Imagine a documentary featuring wild storms and dire predictions about pollution and rising seas. Sound familiar? Now add insight from Peruvian fishermen and Louisiana historians, mix in middle-school students, inventors, and religious leaders … and invite a global-warming skeptic to the movie.
The film, hosted by Alanis Morissette and Keanu Reeves, is called The Great Warming, and even before its Nov. 3 launch, it has helped spawn an alliance between Democrats and evangelicals trying to shake the administration out of its inertia on climate change. It is also the anchor for a broad, pro-active coalition ranging from Friends of the Earth to Union of Concerned Scientists to Churches of Christ.
Theater giant Regal Cinemas is releasing the film in its top 50 markets this weekend, making the launch three times larger than for any other film of its kind, and highlighting the growing currency of the climate change issues in the mainstream.
Featuring elements of the 2005 PBS special Global Warming: the Signs and the Science, The Great Warming talks to key researchers and reports on social justice and day-to-day impacts as well as emission statistics. It’s also populated with everyday people from all over the U.S. and the planet who are feeling the brunt of global warming, and/or finding innovative ways to tackle it.
“In the course of making this film, we were determined not to lose sight of our most important advocate, the person on the street,” said producer Karen Coshof. “We wanted to make this issue resonate in every household, everywhere. To engage not only the intellect, but most importantly the emotion and will of every person so that they feel empowered to act.”
The Great Warming has already attracted an unprecedented coalition of leaders in science, religion, business, environmental activism, and education. “These ‘reds, blues and greens’ are bridging historic gaps to support the message of this film,” said Coshof. “The biggest reason they give is a belief in our individual and collective moral responsibility to reverse the growing threats to the environment, and to our health and quality of life.”
The effort goes beyond the documentary: with a release timed just before the mid-term elections, the website features a Questions for Candidates link where voters can send a questionnaire on energy, environment, and taxation to their federal and state candidates. The campaign also includes a Call to Action signed by leaders from every arena of public life, and which can be signed online by anyone who chooses. Advance DVD screenings at schools, churches, and town halls across the country have already mobilized thousands of people to change personal habits and demand action, and coalition members are working to track the effort.
Information on the film and coalition, as well as resources for teachers, students, voters, and faith leaders, can be found at TheGreatWarming.com.