This Saturday our beloved Hyde Park Picture House hosted the Labour MP for North Leeds Alex Sobel to introduce 2040, the hopeful new documentary by award winning director (That Sugar Film) and concerned father Damon Gameau.
The documentary is a far cry from the normal discourse around our planet’s future of eco doom and gloom. 2040 is a ray of hope amidst the flashes of scorched forests and freak floods that erode any optimism we might have about our capacity to diminish the effects of man-made global warming.
Damon was due to host a screening of 2040 in parliament this year but the event was cancelled due to the general election. This reasoning is both unfortunate and ironic considering a lot of political unrest is centralised on the government’s reluctance to explicitly address the need to reduce our carbon emissions. Alex Sobel made it very clear that he hadn’t come as a politician making an ‘appearance’ to promote his campaign, but as a fellow concerned citizen who is using his position to try and make sure Damon’s vision isn’t one of optimistic fiction but something that can be realised.
Sobel is a member of Parliament’s ‘Environmental Audit Committee’ and ‘Leeds Climate Commission’, an initiative that began in 2017 to help Leeds make better decisions concerning areas like energy. Sobel mentioned meeting Earth ambassadors David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg earlier this year, and encourages us to view Damon in their ranks, another individual inspiring the masses to join together and sustain a home “habitable for humans and animals for many generations, decades and millenia to come”. After all, it is a “collective home we are renting from other generations”.
The documentary opens and closes with a pure and familiar image of a family in the garden as Damon and his wife help their young daughter to plant a tree – a symbol of hope for the so called ‘Re-Generation’ she will be a part of. His daughter Velvet is the temporal symbol throughout the film, as we see a future her living in eco-cities and planting her coffee cups made from seeds into compost beds around her local park. Damon also includes snippets of a myriad of children from all around the world as they voice their hopes for the future, from “rocket boots” that reduce vehicular pollution to “deforestation being stopped”.
We’re transported between 2019 and 2040, teased with visual snippets of a seemingly elusive world not too dissimilar from our own, just a lot greener and much more appealing. However, instead of dropping us back into a 2019 teaming with catastrophe and climate crisis, Damon invites us into pockets of hope situated worldwide. The reason this documentary doesn’t seem as far-fetched as one might assume is because everything Damon focuses on to revive and regenerate our planet is done through embracing “the best that already exists”, something he calls “fact based dreaming”.
From regenerative farming practices like pulling carbon back into the soil, or marine permaculture that revives ecosystems whilst reducing the carbon in the air, there is so much we can be doing right now to change the course of the climate. The five million solar homes in Bangladesh that create a decentralised micro-grid assure all of the profit stays within the community, clearly conveying how we don’t have to suffer economically to cultivare conscious communities and live a greener life.
The sobering reality is that, if we manage to reach net zero carbon by 2040, Earth could be this ecotopia full of regenerative green solutions. However, if we don’t we’re on course for a scorched and uninhabitable planet plagued by natural disasters and mass extinctions. We’re in an incredibly critical time right now, especially as the general election this Thursday brings about our last chance to have our say in the government of our country, and thus the environmental measures they will undertake to make one of these 2040s our reality.
Personally, I choose to share Damon’s vision because he’s proved that it’s not only possible, but that the alternative is just not worth humouring. By removing our capitalist and self indulgent daily practices and replacing them with sustainable alternatives, we can enrich both our lives and our environment whilst restoring the damage we have done to the natural utopia we take for granted every single day. As our Aussie visionary puts it, “good on ya nature”.
2040 is showing this Wednesday (11/12/19) at The Hyde Park Picture House @ 11am
To find out more visit: https://whatsyour2040.com/