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The Green Life: Movie Review Friday: Climate Refugees

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November 05, 2010

Movie Review Friday: Climate Refugees

Escape to the movies with one of our Movie Review Friday selections. Each week we review a film with an environmental theme that's currently in theaters or available on DVD. Seen a good eco-flick lately? Send us a short review and look for it in the next Movie Review Friday.

Climate Refugees (2010)

Coming soon to DVD, or attend a screening

Gone are the days of questioning whether global warming is happening. The more urgent question these days is: What are we doing for those struggling with its effects?

Climate Refugees is a documentary that looks into the stories of people at risk of being displaced because of either too much or too little water. Filmmaker Michael Nash alternates between footage of hurricanes and floods, interviewing locals, researchers, and politicians from Lester Brown to Newt Gingrich.

Like a storm chaser, Nash takes us to the places most critically threatened. We see Tuvalu, a nation of thin islands that’s expected to be fully submerged within 10 years. There, we meet an elder who wonders about her future, knowing she’s too old for jobs in neighboring countries. In Bangladesh, where a three-foot rise in sea level would take out 40% of the country’s rice fields, a boy pleads for America’s help. Back in the U.S., we're reminded that with so many who fled New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, we have climate refugees here too.

Who takes them in? What kinds of security threats do we face when they become desperate? Skirting the edges of being alarmist, this film raises more questions than it offers solutions. The few ideas that do sift to the top involve granting these victims the same protection afforded political or religious refugees, and switching to solar and wind energy. The scope of the issue can leave the viewer weary — but likely eager to share the movie's message.

--Alison Brick

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