Telling a story of climate optimism

UK researchers Andrew Simms and Peter Newell recently shared their work on rapid social transformations in the publication How did we do that? When the digital platform BBC Ideas put out a call for short documentaries on climate change, Bill and Flo reached out to Andrew and Peter to explore adapting the publication. The end result is the video Can we transform the world in 12 years?

Starting with the stark warning from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that we only have 12 years to act to keep climate change within 1.5 degrees Celsius, the video explores a series of historic examples of rapid transitions:

  • The spread of railways in the 1800s, with 200 miles of track upgraded in a single weekend - inspiration for the rollout of new low carbon infrastructure.
  • The New Deal as a massive government investment in response to economic crash - inspiration for a Green New Deal.
  • Wartime mobilization in the UK - inspiration for collective action, even in times of danger and sacrifice.
  • Apollo Program and moon landing - inspiration for harnessing brain power and creativity to accomplish the impossible.
  • The 2010 volcanic eruption in Iceland that grounded flights across Europe - inspiration for how quickly people adapt to lower carbon lifestyles.

For more examples of rapid transitions, see the Rapid Transition Alliance. The video features animation of Sketchpad Studio and photos from Climate Visuals.

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