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  • Writer's pictureVera Mark

Use Stories to Show Opportunities, Engage and Re-Connect

I just watched the opening address of the Climate Crisis Film Festival and streamed one of their short films, and I encourage you to sign up (I think that’s still possible) - it’s free AND you get lots back. Like, spirit, hope, encouragement.

One hundred per cent preferable to watching PM Trudeaux boast of Canada’s position in the fight against climate change - the man who signs permits for pipelines that transport tar sand, the dirtiest fuel on this planet.

Here's a digest of the opening address:


Lily Cole, environmental activist, author and filmmaker: ‘We need stories to understand complex issues, to empathise with communities and people other than ourselves, and storytelling can play such an important role in opening people’s mind and awareness to injustice, to challenges, but also to opportunities.’

The film ‘From Trash to Treasure does exactly that - see below.


Bill McKibben, environmental activist, journalist and founder of ‘World leaders in Glasgow are not going to give us what we need right now. We have to keep building big movements to press them forward, and cinematic work is an important part of that.

‘Understanding alone is insufficient and can often lead to despair. But the many of these stories [at the CCFF] are hopeful. And the great hope is that they will lead you to engagement. The planet is way outside its comfort zone - and so we need to be outside ours. I hope you’ll enjoy and then I hope you’ll get to work.’


Jane Gooddall… who needs no introduction. ‘Our planet is in crisis … and all of it was caused by our complete disrespect of our natural world, animals, and each other. There has been a disastrous disconnect between our clever brains and our hearts. We’ve lost the wisdom of our indigenous people who make decisions based on his these affect future generations.’

The CCFF has an entire section dedicated to ‘Indigenous Voices’. I can’t wait to check those out.

From Trash to Treasure

I did manage to already see this short (ca. 20 minutes) from Lesotho, and it left me far more hopeful than any of the grand words or world ‘leaders’. It talks about turning despair into passion, and shows heart-warming examples across various sectors.

Recycling artists ask street kids to collect trash, or actively approach people and companies for by-products and waste, and then use that to produce fashion items. Another walks us through his orchard of peach trees and roses, planted from seeds thrown away on the street: ‘Everything started with seeds scattered in the streets.’ Yet others pursue edu-tainment, storytelling and teaching accompanied by music - on musical instruments made from trash. The musicians talk about their responsibility to do what they can.

This, in particular, really puts powerful people to shame. These people, who did not cause the crisis but suffer most from it, take responsibility and show they actually have agency.

Now imagine what you, I, we all, especially people with money and power can do. And then go out and do it, and write books and make films to show how it’s done.

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