate action—by all of us, at all levels.
The World Bank Group's Connect4Climate program, with the direct support of Vulcan Productions, the Italian energy company Enel and The Global Brain, is offering filmmakers the chance to tell these stories and to create messaging that will impact us all and spur action. Partnering with the United Nations and the government of the Kingdom of Morocco, the climate solutions and actions depicted in these films will be celebrated at the United Nations COP22 Climate Summit in Marrakesh in November.
The Film4Climate Global Video Competition is open to all, between the ages of 14-35, to submit a short film up to 5 minutes in length or a public service advertisement up to 60 seconds long anytime between June 20 and Sept. 15. Submissions are accepted through film4climate.net or through Connect4Climate's Facebook page.
"Climate change is a real and global threat affecting people's wellbeing, livelihoods, the environment and economies," Sheila Redzepi, vice president of external and corporate relations for the World Bank Group, said. "Communication is a powerful tool in furthering understanding of its impact and inspiring action to tackle it."
An elite panel of film industry producers, directors and writers chaired by Bernardo Bertolucci will choose the winning entries. They will be distributed globally as examples of how society is embracing the climate challenge and taking actions to transition to a low-carbon resilient future.
Renowned film director Fernando Meirelles will again join the jury for this competition. "Climate change is the biggest challenge humankind will face in the next century and what has to be done to mitigate the effects of climate change must start with us, from bottom to top," Meirelles remarked.
Throughout history when young people have finally had enough of excuses and failure from the older generation, they have gathered together or voted together to demand change. It is often said that this generation is the first to end poverty and the last to tackle climate change. The Film4Climate Global Video Competition aims to show how that change will take place.
The competition is a chance for young filmmakers to let their voices be heard in an impactful way. To vividly illustrate the type of actions that need to be taken immediately and to show us the sort of world they want to be living in and to leave for their children.
“So often youth are sidelined or silenced or made into photo-ops," Connect4Climate youth leader and filmmaker Slater Jewell-Kemker said. "It is important to remember that we are more than just the smiling, happy youth of tomorrow. We are the inheritors of this planet and we need to be listened to."
The limiting factor of the climate decision-making process is not necessarily the unwillingness of policy makers, rather the lack of political and social capital. Leaders need to feel supported and empowered by citizens and the younger generation in order to make the right, bold climate decisions.
Youth have the ability to see beyond boundaries and into the heart of the matter, which is that we are all human, connected and only together will we make the climate crisis into the greatest opportunity for this generation.
Films have the power to inspire. Young people have the energy. The Film4Climate competition aims to bring together these two vital ingredients to build the socio-political capital for climate action and highlight climate solutions around the world.
To find our more about the competition and download flyers and the social media kit see this article on the Connect4Climate site.
Watch here for more information:
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Could a few really upset birds get people all over the world to fight the cruel effects of our ever-warming planet? Could they ignite a groundswell of support, from the bottom up, to convince world leaders to commit to tackling climate change?
That’s what Rovio, the creators of Angry Birds, Earth Day Network, and we at Connect4Climate are hoping. To encourage a binding climate agreement at the United Nations meeting in Paris this December, Rovio is doing their part, by creating Angry Birds: Champions for Earth, a special tournament on Angry Bird Friends, a mobile game in the Angry Bird series that you can play as a free Mobile App and on Facebook.
In Champions for Earth, participants play in the tournament with specially created Angry Bird avatars in their likeness. The game is themed around climate change, and players encounter facts about the climate and learn what they can do to take action.
Put on your angry face, and join Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Danny DeVito, Christiana Figueres, Anil Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Ian Somerhalder and Korean pop group VIXX for a special Angry Birds Friends tournament to help protect our environment!
We at Connect4Climate try to motivate people to take on the world’s number one threat by connecting to people where they live, which is why we’re honored to support Champions for Earth. Incorporating climate change messages into the most popular video game ever is an ideal example of how to really communicate climate change messages.
In the original, highly-addictive, Angry Birds game, the heroes are birds, who are angry at pigs for stealing their eggs. While comical, the underlying theme of the game is about a commitment to justice and protection of the innocent. These messages, in fact, transfer easily to climate change messages. In Champions of Earth, players translate protecting eggs to protecting the earth.
Will Champions of Earth reach many people? With a record-breaking 3 billion downloads, Angry Birds is the most downloaded game ever. In some countries, the game has been downloaded more times than the size of the population. We now spend 3 billion hours a week playing online games, and close to 100 percent of teenagers under 18 years old play games regularly. By age 21, a person will have spent 10,000 hours playing on-line games, close to the same number of hours they have spent in classroom education. Now there’s a captive audience! We’re betting Champions of Earth will hit big.
Rovio is hoping that the game will ignite a powerful call to action and is hosting a seven-day tournament this week during the UN Environment Week when world leaders are chugging through details to announce goals around climate change.
We believe that this game, Champions of Earth, has the potential to be the game-changer, the point at which a critical mass of concerned global citizens together turn toward solutions to calm our ever warming earth, and finally—finally—provide the force to get our global leaders to act.
As Sonam Kapoor, a Connect4Climate Global Leader, puts it: Climate change affects us “in every country, and it makes us very angry.” It’s time to put on our angry faces and call for climate action.
Spread the word! You can tweet: These celebrity birds are #angryaboutclimatechange & want to plant 1B trees: @EarthDayNetwork @AngryBirds @Connect4Climate.
I’m always amazed at how a good story can move people. I was reminded of this again while watching the world premiere of Chloe & Theo, a film in which a homeless girl befriends an Inuit who travels to New York City from his tiny village in the Arctic to deliver an important message: "My world is melting. Please help us." (Look for the film in August at a theater near you).
Theo’s story is a true one. He does leave his vast, white and silent world on the Canadian coastline where he was born (in an igloo!) and he did go to U.S. to try to meet with world leaders. His help came in the form of Monica Ord, an entrepreneur who was committed to helping HIV/AIDS victims and finding cancer cures. She heard Theo’s story and asked how she could help. She had no background in film making, but she did know Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, and told him about Theo’s story. Three months later, she and Sir Richard were on a dog sled traveling through the Arctic to see what Theo meant.
The rest, as they say, is history.
On a budget so small, the crew took only half their pay, Monica succeeded in making an engaging, and often funny, movie about Theo Ikummaq’s journey, in which he plays his charming self. Dakota Johnson insisted on playing Chloe, Theo’s guide; Mira Sorvino also costars. We experience Theo’s physical journey from the North, as well as his emotional journey through the layers and personalities of New York City.
We get invested in the Story of the Angry Sun, which Theo’s Inuit elders use to explain what’s happening to their slowly melting village. We empathize when Theo mourns that people have separated from their world, and that things are changing way too fast. We have a responsibility to what we’ve been killing, he says, his soulful deep brown eye projecting innocence and truth. The result is a simple, and entirely complicated, beautifully-told story.
Theo just wants to get his message heard, because he wanted his world to stay frozen, snow covered and remain on sacred “cathedrals of ice.” And so do we in the climate change communication business. We want to make sure our messages about our changing world are heard. But maybe we’ve been trying to do this in all the wrong ways, by telling people the facts, when what they want to hear is a good story.
The willingness to enter another’s world, as Monica Ord did, and be a witness to his story, his life, his plights and concerns is, to me, the very beginning of communication. Telling those stories in a way which allows others to experience a world they never would have otherwise changes people. It has the power to change their perspectives, opinions and hearts.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
I stood in front of about 30 college students from several universities on the East Coast of the United States, talking about how Connect4Climate can be a unique platform—especially the world’s youth—to help tackle climate change. As I looked around the room at the energetic, intelligence faces representing some 20 countries, I am reminded more than ever how absolutely essential youthful vision is to energizing world leaders to form and implement any agreement we get from COP 21 in Paris later this year. Change comes from the ground up, and I believe many of the answers will come from the young. After all, it is their future.
“Industries base their choices on consumers; it boils down to individual action,” I told them. “We can harness a level of global intelligence, particularly with young people who have a fresh look and can make changes.”
The students weren’t shy about expressing their views—hands sprang up throughout the workshop, peppering me with questions. They were genuinely curious about how to implement renewable energy in developing countries and if climate change was the number one reason countries are in poverty. They wanted to know what could be done about the wastes from fossil fuels and how climate change contributed to a country’s poverty.
These are exactly the kinds of questions that should be raised on a global platform, and I was heartened to hear them.
On my heels came perhaps one of the world’s most effective spokespeople for the climate change movement, World Bank Group Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change, Rachel Kyte. No one summarizes the global climate quandary better than Rachel and coherently explains what needs to be done. “We’ve never had this set of challenges before. If we continue to pollute like we are, we’ll warm the planet to a degree that we’ve all agreed isn’t safe,” she told the crowd.
She then charged the group with The Challenge. “We have to find a way to grow and met the needs of the people today. We have to grow with less carbon. By the time you’re in your 50s, 60s or 70s, we need to have zero net emission. This means emitting no pollution into atmosphere that can’t be sequestered by the planet or technology.”
How could our group of students help achieve this? Well, we asked them! (And we got their promises on camera).
Many pledged to recycle (or keep recycling). Many promised to turn out the lights. A handful said they’d take cold showers (and it’s bone-chilling January, no less). One student said he would make sure his friends put recycling in recycling bins and trash in trashcans.
Another pledged to use more natural resources; another promised to drive an electric car. One student said her commitment to climate was being vegan. We heard simple but effective acts: Use few water bottles! Put your car in neutral at red lights! Unplug electric cords around the house! Carpool more!
These actions may seem small, but it’s exactly here—at the individual level—that the world changes, and I, for one, am inspired to see the level of enthusiasm generated by a group of college students in one single morning.
What’s your Action4Climate? Tell us!
We also challenged the students to advise us on ways we can grow our Sport4Climate initiative, which started in 2014 at the World Cup and ended with pledges and support from high-profile athletes to spread the word on climate change.
The students offered thoughtful and possible ideas about how we could further engage athletes, their coaches and their sponsors on climate change, impressing us, once again, with their ingenuity.
Do you want to join the Sport4Climate initiative? Get in touch.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
It’s hard to believe that the world has been without Nelson Mandela for more than a year. We remember him for his leadership, his wisdom and his ability to bring people together. His legacy inspires me to help advance the global movement for climate action.
After he left office in 1999, Nelson Mandela—or Madiba to all who knew him—founded a group called The Elders. The prestigious group, including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, sought to create human rights-oriented solutions to complex, global problems. Among other issues, The Elders focused on tackling climate change, with a specific eye on those most affected by its impacts.
Connect4Climate is honored to salute the leadership of Nelson Mandela with a tribute we hope would have made him proud. Along with his fellow Nobel Peace Prize winners, who have gathered in Rome this week for the 14th Annual World Summit of the Nobel Peace Laureates, we are announcing the Madiba Tribute Album to mark the occasion of his passing.
This great new collection of music features African musicians adding their own flair to well-known hits in exclusive remixes. (The album is being released at the beginning of the year, but here’s a snippet of what to expect). Though, you may wonder how can music help confront climate change?
Well, the album is a project lead by Artists Project Earth (APE), and this isn't APE's first go at this kind of collection, nor at this kind of mission. APE has released five other albums with hits from bands such as U2, Coldplay, Eminem, Bob Dylan, Beyonce and The Rolling Stones, and remixed them with vocals from artists from countries that suffer the most from climate change.
This is exactly why Connect4Climate partnered with the group that directs all its records’ profits to specific, grassroots organizations that are doing their best to reverse climate change effects. With music we aim to motivate the Millennials to take on this generation’s climate challenge. Music can inspire, can connect on an emotional level that climate science and data may never reach.
The albums have sold more than 1.5 million copies, and helped more than 330 projects, including Japanese tsunami victims, wetland conservation efforts in Uganda, coral reef restoration, and reforestation plans in Africa, Mexico and Honduras. Sales from Madiba Tribute Album will be divided between Mandela's Children's Fund and APE's Climate Change Disaster Relief Programs.
We first got to know APE through T-S-1, a rap group from Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya, who won our video competition for the 2011 Climate Change Conference in Durban. After their success, APE’s founder, Kenny Young, persuaded T-S-1 to do a rendition of a song by American rap star Eminem.
American music producer/songwriter Kenny Young has long been familiar with a range of musical talent. He wrote top 10 hits in the 1960s and 1970s for artists that range from Herman's Hermits, to Quincy Jones, to Nancy Sinatra—including his most famous tune, "Under the Boardwalk." His first foray with Rhythms Del Mundo came after the Indian Ocean tsunami hit in 2004 and devastated communities in Thailand. He is simply a huge believer in acting on climate change and puts his money where his heart is. APE is his brainchild.
Combine big-name artists with the talents of global musicians, connect with the youth around the world, and earmark the money for helping those who suffer the most. Nelson Mandela may be gone, but his vision for tackling large global puzzles can still inspire creative solutions today.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
For years, football has been the world’s universal sport; from massive stadiums in Europe to villages in remote parts of Africa, football games are followed with excitement. With a single ball, football builds bridges between people, cultures, nations and religions. This is why countless TV viewing records are being broken, and every four years the World Cup unites people with joy and disappointment. Most of the time it doesn’t matter whether you are on the winning team, it is the sense of community that is important. Football brings the world together and represents a great opportunity to direct focus to some of the world’s most pressing issues.
The Interreligious Match for Peace, proposed by Pope Francis and played by some of the best football players in the world, was held in Rome’s Olympic stadium on Sept. 1. It was a historic moment in the charitable sports calendar, one which brought together people of different religions to celebrate interfaith harmony, solidarity and sporting excellence.
Connect4Climate is excited to have been a part of this remarkable event. Pope Francis, who has championed global peace and the struggle against poverty, once tweeted: “To live charitably means not looking out for our own interests, but carrying the burdens of the weakest and poorest among us.” Connect4Climate and The World Bank recognize that poverty is inextricably linked to climate change, with the poorest most affected. In the words of World Bank Group President Jim Kim: “We will never end poverty if we don’t tackle climate change.”
We know that with the increasing impact of climate change, there is a higher risk of conflict due to population displacement and resource scarcity. An inter-faith dialogue on lasting peace, expressed through the Match For Peace, therefore becomes vitally important.
Having met the Pope earlier this year, I was immensely touched by the power of faith to encourage society to act and take on some of our most pressing challenges. In addition, watching major sport events, like World Cups and the Olympic Games, shows the huge potential of sports as a call to action. The sport community can and should be a trailblazer in shifting attitudes to take on climate change. Sport is a huge industry with billions watching their favorite teams, attending games and playing in their communities. The high profiles of professional footballers make them well placed to advocate for action and encourage others to do the same.
With the full realization of the power of sport for reaching global audiences, we recently launched the #Sport4Climate campaign, which showcases how sport and athletes across the world are standing up to climate change. Already many athletes have signed up to the climate pledge, and the call for action is set to grow.
We were thrilled to watch the Interreligious Match for Peace, seeing the Leadership of Pope Francis, and the call of international football superstars to take action on some of the most pressing issues facing society today. Let’s act on climate change, tackle poverty and call for global peace. Join the discussion at #sport4climate and #matchforpeace.
YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE