As part of Human Impacts Institute’s 10 Days of Climate Action 2013, a Climate Film and Theatre Festival took place in Manhattan that screened movies and put on plays commenting on climate issues. In the words of Human Impacts Institute’s Founder and Executive Director, Tara DePorte, the New York premiere of Don’t be Sad, Flying Ace! was like “a combination between Snoopy and Life of Pi.” In the film, a lone dog’s quest to make sure everyone in his community was safe before being washed out to sea himself culminated in a visit from his favorite alter-ego, the Flying Ace! A story within a story, the play was of the sort to be entertaining to all ages and simultaneously send a message about the seriousness of increasingly frequent severe weather patterns. It was certainly the highlight of the evening.
The show was preceded by a Climate Social Hour, where members of the HII Crew and the Organizing for Action - NYC Climate Team networked with members of different volunteer groups and the general public to answer questions about other 10 Days of Climate Action events and what the groups and artists were all about. A few people even signed up to adopt a tree through the Million Trees NYC Program.
After the Climate Hour and Don’t be Sad, Flying Ace!, Tara screened six short films, all with a climate-related message and distinct methods of communicating it. From street art about tree-appreciation in Australia to a comedy clip about naming hurricanes after climate-change-denying politicians instead of regular people (ie. Hurricane Michele Bachman, Hurricane Marco Rubio instead of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, etc.), each clip was a unique take on methods to elicit reactions from audiences. It’s especially important to appeal to people’s emotional side when discussing issues such as climate change, since spouting facts has not been shown to be very effective in climate discussions. Laughing about hurricanes named after senators and hugging trees with skirts on them seems to be a much better strategy to engage the public’s interest and reach a broader audience.
Rose Bowen, Environmental Leadership Intern