This Changes Everything – the film festival

This Changes Everything – the film festival

Date: 26 June 2015

If you open the cover of Naomi Klein’s ‘This Changes Everything’ and read the writing on the dust jacket, the first two sentences tell you the thesis of the book: ‘Forget everything you think you know about global warming. It’s not about carbon – it’s about capitalism.’ Over the following five hundred or so pages she backs up this claim by investigating climate sceptics, geoengineering enthusiasts, wealthy ‘environmental’ businessmen, trade deals and the and the global, diverse movement resisting extreme energy which she calls ‘Blockadia’. And her conclusion?  Klein says we can still avoid the worst of climate change “But the catch is that these also involve changing everything. For us high consumers, it involves changing how we live, how our economies function, even the stories we tell about our place on earth. The good news is that many of these changes are distinctly un-catastrophic. Many are downright exciting.”

It’s a book that has inspired many. In March there was a ‘This Changes Everything’ conference in London with speakers including Naomi Klein, Russell Brand, Natalie Bennett and Asad Reheman of Friends of the Earth.  Kirklees Campaign Against Climate Change wanted to do something and decided to put on a free film festival called ‘This Changes Everything’. This will be happening at the Red and Green Club in Milnsbridge, Huddersfield on Saturday 4th July (see times and location here)

We’re trying to do something a bit different to your average ‘green’ film festival. There will be films about fracking and tar sands, about banks financing coal projects and community energy projects. But in line with the thesis of the book there will also be films which are about challenging neo-liberal capitalism, protesting against austerity and celebrating the work of trade unions. We’ll be showing a number of films of protests produced by Reel News and ‘With Banners Held High’, a film made to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the end of the Miner’s Strike. Finally, we’ll be showing films which bring together these two worlds, such as the film made of the Campaign Against Climate Change’s One Million Climate Jobs pamphlet, whose third edition was released a few months ago, with the support of eight trade unions and which expresses ideas of a ‘just transition’ for workers to a low carbon economy.

We’re also very excited about where the festival is taking place – the Red and Green Club. This is an amazing venue. The old Milnsbridge Socialist Club closed down in 2013 after operating for 121 years. It was the oldest such club in in the country in which Christabel Pankhurst and Victor Grayson had spoken.   But a group of socialists, greens, trade unionists and community activists got together to resurrect it as the Red and Green.   Now, it’s a venue for films, music performances, poetry nights and political discussions. What could be a better venue for a film festival that tries to balance environmental and social justice?

The festival will run from 11am- 6pm with discussion slots and breaks throughout the day. For more information, see the full programme of films with timings on our website

For us, the ‘This Changes Everything’ film festival is not a stand-alone event – it’s a contribution to action. We’re hoping to bring people together, to provide information and motivation so that we can have more, and more effective, action on the issues we need to be working on. There is certainly plenty to do: fighting the TTIP deal, keeping fracking out of the UK, pushing for community energy, opposing austerity and supporting trade union struggles locally and nationally, past and present, to name but a few.

So, if you’re interested, do come along – we’d love to see you there. But equally important – if there are other groups who’d like to learn from our experience, or do something similar, do get in touch. If we can share our ideas and what we’ve learned from this experience, then that’s a contribution we’re keen to make. To get in touch, contact us on [email protected].

Tim Padmore has worked in education, the arts and campaigning. For the past seven years he has campaigned mainly through Kirklees Campaign Against Climate Change.