The world has fitfully paused in recent months as the COVID-19 pandemic shutters businesses and pushes people indoors to minimize transmission rates.

Government shutdowns have been devastating for children, womenfarmers, people living in poverty, and communities as a whole, but it has also presented countries with a crossroads of sorts. In the aftermath of the pandemic, will things return to business-as-usual, with rising greenhouse gas emissions and soaring inequality? Or will governments shift their priorities to eliminate poverty, repair the global environment, and achieve the United Nations' Global Goals? 

A new short film called Message From the Future II: The Years of Repair imagines the latter scenario. The film, produced by the nonprofit The Leap and investigative news outlet the Intercept, takes the perspective of people living in the future, reflecting on the years after COVID-19. It enlists the award-winning illustrator Molly Crabapple to paint a story narrated by the artists and activists Opal Tometi, Nnimmo Bassey, Emma Thompson, and Gael García Bernal. 

“The pandemic has reminded us — for better and for worse — that we are all interconnected. And the uprisings against systemic racism have shown that there is power in the streets,“ Tometi, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, said in a press release.

“It is clearer than ever before what is essential in our society, and whose lives must no longer be treated as expendable. This film envisions a way to build a better world out of overlapping crises, one in which no one is sacrificed and everyone is essential," she said.

The COVID-19 crisis arrived at a pivotal time, a decade away from the targets set by the Paris climate agreement and the UN's Global Goals. Countries still have the potential to achieve these development frameworks, but global citizens everywhere have to call on their leaders to invest in communities and the environment. 

The creators of the film call on everyone to dream big and imagine a world beyond the status quo. 

"Message From the Future II: The Years of Repair shows how we can transform moments of urgent global crisis — from the pandemic to our warming climate to systemic injustice — into catalysts for demanding and achieving a restorative, progressive vision for the future," John Cavanagh, executive director of the Institute for Policy Studies, said in the press release. "Charting a path from despair to repair, this film plants the seeds for growing a future-forward movement that can become an unstoppable force for good."


Defend the Planet

This Animated Short Film Imagines a Green and Inclusive COVID-19 Recovery

By Joe McCarthy