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Guardians of the Earth - Film Review (Transitions Film Festival 2018)

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by Damsel Martin (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer, blogger and animal wrangler living in Brisbane's western suburbs. I love to eat, drink, travel, explore ... and then write about my adventures.
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Film shows struggle to save the planet a line at a time

The Paris Agreement aims to tackle one of the most significant global threats of our time - climate change - but up until now, few people have fully understood how it came about. The Guardians of the Earth documentary fills this gap by providing a behind-the-scenes look at how this ground-breaking agreement was negotiated.

After 21 years of failure in UN climate change negotiations, 20,000 negotiators representing 195 nations met in 2015 at a private airport in the north of Paris for a last attempt to save the planet. Opening (and closing) with wrong-headed quotes from Donald Trump, Guardians of the Earth reveals the backstage struggle towards the Paris Agreement as seen from the perspective of major players. The insights of unofficial narrator Saleemul Huq, a Bangladeshi scientist based in London who straddles both worlds, reveal how delicately balanced are these competing interests.

There is conflict and tension at every turn, much of it between fossil fuel exporting countries and the states most vulnerable to climate change. Hairs are split over language points - for example, rich countries are accused of preferring "should" over "shall" because the former is less prescriptive. Another bone of contention concerns whether the warming limit should be 2 or 1.5 degrees Celsius, with some delegates noting that if the earth warms beyond the less achievable lower limit, more than 30 countries will be endangered by rising sea levels.

Previously unreleased footage provides insight into the struggle between national self-interest versus solidarity. Not only does the fly-on-the-wall style Guardians of the Earth show what is at stake, but its narrative structure, counting down from '11 days left to reach agreement', impresses upon viewers the urgency involved. By the time negotiations are extended by another day, the strain is showing on delegates' faces, emotions are riding high, and protestors are being carried away by military police.

In the meantime, as sea levels rise, glaciers melt, heat waves persist, and droughts and super-typhoons become more frequent, Guardians of the Earth makes clear that the time to act is now. This isn't a film which will help you sleep well at night - which is exactly why you should watch it. Guardians of the Earth is screening as part of the Transitions Film Festival 2018.

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Why? Learn how the Paris Agreement was made
Your Comment
Looks good Damsel.
by May Cross (score: 3|8394) 1935 days ago
Interesting topic.
by Annette Vandersluis (score: 2|866) 1957 days ago
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