It’s just one month into 2017, and for many, that means they have just launched their New Year’s resolutions. The gym is still crowded, your refrigerator is still full of healthy food, but that initial motivation may not be as high as it was on, say, January 2. So, it’s time to find new sources of motivation and even inspiration for keeping that New Year’s resolution. One place to find that inspiration is the Film4Climate competition. If you’re trying to find a reason to persevere through whatever new challenges you are finding, look no further than the winners of this competition. All these films put things in a unique perspective.
First-place winner ‘Three Seconds’
A good place to start is the first-place winner of the short film competition, ‘Three Seconds,' created by Spencer Sharp and Prince Ea from the United States. ‘Three Seconds’ is all about putting things into perspective. It’s an incredible four minutes and fifteen seconds of making you realize how quick your own time on the planet is, but also highlighting how much damage humans have done in such a short time. The title ‘Three Seconds’ alludes to how much time humans have spent on the planet if you were to assume the entire history of the planet were one day. It’s a mind-blowing fact. Then the movie highlights the damage humans alone have caused in just those three seconds by polluting, wasting and deforesting, which really puts human impacts in a whole new perspective. It’s not a doomsday film, though. The film delivers when it comes to highlighting the benefits of a single action from a single person. It’s hard not to feel like you can make a difference after watching this film. So, before you pick the couch over the treadmill, look at this film, and then head on over to the gym. Together, we can tackle climate change.
‘The Snow Guardian'
Billy Barr has lived in an eight foot-by-ten foot shack in the woods near Gunnison, Colorado, for 40 years. For every winter during that period, Billy has tracked the snowfall twice a day. He stuck to his plan and ended up recording some incredibly valuable and worrisome trends. ‘The Snow Guardian,' which won a second-place award, is the story not just of a lovable Colorado man in the woods; it’s the story of what’s happening in our backyards and an examination of the value of sticking to commitments. Billy stuck to his commitment every winter day for forty years. Surely after seeing his story, you can make it another day without junk food spreading your carbon footprint.
‘Love Note to an Island’
If your resolution was to reach out to a loved one you lost touch with, an old flame still burning, or finally take that trip back home, then ‘Love Note to an Island,' by Lule DeBoer of Kiribati is for you. In five minutes, this short film tells the story of a woman born on the Pacific Island Kiribati who finds herself living in the oil country of Texas. She yearns for her home, which is quickly vanishing into the Pacific Ocean due to climate-driven raises in the sea level. The film is a letter to the many loves she fears she may never again know. For anyone in a situation wondering whether they should go for it, this one may help you decide—like, make that decision to put solar panels on your roof.
‘Plastic Pollution, Our Oceans, Our Future’
Maybe you haven’t figured out what your New Year’s resolution will be yet. Maybe this is the year you try to make a big difference in the world. But you’re overwhelmed with where to start, and time is already flying by. ‘Plastic Pollution, Our Oceans, Our Future’ by Christopher Hanson of the United States shows us that big changes often start right in our communities. This film examines the Styrofoam crisis in Hawaii, which leads the US by far in Styrofoam usage. This is a big problem for an island state, and the film goes to great lengths to show how pollution in the Pacific Ocean is causing devastating repercussions for animals and the planet. The film also goes to great lengths to show how actions at the local level, with school lunches and other programs, can shift habits and make a real difference in the world. The film is presented by young leaders, which reminds us that climate action helps our children’s generation.
‘Pakkaspoika (Polar Boy)’
Making improvements, whether for a New Year’s resolution or some random day any other time of the year, comes with plenty of benefits, many of which impact others. The third-place winner for the best short film is ‘Pakkaspoika,' meaning ‘Polar Boy’ in Finnish. It’s the touching story of young people taking action on climate change before Christmas because they feel their parents haven’t done enough. The film is touching and revealing; there’s something about this creation of Karim Shahid and Alli Walden that gives watchers the inspiration to go out and make a difference. Maybe it’s the humor.
Of course, these films are just a handful of the 864 videos from 155 countries that were submitted to the F4C video contest. In fact, these films are only five of the winners. There is also the winner for best PSA (Public Service Announcement), Price on Carbon Pollution Award, MENA Award, People’s Choice Award and Connect4Climate Special Awards. Like the films above, they provide plenty of inspiration to take action, improve your world and the world around you, and make this year a new year. Together, we can solve climate change.
The Film4Climate competition is an inspiring effort by more than 80 partners, led by the Connect4Climate program of the World Bank Group, to bring stimulating stories through film to COP22 and into 2017. Make your resolutions count, become advocates for climate action and advance solutions.