An award-winning documentary has captured the innovative ways farmers and others are trying to make the planet a greener, more sustainable place.
Winner of the 2016 César for best documentary, the French equivalent of an Oscar, Tomorrow charts a road trip in which co-directors Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent roam the globe in search of solutions to environmental problems.
Their journey takes them to Icelandic volcanoes, Indian slums and French farmlands, among other places, to tell the stories of ordinary people fighting climate change.
The decision to steer away from doomsday narratives — most recently seen in Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Before the Flood” — came from the realization that such an approach failed to spur people into action, Dion said.
“When we focus on catastrophe, and on things that raise fear, it triggers mechanisms in the brain of rejection, flight and fear,” the longtime environmental activist said in a phone interview ahead of the film’s U.S. release Friday.
The film begins in the United States, where two California professors discuss their milestone 2012 study concluding climate change may signal a new cycle of mass extinction.
Soon afterward, Dion and Laurent — a French actress known for her role in “Inglourious Basterds” — hit the road.
In Britain, they visit the market town of Todmorden where residents have seized public spaces to plant fruit, vegetables and herbs — which pedestrians are encouraged to pick.
In the French city of Lille, the CEO of an envelope company shows them how bamboo is grown in the factory’s wastewater to feed a wood boiler that powers the unit’s central heating.
And in Copenhagen, local planners explain how building a labyrinth of bike paths is part of efforts to become first carbon-free capital by 2025.
“We don’t make the cities to make the cars happy, to make the modernistic planners and architects happy,” Jan Gehl, a local architect and urban planner, says in the film. “We have to make the cities so that citizens can have a good life and a good time.”
Dion said he was confident the film would appeal to American viewers despite the many U.S. lawmakers who are skeptical about climate change and oppose regulation to combat it.
Since being sworn in January, President Donald Trump has taken several steps to undo climate change regulations put in place by the previous administration.
Trump also promised during his election campaign to pull the United States out of the global climate change pact reached in Paris in 2015.