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Damon Gameau

Neel Tamhane and Damon Gameau discuss sustainability in 2040

2040 (Damon Gameau, 2019)
Streaming through July 1, $12
Panel discussions June 26 - July 2, free with advance RSVP

Australian actor and filmmaker Damon Gameau has followed up his award-winning 2014 documentary, That Sugar Film, about the effects of sugar on the body, with 2040, in which he goes around the world not only to point out how our environment is rapidly deteriorating in numerous ways but also to do something about it, for the sake of his four-year-old daughter, his wife, and the rest of the planet. “I think we’re all pretty aware that when it comes to predictions of the future, they’re almost entirely negative at the moment,” he says near the start of the film. “Any time you open your news feed or social media, there’s some kind of doom and gloom story about the future of our environment. And as a father, I think there’s room for a different story, a story that focuses on the solutions to some of these problems. So my plan is to go out and find some of these solutions and then create a vision of a different future for our daughter. I want to show her what the world would look like if the solutions I find were implemented today. So what would the world look like in 2040 if we just embraced the best that already exists. That’s my only rule: Everything I show her in this 2040 has to exist today in some form. I can’t make it up.”

Gameau heads out to Bangladesh, Singapore, Sweden, America, the UK, and Tanzania, meeting with scientists, farmers, economists, and other experts to come up with answers to questions involving carbon dioxide, methane gas, solar and wind power, automobile traffic, fossil fuels, meat consumption, and other key issues. “It’s our generational challenge,” Doughnut Economics purveyor Kate Raworth explains. Gameau speaks with Neel Tamhane about self-sustaining energy microgrids, RethinkX cofounder Tony Seba about transportation, Colin Seis about regenerative farming, Dr. Brian von Herzen of the Climate Foundation about our use of water, Dr. Amanda Cahill about women, childbirth, and education for girls, and Eric Toensmeier and Paul Hawken of Project Drawdown about greenhouse gases. Gameau shifts between 2019 and 2040, when an older version of him, his wife, and his daughter reveal what the world might be like if we take action now. It all comes down to creating more than we consume, and Gameau makes the case that we can start immediately with what we already have.

Writer-director-producer-star Gameau is an engaging character, an instantly likable fellow with a lively sense of humor. He has fun with the media of film, using animation effects to turn his home into a place of climate disaster and depicting some of the people he talks with in miniature, putting them in fireplaces and atop wind turbines. He also lets children between the ages of six and eleven tell us what they think is wrong with the world and what they want for their future, and the result is as hysterically funny as it is smart and poignant, getting right to the point.

2040 is available for streaming through July 1; Gameau will be hosting a week of free panel discussions online (see the full schedule below), delving into specific issues brought up in the documentary with various experts, including some who appeared in the film. It’s time to do something, and I’m fine with Gameau leading the way. As one of the kids says near the end, “If people keep doing what they’re doing now, the world won’t be a very good place.”

Friday, June 26
US Premiere, with Damon Gameau, Paul Hawken, Kate Raworth, and Neel Tamhane discussing innovative solutions to the climate crisis, moderated by Kate Aronoff of The New Republic, free with advance RSVP, 7:30

Saturday, June 27
“From Drawdown to Regeneration: Meet the Researchers Behind Drawdown,” with Damon Gameau, Chad Frischmann, Mamta Mehra, Ryan Allard, moderated by Crystal Chissell, free with advance RSVP, 7:30

Sunday, June 28
“Regenerative Agriculture,” with Damon Gameau, Eric Toensmeier, and Portia Adomah Kuffuor, free with advance RSVP, 4:30

“Sustainable Travel,” with Damon Gameau, Darrell Wade, and Denaye Hinds, moderated by Ashley Renne, free with advance RSVP, 7:30

Monday, June 29
“Seaweed & Marine Regeneration,” with Damon Gamean, Brian von Herzen, Brad Ack, and Jo Kelly, free with advance RSVP, 7:30

Tuesday, June 30
“The Power of Youth Voices,” with Damon Gameau, Xiye Bastida, and Alexandra Berry, moderated by Annelise Bauer, free with advance RSVP, 7:30

Wednesday, July 1
“Climate Justice & Empowering Women,” with Damon Gameau, Mary Heglar, and Amy Westervel, free with advance RSVP, 7:30

Thursday July 2
“The Importance of Hope,” with Damon Gameau, Eric Holthaus, and Renee Lertzman, free with advance RSVP, 7:30

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