A hopeful look at a climate future

Issue 

2040
Documentary by Damon Gameau
In cinemas

Damon Gameau is an environmentalist who wants to go beyond the dire facts of the impending climate catastrophe. In 2040, he convincingly demonstrates that we already have the technology to not only stop carbon emissions, we have the ability to draw carbon out of the atmosphere to make the world safe again.

The film’s structure involves Gameau globe-trotting to observe cutting edge developments and then cutting back and forth between today and the year 2040 to see how the world would look if those techniques were utilised.

The film certainly sparks hope.

He looks at things like the ability of resilient forming techniques to draw carbon from the air into the soil, while increasing production. He also explains how solar electricity micro-grids operating in Bangladesh generate income in village economies as well as energy.

Ocean permaculture, which grows seaweed, has the potential to draw down huge amounts of carbon. There are types of seaweed that grow at the rate of half a metre a day.

Seaweed farms stimulate fish life and can restore the world’s oceans. They could also feed up to ten billion people.

But the biggest opportunity to turn the climate around, Gameau says, lies with improving the educational opportunities of girls and young women. The social impact of that would be a game changer.

Gameau carefully skirts politically radical analyses. While he mentions the role of carbon-polluting corporations in spreading climate scepticism, he avoids talking about how to break their economic and social power.

That, combined with some lame attempts at humour, are the weak points of what is, overall an important film.

The movie is linked to the Whatsyour2040 website, which links up people willing to be active around the issues raised in the film. Palace Films have announced that school students aged 18 years or under can see 2040 for free during its opening weekend, May 25 and 26.  They must show student ID and be accompanied by a paying adult.

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