Confronting the crisis in Chilliwack with This Changes Everything

This Changes Everything, sponsored by Chilliwack chapter of Council of Canadians, in G.W. Graham theatre, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m.

Inspired by the book This Changes Everything



It’s not just another climate change film about melting glaciers and sad polar bears.

This Changes Everything, a film and discussion sponsored by the Chilliwack chapter of Council of Canadians, is at G.W. Graham theatre, on Nov. 19, at 7 p.m.

“We thought it would be a good opportunity to take advantage of this powerful tool to address a broad range of issues,” said Suzy Coulter, of the Chilliwack CoC.

The documentary was hot off the festival circuit when it was offered to CoC chapters across Canada for community screenings.

It offers a glimmer of hope by showcasing what folks on the front lines are up to.

“This story is where the long road to global warming began,” said author Naomi Klein. “When I realized that, I stopped tuning out those sad polar bears because unlike human nature, stories are something we can change.”

Inspired by Klein’s book, the film adaptation was directed by husband/filmmaker Avi Lewis, showcasing stories of those taking on corporate polluters at the grass roots level, and those seeking a more sustainable way of life.

“For many of us, it was a wake-up call to experience the prolonged drought we saw in our region last summer,” Coulter said.

Water levels were low and river temperatures were high. Blueberries and corn were ripe way earlier than usual.

“The film speaks to some of the food security challenges we might have to face in the future,” she said. “The hope is that it will help start a dialogue.”

Moving toward renewable resources and weaning off fossil fuels is “very doable,” she asserts.

The filmmakers agree, and grasp the unfortunate fact that most people are over-saturated with bad news about the climate, and feel disempowered by their inability to effect any real change.

“It’s the bold assertion that in confronting this crisis head on as citizens, we may have our best chance of addressing the root causes. More and more people are understanding this may be how to change direction.”

The documentary follows some grass-roots efforts and movements that span the globe. It was filmed in nine countries and five continents over four years, and billed as “an epic attempt to re-imagine the vast challenge of climate change” in part by showing how the cult of growth at any cost has been catastrophic.

It comes at the questions with a fresh perspective; the perfect antidote when people stop listening or caring about the environmental apocalypse.

It presents seven portraits of communities on the front lines, from Montana’s Powder River Basin to the Alberta Tar Sands, from the coast of South India to smoggy Beijing and beyond.

Interwoven with these stories of struggle is Klein’s narration, connecting the carbon in the air with the economic system that put it there. The doc builds to its most controversial and exciting idea: to seize the existential crisis of climate change to transform our failed economic system into something radically better.

The panelists for the post film discussion in Chilliwack will include: Margaret Evans, Progress columnist, Sto:lo Grand Chief Clarence Pennier of the Sto:lo Tribal Council, Fernando Selles, president of Chilliwack Field Naturalists, Carrielynn Victor, traditional plant practitioner, Tim Cooper, UFV physics professor and Sardis student Meaghan McNary.

The timing of the local screening was also good, said Coulter, particularly in the face of the upcoming global climate summit in Paris at the end of the month, that many will be watching with interest.

It was actually heartening to be part of a sold-out film screening crowd in Vancouver, she said.

What about those who have tuned out the topic already?

“It acknowledges that despair, but it also gives people tools.”

This Changes Everything, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. at G.W. Graham Theatre, 45955 Thomas Rd., Tickets $10 ($5 students) at Mt. Waddington’s Outdoors, and 604.799.0039, or chwkcouncilofcanadians@gmail.com

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/chwkjourno

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