This Changes Everything

this changes everything 3I have a confession to make. Lately, I’ve been sick of the Earth. Or at least sick of hearing about how we’re ruining it.

Before you judge, you should know that I make a monthly donation to a Save the Planet charity that shall remain nameless (because I’m about to talk shit about them). In fact, some guy from the organization called me last year and told me that my annual donation was in the 95th percentile of their donors, which now that I think about it can’t possibly be true. But they still want more. Not more money, believe it or not. They want my time. They want me to read their emails about whales, tar sands, and our old Prime Minister and how hell-bent he was on destroying the planet. They don’t even ask for more money. They just want to say hi and tell me how bad things are getting.

So I’m burnt out on the topic, I’ll admit it. And, apparently, so is Naomi this-changes-everythingKlein. Klein, narrator of This Changes Everything and author of the book on which it’s based, opens her climate change documentary with a confession much like mine. She doesn’t usually like documentaries about climate change. She can’t bring herself to care much about polar bears and she feels she’s heard it all before. “Is it possible to be bored with the end of the world?” she asks.

It’s the perfect setup for yet another climate change documentary. I literally AM bored with the end of the world and, if this is going to be the climate change documentary for people that are, then I’m keeping an open mind. Although skeptical at first, I was surprised to find myself thinking, “Okay, I’m with you so far”.

So, for 89 minutes, I decided to set aside my boredom with the end of the world and just let myself relax and be bored by this movie instead. Klein’s thesis, that global warming isn’t about polar bears or statistics but a story that we’ve been telling ourselves for four centuries, makes sense to me. For the last four hundred years (although, in fairness, I’m only willing to accept any personal responsibility for the last thirty), we have stopped seeing nature as something to be respected and revered and started seeing it as something to be conquered and manipulated for our own ends.

this changes everything 2While I admire her for reframing the problem of climate change as a story that we keep telling ourselves, Klein and director Avi Lewis lose some points for telling us the same story over and over. This Changes Everything is structured in five short segments that take us to Canada, the United States, Greece, India, and China, documenting the consequences of corporations’ attemtps to conquer nature and the concerned citizens who are actively trying to make a change. Because Klein seems to be making the same point with each segment, the impact of these stories diminishes with each new chapter.

All kidding aside about how I’m kind of bored with the end of the world, we are without question killing this beautiful planet that we are so lucky to have found ourselves on. I finally got to see The Martian last night and it only reconfirmed my feeling that of all the planets in our solar system, we got the best one. Climate change IS very sad, even if I too often feel numb to it. If corporations are allowed to keep doing what they’re doing, disaster is inevitable and, if you doubt it, I’d recommend this movie or Klein’s book or, better yet, I’ve got lots of informational emails from charities that I’d be all too happy to get off my hands. But if you’re already part of the choir, maybe it’s okay sometimes to get tired of listening to the preacher.

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19 thoughts on “This Changes Everything

  1. fragglerocking

    I am in the choir, tra-lah de-dah, and I’m not so much bored with it as wiped out by the seemingly insurmountable problem of getting the whole world (mostly the whole world’s govt’s) to just stop what they’re doing and sort it out!

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    1. Matt Post author

      I think that’s part of it, how the problems seem insurmountable. Klein even addresses this in the film. One of the best parts is when she touches on how successful Germany has been in making some changes. She argues that this is doable if we work together and change doesn’t even have to be bad for the economy. What if climate change isn’t so much a problem but an opportunity to build a better world, she asks. It was a good try but I can’t say I was particularly uplifted.

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  2. Birgit

    I am all for saving the planet, the oceans, the land, the rivers, the ice flows and especially the animals. I feel some countries (China…sorry), continue to eat things or want things because it helps their libido etc… Ever since I was a kid, I watched animal shows and documentaries and every time, it started on a high note-watching the animals forage for food, have babies etc… but ended that…”They will all die!” If it wasn’t for Greenpeace. etc… all, many more species would have already died out but I, too am just sick of it. I figure that, if the scientists were all correct, many majestic beasts would already be history and our planet would be a burnt out cinder. We would all look like that evil dude from the last batman movie wearing some breathing piece and have boils everywhere. Scientists are normally pessimists. I remember when Mount St. Helen’s blew. My dad was still alive and we were listening to the scientists saying nothing will grow there for 300 yrs. My dad, being a lumber man, said “Bulls&^%! They don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground! Nature has a way of balancing things out. Watch things will be back there in 5 years.” My dad was right. So we need to keep saving but try not to be sooooo negative

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    1. Matt Post author

      Haha I love how you talked about the Bane mask. I wasn’t expecting Batman to come up in the discussion at all. Fragglerocking commented above that boredom and apathy can come from the idea that the challenges ahead of us seem almost impossible to overcome. So you may be right, maybe if we weren’t so negative about it, people would be less sick of hearing it.
      Great comment, Birgit.

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  3. DotedOn

    I totally understand how you feel, Matt! I’m an environment analyst and I got tired of it (but shhhhh 😀 ).
    Unsubscribe to the emails and don’t feel guilty about it.
    When I was studying, the teachers told us: actually, nobody can tell for sure because we started recording data not long ago so we don’t know if all the things happening now are supposed to happen or not… it could be a part of a cycle. Anyway, I hate people destroying the planet (but I don’t respect much the ones saying they are saving it using violence or the ones trying to make the rest of us feel like bad people for not doing it right or enough… I think they belong to a sect!!). 🙂

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  4. Matt Post author

    I actually haven’t but I remember when it came out. I’ve heard really good things. While I was watching This Changes Everything, I thought of a movie that came out about a year ago called Merchants of Doubt, a documentary about people who’s only job is to promote public doubt about climate change research. I haven’t seen it but I started wishing that I had watched it instead.

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  5. Brittani

    Climate change is very important and I’m okay with reading things on it and what not, but you do make a good point. Climate change documentaries can be boring as fuck. I’m thinking back to the glorified power point presentation that was An Inconvenient Truth. Important topic, but zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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  6. Inspired Ground (@InspiredGround)

    I haven’t finished watching An Inconvenient Truth, though started well (I was intrigued and concerned) but it got pretty boring. I suppose it supposed to be boring because it talked about terms we’re not familiar with, or they just environmentalist but not a Kubrick or Lynch or any great Directors or writers. Maybe it should be more effective, talking about the doc you’ve seen, cut some segment.

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    1. Matt Post author

      Well, if the movie is only interesting to people who ARE familiar with the jargon, then there’s no point to it. An Inconvenient Truth’s job was to hold your interest and if it failed to do that, I’d say that it’s own fault.

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  7. calensariel

    Great post. I agree. There’s a part of me that knows we’re harming this planet because we’re such greedy buggers. But I can’t shake the feeling that if we could FIX all that, we would STILL be going through a climate change. The stuff in the air may be hastening it, but I think this planet is recycling itself. And I’d speculate that it’s done so every X number of years it’s entire life. But how does one sort the dross from the gold when it comes to information. I haven’t seen that documentary anywhere around here. I’ll have to keep an eye out for it.

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    1. Matt Post author

      That’s the problem these days, there’s so much information out there and it can be hard to weed out stuff that’s just plain propaganda. Best way i guess is to read the research for yourself but I never have and would likely not be able to make heads or tails of it if I did.

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