5 Films to Discuss the Climate Crisis

Film discussions can bring communities together to engage in meaningful conversations about climate change and resilience. The film can help people examine local concerns related to the environment; seeing other communities’ experiences depicted in the films can spark reflections on how to be resilient when facing a crisis.

Here are five films we recommend for discussing the climate crisis; do any seem llke a match for your community? If you have other recommendations, please share them in the comments.

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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

2019 • TV-PG • 113 minutes • Spanish audio and subtitles available • Netflix subscription needed â€˘ Learn more

William Kamkwamba is a 13-year-old living with his family in rural Malawi. As growing industrialization of the land and then famine threaten to destroy his family and his community, William is thrown out of the school he loves when his parents can no longer afford the fees. William sets his exceptional mind to come up with a solution, and sneaking back into the school library,he finds a way. First, though, he must convince his father Trywell to allow him to use the bones of his bicycle to build a windmill to irrigate the land. William succeeds with his invention and saves his village, whilst also assuring his own bright future.

The film highlights an urgent truth: while talent is evenly distributed across the globe, opportunity and investment are not. It also reminds us that youth are a powerful force in tackling both local and global challenges and reminds us to believe in and invest in their capacity to change their communities, countries, and the world for the better.

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Chasing Ice

2012 • PG-13 • 75 minutes • Kanopy â€˘ Learn more

In the spring of 2005, acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment for National Geographic: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk. Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet.



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Decoding the Weather Machine

2018 • TV-PG • 113 minutes • Spanish subtitles available • PBS Nova • Kanopy â€˘ Learn more

Disastrous hurricanes. Widespread droughts and wildfires. Withering heat. Extreme rainfall. It is hard not to conclude that something’s up with the weather, and many scientists agree. It’s the result of the weather machine itself—our climate—changing, becoming hotter and more erratic. 

In this two-hour documentary, NOVA cuts through the confusion around climate change. Why do scientists overwhelmingly agree that our climate is changing, and that human activity is causing it? How and when will it affect us through the weather we experience? And what will it take to bend the trajectory of planetary warming toward more benign outcomes? Join scientists around the world on a quest to better understand the workings of the weather and climate machine we call Earth and discover how we can be resilient—even thrive—in the face of enormous change.

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How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Change Can't Change

2016 • TV-14 • 127 minutes • Spanish subtitles available • Josh Fox Films â€˘ Pay to watch on HBO and iTunes â€˘ Learn more

In How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change, Oscar-nominated director Josh Fox (Gasland) continues in his deeply personal style, investigating climate change—the greatest threat our world has ever known. Traveling to 12 countries on 6 continents, the film acknowledges that it may be too late to stop some of the worst consequences and asks, what is it that climate change can’t destroy? What is so deep within us that no calamity can take it away?

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Fire and Flood: Queer Resilience in the Era of Climate Change

In production • This film is not yet rated. Contains some heavy themes and occasional mature language • 102 minutes • Bilingual (Spanish/English) subtitles • The Queer Ecojustice Project â€˘ Learn more

Fire and Flood: Queer Resilience in the Era of Climate Change tells the story of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the fires in Santa Rosa, California, two near-simultaneous climate-related disasters in the fall of 2017, through the voices of LGBTQ people who lived through them and were part of the community response. The film explores the vulnerability of LGBTQ communities to climate disasters and lifts up queer and trans strategies for resilience, transition, and survival.

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