It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the reality of climate change, unsure of where to start to make a difference. The climate crisis is global in reach and spares no one, especially the most vulnerable among us.
If you're a Global Citizen, chances are you're already well aware of the environmental threats looming on the horizon, and you may want to take steps to ease your anxiety. But before diving headlong into action, it may be helpful to take a closer look at how the issue affects us on our own doorstep. A good starting point is to understand what climate change is and its causes, so you can better grasp the urgency of addressing it.
In Canada, climate change has devastating consequences for our environment, economy, and way of life.
Indigenous communities — who rely on the land for food, medicine, and cultural traditions — are feeling the effects more than most. Canada's northern communities are in even more danger as the threats of sea ice melting, permafrost thawing, and coastal erosion loom large. In fact, according to a recent report, Canada is among the countries in the world most at risk from an increase in extreme weather and climate events. Human activities are to blame, as more greenhouse gases continue to be released into our atmosphere.
Meanwhile, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that fossil fuel consumption is responsible for a large part of greenhouse gas emissions. That means we need to drastically reduce the amount of coal, oil, and gas we use. Canada still has a long way to go to make this happen.
Unfortunately, these realities aren't limited to Canada. The impacts of climate change are felt across the globe, from every corner of our planet. Coral reefs are under threat, and extreme weather events, heat waves caused by increases in global temperatures, flooding, and drought are threatening crops that feed millions of people every day. Climate mitigation and adaptation projects are urgently needed to address the issue.
To help you learn about what this means as you headway in your journey as a Global Citizen, we've rounded up a collection of useful resources.
Here are eight documentaries released in recent years that will equip you in the fight against climate change — in Canada and beyond.
1. "Rebellion" (Nature of Things)
This episode of Nature of Things, a hit CBC series hosted by world-renowned environmentalist David Suzuki since 1960, focuses on the youth climate protest movement and the intricacies of climate and social justice mobilization.
If Greta Thunberg hadn't already convinced you of the urgent need for action, get ready to follow the lead of other prominent activists who will inspire you to get involved.
2. Climate Change Babies
This powerful film, produced by Babies for Climate Action, a parent group from British Columbia, explores the need to involve children in social change efforts as a means to counteract apathy.
The 45-minute documentary also looks at the disconnect between those making decisions about climate and ecological crises and those who suffer their worst consequences, with contributions from experts, Indigenous leaders, and more.
3. Beyond Climate
Think climate change doesn’t affect us here and now? Think again.
This short film, narrated by none other than David Suzuki, reveals the sheer magnitude of climate disruption in British Columbia. Weaving climate change patterns into the human story and Indigenous wisdom, Beyond Climate features breathtaking footage of the province and touches on some of its most pressing issues, such as pipelines and natural gas.
4. VeraCity: The Fight for Tomorrow
Climate change is seeping into our cities, where nearly 80% of Canadians live, forcing people to rethink their lifestyle and devise sustainable alternatives.
This documentary profiles eight Canadians across the country's largest cities. From energy consumption to greenhouse gas emissions, it will provide you with shocking facts and pointers on how to move forward.
5. There’s Something in the Water
If you need more proof that the climate crisis is inextricably linked to environmental racism, social injustice, and health, look no further than There’s Something in the Water, co-directed by Canadian actor Elliot Page and Ian Daniel.
The documentary takes the viewer on a journey through Paige’s native province of Nova Scotia, addressing the consequences of water pollution on low-income, Indigenous, and Black communities. Drawing from the experiences of marginalized groups, the documentary explores some of the most pressing environmental issues and their impact on everyday lives.
6. Qapirangajuq: Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change
Fact: No one is better suited to talk about climate change than those who are witnessing and experiencing it firsthand. This is what Canadian filmmaker and environmental scientist Ian Mauro wanted to convey through Qapirangajuq, the world’s first Inuktitut-language film on climate change. Mauro teamed up with Inuit filmmaker David Ellmakers to create a movie about the resource-rich region that explores some of its most pressing issues, such as sea ice loss and ocean.
The documentary features Inuit elders and hunters whose knowledge has traditionally been ignored by those leading the fight against climate change. With breathtaking visual imagery and accounts from local leaders, the need to listen to and work with impacted communities to develop effective solutions against the climate crisis.
7. Before the Flood
Based on Leonardo DiCaprio's famed climate change documentary The 11th Hour, this award-winning film follows the Oscar-winning actor and his much-loved co-star, Fisher Stevens, on a high-stakes mission to unravel the mysteries of melting ice sheets and the rising sea.
Get ready for a journey to Baffin Island that will inspire you to fight the urge to be complacent and do your part in helping us reach a renewable future.
8. Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
A Canadian film made by Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier, and Edward Burtynsky, Anthropocene: The Human Epoch explores humanity’s impact on the planet. The documentary is inspired by the book of the same name written by Nobel Prize-winning author Paul Crutzen.
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch was primed at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September 2018 and won two Canadian Screen Awards.