Important week in climate change communication

This week had both the premiere of the Showtime’s Years of Dangerous Living and the delivery of the IPCC latest report.

Did you watch Years of Dangerous Living? I am hopefully skeptical about the power of documentaries to move people to action. I don’t have Showtime (or cable TV), but I watched the first episode for free on YouTube. It is well worth the time, even for people who are already aware of climate change impacts. The production values are high and the very personal approach to the stories is quite moving. The celebrities involved in the first episode, Harrison Ford, Don Cheadle and journalist Tom Friedman were very appealing.  I hope the series gets released to Netflix or some other similar service soon after its broadcast so I can see the rest (PBS on demand?)

Ultimately, will we see an increased awareness of climate change or the golden ring of behavior change from this documentary series? I think that every repeated message counts a little, but that actual experiences, rather than virtual ones, are needed for to actually raise awareness or achieve  some behavior change.

The IPCC report has generated quite a few news stories (for example Science Guardian, USA Today). Like the film, the report will enter the public consciousness of some folks and be an important reference point, but I don’t think we will see immediate results of all that hard work. It took civilization a long time to get to this point, let’s hope we can be more agile in looking toward the future.


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