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Issue 1777 (PDF)
The student newspaper of Imperial College London


Keep the Cat Free


A look at climate change films

Film Editor Eva Borras Paredes takes a look at what to watch when you want to learn a bit more about climate change

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Film

in Issue 1777

Lowland Kids

Did you know that the US will soon have its first climate change refugees? Lowland Kids outlines the life of residents living in Isle de Jean Charles, an island off the coast of Louisiana. Unfortunately, they are planned to be relocated as a community by 2022 due to environmental devastation: rising waters causing the town to become flooded.  

This short film by Sandra Winther focuses on the Brunets, the last two teenagers on Isle de Jean Charles, which has been their family home for generations. The film consists of beautiful shots from the island as well as one-to-one interviews, making the viewer empathise with their personal stories and how their life will change from now on. Overall, Lowland Kids is a poignant documentary about two teenagers desperate to remain in their home as well as the memories associated with a certain place where they cannot stay for any longer. It is undeniable the natural splendour of the island - captured using only available light- along with the intimacy of the stories is what makes Lowland Kids a moving short film that successfully puts human faces to the result of climate change. 

Lowland Kids had its world premiere in 2019 and went on to win several awards, you can stream it now for free on Vimeo. It is worth watching if you are looking for a climate change documentary about human condition rather than from a scientific point of view.

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2040

After the grand success of his 2014 documentary That Sugar Film that explores the hidden sugar in foods and its effect on the human body, Damon Gameau decided to investigate what the future could look like in 2040. However, a future where only practical solutions to environmental concerns were addressed. As he has stated himself, the film 2040 is a letter to his daughter showing already proven ways the environment could be taken care of better with available solutions worldwide. With the aim to educate viewers about original approaches to climate change, the film features innovative experts in many fields to draw on their expertise.  

This hopeful documentary focuses on five viable solutions, each covering a different industry and how it impacts the environment. Therefore, the film is divided into five sections: electricity, transportation, agriculture, water, and resources in general. What makes 2040 an outstanding educational feature is the fact that for each environmental problem that already exists, Gameau outlines an existing solution that needs to be amplified, rather than lecturing the viewer into theoretical solutions that have not yet been put into effect.  

For example, one of the key real-world innovations mentioned is the possibility to turn seaweed into salad. During the movie Gameau discusses the importance of seaweed, the fastest growing tree on the planet that also provides habitat for fish. Additionally, seaweed absorbs thousands of tons of carbon dioxide per square kilometre from the atmosphere and contributes to reducing the greenhouse effect.  

According to Gameau, the aim of 2040 is not to show what we cannot fight against, such as intensified weather, but what we can fight for with passion and determination to make the world a better place for the future, leaving an end with a hopeful message. 

You can stream 2040 by buying it on Apple iTunes, Google Play Movies, or downloading on YouTube. Additionally, you can create your own personalized action plan for 2040 on the website: https://whatsyour2040.com/ 

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WALL-E

WALL-E is a 2008 animated film that is both a source of entertainment for children as well as a description of the worst consequences consumer and materialistic culture in our society can cause. The film focuses on WALL-E, one of the last trash compactor robots left on planet Earth that falls in love with another robot, Eve, and their adventures together on a planet where there is no sign of life left. Despite there being hardly any dialogue, the animations undoubtedly capture each character's development. The surface message is clear: the need to discover a partner with whom to share life with. Although it might be initially labelled as a child film, WALL-E is a dystopian science-fiction film portraying a dying planet which is not so far away from our current reality. 

It would be unfair to not mention one of the key elements of this movie, the music. It becomes such a symbol to the story that the viewer gets captured in the most memorable moments such as when WALL-E sees the galaxy for the first time, giving its protagonist an emotional life which at times makes us forget it is a robot.  

In conclusion, WALL-E does a wonderful job of showing us how dark and dull our planet can end up if we do not take any action. There is something incredibly special about the way Stanton (film director) puts together a film that combines both a heart-warming romance between robots and at the same time leaves the viewer with a sense of loneliness as the human characters seem to have no humanity. If you are up for a magical experience, WALL-E is now streaming on Disney+. 

Wall E

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