The sixth assessment report, ‘Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis’, recently released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been described as “Code Red” for humanity by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.
The climate report has presented some scary findings, such as 1.5°C warming as inescapable even in the best case scenario. Anthropogenic activities have warmed the climate at a rate unprecedented in 2,000 years (particularly the burning of fossil fuels), and the earth has already exhausted 86% of its available carbon budget. Scientists have prognosticated a continual rise in sea levels, recurrent and severe flooding, heat extremes, droughts, and melting of glaciers in the coming years.
The startling report has created a buzz on social media and the internet. People have been tweeting and posting their opinions and apprehensions about the not-so-far climatic pandemonium. The fundamental and ineluctable question remains: What needs to be done and how? Well, the answer to this can be discovered in an environmental documentary, titled ‘2040’.
This Australian documentary turns our despondency into optimism by proposing a simple, realistic and significant solution: regeneration.
To make us understand the concept of regeneration, Damon Gameau (an Australian actor and the director known for ‘That Sugar Film’) takes us into the world of innovations and tools that have the potential to make our climate and future pristine, green, and blithe.
Shot in 2019, this 92-minute-long documentary through its visual creativity and factual information shows how the world might look in the year 2040 if we take practical and environmentally friendly steps right away. The good thing is that all the required instruments are available already.
The documentary opens with Damon introducing us to his four-year-old daughter Velvet who is living in a happy bubble with numbers, knock-knock jokes and sleep directions being her only concerns. Damon is worried that soon Velvet will have to leave her happy bubble and face the rapidly deteriorating environment.
He then leaves on a journey to meet some ecological experts, entrepreneurs and academics to find the solutions to mitigate climate change, so that his daughter and the children who will share the future with her will get to live in a propitious and healthy environment.
Damon doesn’t burden us with loads of solutions but focuses only on five broad, perhaps important, areas to provide us the hope of a sanguine and livable future. The interludes involve ideas by small children who are concerned about the changing climate.
Damon first travels to a small village in Bangladesh which is run by solar-powered microgrids. He makes us understand how the use of renewable energy can enable communities to share and trade energy. He talks with experts who explain this innovation and its positive impact on the local economy. The documentary offers a solution for employees working in fossil fuels industries who might have to quit their job if people shift to renewable and cheap energy.
Damon points out that the US contributes to 20% of emissions from road vehicles and by 2040 the world will be burdened with an extra one billion cars, leading to drastic increase in environmental pollution. He says that the possible solution to mitigate it would be replacing car ownership to on-demand driverless vehicles. The shared transportation and zero car ownership worldwide would possibly reduce the pollution, expenses and make parking space vacant which in turn can be used to redesign urban areas and make it green (full of plants & trees). And the bonus will be that people can hear the birds chirping in the middle of the city.
He then shows us how a change in agricultural and farm practices can help reverse global warming, halt greenhouse gas emissions, enable carbon sequestration, and provide us with healthy food.
The growing problem of warmer and acidic oceans and seas which has put the lives of sea creatures at risk has also been addressed. The documentary proposes the use of seaweeds through marine permaculture, a regenerative technology, which can possibly restore life in subtropical oceans and repair fish habitats. Seaweed is deemed to be good for food, animal feed, fertiliser, fibre and biofuel. Damon points out that investment in marine permaculture around the world could generate countless jobs and help in regenerating our oceans.
The documentary concludes by highlighting the importance of community resource awareness and its introduction in schools, and the need of empowering girls and women through education. The staggering fact that comes up is that there are approximately 60 million girls around the world who don’t have access to education and are mostly wedded off early. According to one of the experts in the documentary, educating and providing reproductive health services to girls would make them better decision makers, provide work opportunities, and enable them to have children only when they are ready.
But, how would such a transformation begin? Damon answers that it can be achieved by strong leadership that can successfully navigate the people towards rejuvenating years ahead.
2040 is a must-watch environmental documentary for all. It has attractive and creative visuals that beautifully show the contrast between the years 2019 and 2040 respectively. It not only teaches about climate and environment but guides and shows how regenerative practices can fix our otherwise damaged future.
The regenerative 2040 looks promising, vigorous, breathable and eco-friendly in the backdrop of IPCC’s report. The only condition being that measures are taken right now.
“The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.” —Gaylord Nelson
—The writer is a media studies graduate from University of Kashmir. She is a film reviewer, freelance feature writer and editor.