It’s been 10 years since An Inconvenient Truth hit theaters, and now there’s a brand-new climate change documentary on the scene. Directed by Academy Award–winning filmmaker Charles Ferguson and narrated by Oscar Isaac, Time to Choose offers a measured yet hopeful update on humanity’s race against the clock.
The film captures the global scale of the climate crisis with beautifully shot footage and interviews from five continents. We witness the human cost of fossil fuel extraction through the tragic deaths of coal miners in China and Appalachia, watch Nigeria’s pristine delta ecosystem fouled by rivers of noxious petrochemical wastes, and see how industrial agriculture is driving an epidemic of deforestation in the Indonesian and Amazon rainforests.
But, as its title suggests, Time to Choose shows audiences that this environmental horror show is not the only option. Even with the gut-wrenching shots of orangutans losing their habitat to the demand for palm oil, the film strikes an overall optimistic tone by exploring the power of solutions already available.
In Curitiba, Brazil, lawmakers pioneered an affordable public-transportation system that cuts pollution and has since expanded to more than 180 cities around the world. Farmers are adopting new soil-enhancing techniques that save them money, reduce runoff, and absorb carbon. With the explosion in renewable energy, wind and solar are now cheaper than coal in many areas of the world. Countries like Denmark, Germany, and Portugal are closing in on going 100 percent renewable, and states like California are leading the charge to invest in technologies that will create millions of jobs and significantly improve public health.
Is it enough? Well . . . that’s up to us to decide. “Every day we are making the world more dangerous. We have to reverse that to where every day is safer than yesterday,” Nobel Peace Prize–winning economist Muhammad Yunus says in the film. “Life is about creativity. What kind of planet do you want to create?”
Time to Choose is now playing in theaters across the United States.
onEarth provides reporting and analysis about environmental science, policy, and culture. All opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of NRDC. Learn more or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.