Coping with Climate Change


| 6/7/2016 12:49:00 PM


Tags: Climate Change, Jessica Cohen,

Josh Fox, who made Gasland, joins Pacific Island activists in handmade canoes surrounded by sharks below and police boats above in one scene of his new documentary, How To Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change. As they try to obstruct a ship carrying coal, a major source of greenhouse gases, Fox’s canoe capsizes. He tosses his camera to a comrade who catches it, saving the day’s video footage and typifying the film’s motif of hope, defiance, and humor amid gloom: The island is being submerged in water as the ocean rises because of climate change. But Fox joins the activists in singing and dancing as they celebrate delaying a coal delivery for one more day.

The film follows Fox to activist enclaves from the Amazon to the Arctic, places where environmental destruction is rampant and insidious. In China, metropolitan areas look perpetually foggy with smog, and industrial spills poison the Amazon River around which forests are denuded. Fox also tours global warming disasters close to home, as coastal cities become vulnerable. He points to a house where a woman drowned when the Atlantic Ocean overwhelmed her in her living room in Queens during Hurricane Sandy.  He interviews a man in whose house the only item left intact was his Santa Claus suit. 

However, Fox also interviews Aria Doe at the Action Center nearby, a grass roots organization to assist the low income community with food, education, and other support. She was there, she said, “Because I knew no one else was coming.” 

In a post-apocalyptic scene, Fox showed her alone in a large empty space at the Action Center, and then, in a similarly vacuous space, a man singing.

Activists singing and dancing recur in the film, signaling the value and vitality of community organizing despite grim forecasts. Fox notes his own despair in response to predictions that 30-50 percent of species will be lost along with disappearing forests. “What will climate change not destroy?” Fox asks. “People who got back up from despair.”

Josh Fox