Global Warming Film Brings Moral Message to U.S. Audiences

GWLThe Great Warming, a feature-length film documenting the effects of climate change on individuals and communities across the globe, will be released in U.S. theaters on November 4. Adapted from Lydia Dotto’s book Storm Warning: Gambling with the Climate of our Planet, the film depicts global warming as a moral issue that most adversely affects the poor and future generations. The 82-minute production, narrated by singer Alanis Morissette and actor Keanu Reeves, explores the dangers of climate change—including stronger, more frequent storms and the spread of disease—but also presents solutions, such as environmentally sound buildings and the use of renewable energy sources.

The original three-part television series, The Great Warming, premiered in Canada and has been translated into seven languages and sold in as many countries. It was adapted into a feature film for the American public only recently, when it took on its more ethics-oriented perspective. According to producer Karen Coshof, her husband (director and co-writer Michael Taylor) had alerted her to the widespread attention the Evangelical community was receiving in the American media. As Coshof began to understand the importance of involving the public in the fight against global warming, she realized that faith communities in particular could be “important initiators of change.”

After speaking with a variety of religious leaders who have taken a moral stand against global warming, Coshof began reframing her production. One interviewee, Reverend Gerald L. Durley, a pastor at Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, became a “convert” to the climate change issue after seeing an earlier version of the film. He became such an impassioned, outspoken supporter of the anti-global warming movement that Coshof was inspired to include footage of him in her most recent adaptation.

By framing climate change as an ethical issue, Coshof feels the film has a unique capacity to reach a population that so far has not made addressing climate change a priority. Backed by a coalition of religious and environmental leaders that will screen the production in churches and other houses of worship, The Great Warming is expected to reach many people who chose not to see Al Gore’s recent movie An Inconvenient Truth, which is also about global warming. Coshof hopes her film will inspire this untapped group to take action to fight “the most critical environmental issue of the 21st century.”

Although Coshof knows the first step must be to spread the film’s message, she affirms that “action is the only thing that matters to me.” She hopes viewers will be motivated to alter their lifestyles—in both small and large ways—to help save the planet. The film’s website includes a “Call to Action” where citizens are encouraged to add their name to a list of supporters, as well as a tips suggesting how “one person” can make a difference. Recommendations include using energy-efficient lightbulbs, installing storm windows, and keeping vehicles well maintained. The website also encourages viewers to “adopt a theater” to make the film available to more people.


This story was produced by Eye on Earth, a joint project of the Worldwatch Institute and the blue moon fund. View the complete archive of Eye on Earth stories, or contact Staff Writer Alana Herro at aherro [AT] worldwatch [DOT] org with your questions, comments, and story ideas.