America may be on the verge of more war, but a consensus of the scientific community and activists would like to remind you that there could be another equally complex, lingering threat to our security: changing climate.
Disruption, a free, 51-minute documentary released online
Sept. 7, serves as a call to action to all would-be activists looking to take a stand on the issues of environmental justice. In a classroom auditorium at the University of Texas-Pan American, the Environmental Awareness Club and Environmental Studies Minor Committee joined other organizations nationwide, as they co-hosted a screening on Sept. 15.
“Everyone was really excited,” said Katie Lavallee, co-president of the EAC.
The film paints current weather patterns as the result of a manmade, changing Earth, while showing volunteers and organizers preparing for the People’s Climate March on Sept. 21. On the eve of the 2014 U.N. Climate Summit in New York City, in which 120 Heads of State will attend, citizens will take to the streets around the world in what the group’s website describes as “the largest climate march in history,” voicing their support for less carbon-favored policies. The main march is concentrated in New York City, but community protests are scheduled in countless communities.
Alexis Bay, a 2013 recipient of a Bill Archer Fellowship, is helping organize the McAllen march, which will start at McAllen City Hall, proceed north on Main Street and end with a community gathering at Archer Park.
During her time in Washington, D.C. as an Archer Fellow, Bay interned with the Sierra Club working specifically on the Beyond Oil
Bay applauds the environmental mindedness of some larger cities in Texas, like Austin, and understands why locals might want to migrate there, but she echoes the ideology held by the larger movement.
“The thing about here in the Valley, the big groups want frontline communities to really speak out,” Bay said. “For a long time, the environmental movement was not represented of all the groups who are affected and impacted by what was happening to the planet.”
Frontline communities are areas being immediately impacted by climate change or an environmental issue, according to Bay.
She hopes to use her national advocacy experience for supporting environmental justice and existence of green space in the Rio Grande Valley.
“Anything that has been done through the social justice sphere has been done through communities coming together and letting their voices be heard,” Bay said. “Sometimes it’s not just a letter, an angry Tweet or angry Facebook status; sometimes you have to literally make a banner or a sign and go out there with a group of people that feel the same way you do.”
To Bay, this event is an opportunity to galvanize those who may share a concern for the future of their planet’s human habitability.
Bay calls on her fellow Valleyites to “… march and chant and let your voices be heard … (because) sometimes you have to make a little bit of noise to be heard.”
Lynn Vincentnathan, UTPA professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and supporter of campus environmentally-friendly initiatives, has been on a personal crusade to alleviate her carbon footprint since the ‘70s.
She’s purposely chosen to always live close to where she’s worked and around 1990, she got more serious about her concern for the climate, she said.
“They should do something about it,” Vincentnathan said. “Then, all of a sudden, I realized I was part of the problem. I have to do something about it.”
She started off slowly with changing light bulbs, insulating her water heater and switching to a low-flow shower head. She would go on to purchase an electric vehicle and install solar panels.
“We have decreased our greenhouse emissions by 60 percent, without decreasing our standard of living,” she said. Vincentnathan sees her personal activism as an investment, not just in the preservation of resources, but of her own finances.
“I don’t understand why middle class people aren’t jumping on the solar bandwagon,” Vincentnathan said. “We’re saving $1,000 a year on our energy bill.”
Bay also sees the economic potential in the adjustment of her community’s current habitats.
“Down here, we’re all about growth,” Bay said. “There is so much opportunity for green jobs.”
Grainy spots and broken radio transitions open the feature. Archived footage of Apollo 8, the first manned mission to orbit the Moon, shakes on the screen, the Earth rising over the lunar surface.
“The vast loneliness up here of the Moon is awe inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth,” said Jim Lovell, American astronaut in a 1968 Christmas Eve broadcast. “The Earth from here is a grand oasis to the big vastness of space.”
Stark white sentences hang on black, the words frozen in front an ominous track of sound:
“We no longer live on that Earth … the world hasn’t ended … but the world as we know it has.”
The movie cuts into what can only be described as a barrage of video evidence chronicling communities affected by near-recent severe weather events including floods, high winds and droughts.
Environmental buzzwords pepper the narration by famous media personalities delivering some days’ bad news and as the score swells, “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” The audio from President Barack Obama’s 2013 Inaugural Address is over a landscape of burnt earth.
A polluted wasteland of trash cuts to an aerial view of a densely populated city square and then to a nondescript intersection of an elaborate highway system; roads circling and intertwined.
There is no nice way to talk about the idea of climate change. True believers of the issue come to the realization that life on Earth is in jeopardy and that’s a serious accusation that would require action.
This is the objective of Kelly Nyks and Jared P. Scott, co-producer and co-director team.
Unlike conventional commercial releases fixated with box-office or on-demand gross, the filmmakers’ free-to-stream approach is banking on gaining human capital. This film is meant to act as a catalyst to the global event, the People’s Climate March happening next week.
Focusing on the disproportionate human cost of global climate change, Disruption humanizes the cause and presents it with urgency.
Did I mention that it’s free online to download or stream?