By John Blombach
How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change is a powerful, eye-popping documentary. Created by Emmy winning and Academy Award nominated director Josh Fox, it will make you think about nature and reconsider how you will live your life from here on out.
This was the second in a series of Monday night movie screenings at Worcester State University in the Ghosh building. Attended by an enthusiastic crowd of students, teachers, and thoughtful townspeople, these movie nights are concerned with critical environmental and climate change issues. The Earth, Environment and Physics department and 350 Central Mass sponsored the event.
The movie grabs the viewer with heart-wrenching detail right from the first few scenes. Fox describes the emotional pain and heartbreak that he experienced as a child growing up in northeastern Pennsylvania. A few big shots from the large oil and gas monopolies appeared in his small rural community throwing their influence around. They demanded to explore for oil and natural gas under his beloved Delaware River.
Fox recalls how his city won that battle but he soon discovered that a favorite tree had been killed off by an invasion of the Hemlock wooly adelgids. These bugs usually don’t survive the cold temperatures in the northern states. But global warming has created a new and welcoming habitat for these destructive creatures. After some extensive research, Fox discovers that it is too late to save the world from climate change and global warming; the damage is already done and isn’t reversible in time. He explains in vivid detail the intense destruction done by Hurricane Sandy and the unprecedented devastation to the Jersey Shore and downtown Manhattan. That 1991 Perfect Storm was the biggest cyclone ever to hit the East Coast.
“Wake up America” is the movie’s message. The atmosphere is four percent wetter than ever before. Oceans are 30 percent more acidic than at the start of the Industrial Revolution. A good portion of that is caused by runoff of waste by-products from raising food animals on factory farms. It is a different planet now, and if nothing changes within the next three to four years we will come to know the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” death, famine, war, and disease.
The movie slowly winds its way through the Amazon Rainforest, and on to the Islands of the South Pacific, finally sweeping into downtown Beijing where the despair and heartbreak replays like a broken record. Sadness is marked with joy and celebration each time there is any little progress made in the effort to conquer the climate crisis. Even so, fires, drought, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes are going to continue and we will likely lose 30 to 50 percent of the land on our planet. How do you say goodbye?
All those greenhouse gases floating in a sea of human regret. Where are we headed in human terms? Surviving at someone else’s expense? Materialism has not made us happy. There is no freedom on a planet with an unhealthy environment. Democracy is the environment you live in and at the end of the day freedom is meaningless if there is nothing but hopelessness and poverty.
We have a clear choice. Think out of the box for the good of humankind and yourself. The community is stronger than the storm. All we need is love.
What kinds of things can be done on a small scale to begin reversing global warming?
What kinds of things can the immediate community of Worcester State University do to begin making a change for the world?