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Climate Refugees At Sundance: First Impressions

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climate refugeesI had the honor of covering the much “buzzed about” film Climate Refugees, the Q & A that followed and the after party. If you thought an Inconvenient Truth was eye opening, you won’t believe how this movie has created a face that forces you to acknowledge the real devastation and who is actually affected by climate change. There are currently about 25 million “climate refugees” (people who have had to move from their homeland because of lack of natural resources.)

Some of the images and narration are haunting: A group of children swimming in 3 feet of water…where their front yard used to be. A grandmother explaining the devastation of trying to find her family after a natural disaster. The narrators spoke about cultural immersion issues for the families that are lucky enough to be moved to nearest landmass as well as the unlucky grandmothers that will have to swim with their families to safety that aren’t so lucky. None of the people on islands being submerged by the rising water levels want to migrate from their homes to the nearest coastal areas, but the water forces them to. As well as none of the families that live in now barren deserts want to become nomadic in search of water.

If you still don’t think global warming is real, Lester Brown, Nancy Pelosi and former presidential hopeful John Kerry, along with many educated narrators, elaborated on how the affects are very real for these quickly dying cultures. Representatives from the United Nations and other facets of the government narrated that many people from around the world may opt to migrate to the United States, Canada and Europe, which creates many other concerns for national security and over population.

During the Q&A Michael Nash, Stephen Nemesh and a few others that powered the film spoke more about the issues for people that live on islands and on coasts that are becoming submerged by water because of global warming as well as people who live in areas where there water supply has disappeared. Near the end of the panel discussion, to everyone’s surprise, Michael called Senator Barbara Boxer to the stage and she encouraged everyone to write their local Congressman and become a part of the solution for a problem that is a global concern.

Following the Q&A was the Climate Refugees/Flaunt magazine party. Michael Nash spoke with friends and myself about how his fear is that a movie like this still has the possibility of falling through the cracks and not receive distribution, which would be devastating. College professor Ukumbwa Sauti, M. Ed. suggested that Michael try to introduce the film to colleges and high schools as an educational tool. The younger generations are the ones that will make changes, because they are the ones who will be affected by them. Stephen Nemesh reiterated from the movie that we better f*cking hope humans cause global warming, because that is the only hope we have to be able to slow it down and save these people.

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