This Changes Everything

New Documentary Reflects Climate Unity


Never has the promise of global solidarity behind a post-carbon planet and renewable energy felt stronger than while I was viewing the documentary This Changes Everything at December’s Environmental Concerns meeting.

I did not want to miss my aunt Gail Schickele’s invitation to view the new film based on a book by Naomi Klein, who has been an influential figure on my life. Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine taught me details of geo-political events about which I had only a cursory understanding.  This year I met Chilean youth who regarded her as a hero for details The Shock Doctrine shared with their generation regarding the brutal dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. We bonded over the right for a people to decide their fate. With this new film, Klein is uniting the global community once again.

I was aware of some of the indigenous-led blockades in the Alberta tar sands region; a Vancouver friend spent much time aiding the efforts there in recent years. As we watched the film, that same friend was traveling to a South Dakota blockade highlighted in the film.  His involvement showed me how one’s connection to these opposition efforts can move from being viewed through a screen to being on the ground in solidarity.

As a journalist in Crescent City, I have written about American Indian youth and river activists from the Klamath River basin, who have taken solidarity-building trips to the Malaysian Borneo and the Brazilian Amazon to fight mega-dam projects there. The Klamath Basin participants told me that the indigenous people of the Borneo and Amazon who led blockades and other opposition efforts were astonished to learn that North American indigenous people are still alive and well, giving them strong inspiration to continue their fight knowing they are not alone. This was the message I received from Klein’s film, as well:  Climate activists are not alone.

A country like India might be told by the West that large-scale carbon-based projects are a necessity for progress, but it does not mean that the people of India agree. It was powerful to see not only rural Indian villagers protest a power plant in their backyard, but to see this fight taken up by the urbanized, middle-class sectors of India, as well. Similarly, the Beijing protesters in the film demonstrate that climate change is an urgent issue for under-developed countries.

People across the planet are not alone in their desire to imagine and fight for a new world that sustains all of its inhabitants — humans, plants and animals alike. Big thanks to LWVBAE for holding events that reaffirm the unity we have and can grow to fight climate change. – Adam Spencer

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