As Hurricane Florence begins battering the East Coast in what will certainly prove to be a historical weather event, it seemed somewhat fitting if not ironic that I spent Wednesday evening attending my first Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) outreach event.
Our local chapter partnered with York College (where I graduated from in 2009) to co-sponsor a showing of the documentary Chasing Coral. I had watched the film in the past on Netflix as well as Chasing Ice. The visuals of the movie are stunning with an array of colors and up close views of coral reefs most of us can only dream about seeing in person. The technology tweaks needed for the underwater cameras show how innovate people can be when challenges arise. The struggles of the filming and diving team members both logistically and personally pull at your emotions. The transformation of beautiful, living coral to bleached white graveyards is sobering.
The documentary drives home the point that climate change is affecting all areas of the Earth, even those that don’t regularly cross our minds like under the sea. It stresses the urgency of finding solutions to combat climate change without “the world is ending” paranoia. It is not a documentary that one could watch and then simply go about his or her day without thinking about what was just viewed.
I joined Citizens Climate Lobby about a year and a half ago after viewing a film at York College and realizing I had to do more than just educate myself about climate change. I had to try to be part of a solution. In a similar situation I was approached by a young college student after the documentary thanking us for hosting the event. She couldn’t believe what was happening the oceans and how much she didn’t know about it. She said she was going to tell her whole class the next day that they need to watch the film. The effect Chasing Coral had on her was so profound and in her I saw myself – someone who received a “wake up call” and was changed. I provided her with information about CCL from our event table and encouraged her to call in on a Wednesday evening for the organization’s introduction call.
There were roughly 50 people in attendance for the event including members of our CCL chapter. A few asked questions following the documentary, but I know many students were there likely as part of a class requirement. If just that one girl now feels compelled to help tackle climate change though then I will say that our evening was a success.
Have you seen Chasing Coral? Is climate change an issue of concern for you?