Youth can make a difference in the fight against climate change.
When I was invited to screen my documentary feature The Antarctica Challenge: A Global Warning to delegates, negotiators and world leaders attending the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change in Copenhagen in 2009, I had no idea it would turn into and annual film project for the UN.
The next year, I was invited to return to the UN climate summit—this time in Cancun, Mexico—with another film, The Polar Explorer. This one focused on new climate research in the Arctic documented during a crossing of the historic Northwest Passage.
At this conference, screenings of the film resulted in a new resolution being adopted into the Cancun Accord—Enhanced Action on Adaptation: Section II, Subsection 25. This resolution addressed the imminent threat of rising sea levels caused by glacier retreat—a key event featured in the film.
Youth Climate Report
My co-producer on the film, John Kelly, came up with a great idea to keep the annual partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme by providing a new film each year for the climate conferences. It’s called the Youth Climate Report film series project. The idea was to mobilize the world’s youth to interview their local climate scientists and bring to the conference the latest climate data from across the globe.
I recently talked to Green Diva Meg for a Green Dudes episode about involving youth in climate change action. Listen, then read on for more about the film project…
COP21 conference in Paris
To date, we have produced five Youth Climate Report films. We’re gearing up early to make this year’s film for the all-important COP21 conference in Paris this year. In addition to the feature film, we are introducing a new technology to present even more films—a Geographic Information System (GIS) map.
This interactive map, produced with a new app developed by Google, will showcase pinpoints of a world map representing the location of where the interview or the climate research was conducted. When you clink on or touch these pins, they will open up a media-rich file of videos, photos and website links. View the map here.
The beauty of this map is it allows every student film submission to be included in this year’s film presentation to the UN climate conference. For full details on how to make and submit your three- to five-minute video, please visit our website and click on the “Help” tab for tips on interviewing and filmmaking.
Take a look at a couple of the interviews:
Young people are genuinely and sincerely concerned with climate change, but are often frustrated that there’s nothing they can do about it. This is their opportunity. Bringing the latest climate data to the policymakers who need the information to create environmental policy for the world is a great way of being proactive on this century’s greatest issue.
So get your cameras, tablets and handheld devices out and starting filming. The United Nations—and the world—are waiting for you.
For more on the environment, listen to the latest Green Divas myEARTH360 Report…
Mark Terry is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and PhD candidate at Toronto’s York University. He has established a partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme to produce and present climate research film projects at its annual sustainability and climate summits.
His climate films have won more than 30 international film awards and his work with the United Nations has been recognized by Queen Elizabeth II when he was decorated with her Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013. He was also given the Gemini Humanitarian Award by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television and was presented with the Stefansson Medal, the highest honor of the Canadian Chapter of the Explorers Club. Today, Mark is working on his doctorate with a research focus on mobilizing the documentary film to help create progressive social change. You can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.
~Asst. Ed. Green Diva Christine | Images via YouthClimateReport.org