‘A wake up call’: Film set for Manchester debut highlights failure to fight climate change

A new film based on Naomi Klein’s bestselling book on climate change will be premiered in Manchester on Saturday 26 September.

The large scale documentary, entitled This Changes Everything and directed by Avi Lewis, was filmed over the course of four years, across five continents and nine different countries.

Following the stories of seven different communities around the globe, This Changes Everything examines life on the front lines of climate change, and the economic systems that have caused it to happen.

With its rallying rhetoric of ‘stop pretending that we control nature’, if anything like the book, viewers can expect a harrowing re-examination of our place on this planet.

Speaking to MM, Ali Abbas, co-ordinator and long-time campaigner for Manchester Friends of the Earth, are doing their best.

Be it through campaigning against fracking or saying yes to renewables, the organisation – made up of 20 to 30 regular volunteers  are doing everything possible to reduce our city’s carbon emissions by 41% before 2020.

He said: “The Paris Climate Conference is just two months away.

“This film is a wake up call – a call to action for people in Manchester and all around the world to organise for change and work together to achieve a more sustainable and just future.

“Fair play to Manchester Council, as they are one of the few leaders to put something into place.

“They set themselves the pretty ambitious target in line with science, and developed it in collaborative way with individuals with different experiences and backgrounds.

“The challenge is now to deliver on that. In terms of progress, they have done good things but there is a lot of inertia there. It takes time for things to happen.

“As a city, Manchester is not on track to meet the targets set for 2020.

“We’re currently looking at 27% by 2020, so we are making some progress but we are not going fast enough at the speed needed.

“The council is one part of this, but it is about all of us. Every person and organisation. Everything we do has an impact on climate change in some small way.”

What makes the film stand out is its message – rather than focus on the global destruction we have created, we are given a clear solution – ‘seize the existential crisis of climate change to transform our failed economic system into something radically better’.

Narrated by Klein herself, the film hopes to fundamentally challenge any ideas we may have about climate change as insignificant.

And with big box office names Alfonso Cuarón, Danny Glover and Seth Macfarlane producing, it stands every chance of making a difference.

Next Saturday’s screening will take place at the Manchester Environmental Resource Centre Initiative (MERCi) in Ancoats, with the audience being able to participate in a live Q&A session with Lewis and Klein directly afterwards.

The premiere will be shown simultaneously with dozens of other cities around the world. But how does Manchester fare in terms of climate change?

MFoE, who are hosting the event along with Fossil Free UK, are committed to making Manchester readdress our attitude towards climate change.

And whilst films like This Changes Everything really can make a difference to our attitudes and actions, it is easy to become cynical about our future.

Given that many scientists now think a four degree Celsius rise in temperature is unavoidable, will we ever be able to meet set targets?

And, will these set targets even be substantial enough to make a difference? Mr Abbas remains positive.

“Definitely hope is there. More people understand what is going on now,” he said.

“When you think back to ten years ago, people did not know what climate change was.

“And there is change now. More broadly, austerity and cuts are getting people thinking that they can get up and take action.

“By working together we can stand up and take action. And by working with others, we can use our demographic power to make a difference.”

This Changes Everything will be shown at MERCi, Bridge 5 Mill, 22a Beswick Street, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 7HR. Saturday September 26.

Doors open 6pm. Tickets cost £5 and can be booked here.

More information on Manchester Friends of the Earth and how we can reduce our day to day emissions  can be found on their website.

Image courtesy of Christopher Michel, via Flickr, with thanks.

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