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Place Film at the Centre of the Fight Against Climate Change

The Climate Change Act of 2016 requires that climate change issues be mainstreamed and integrated into various sectors of both national and county governments, with active involvement from community members.

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By Nzola Miranda

As the world marks the Word Environment Day today, it is important to note that in recent months, Kenya has faced two extreme climate events – devastating droughts and deadly floods – severely impacting its citizens. At the beginning of the year, Kenyans were praying for rain.

Now, we are praying for the rain to stop to prevent further loss of lives from the ravaging floods affecting over 30 counties.

As the floods transform residential areas and farms into small lakes, social media has been abuzz with blame games. Many are criticizing both the national and county governments for their inadequate response to mitigate the impact of the floods.

Unlike other societal challenges that may only require government interventions to restore normalcy, climate change is a global issue that demands a multifaceted approach to overcome its impacts and identify the opportunities it presents.

This means the fight against climate change cannot be left to a specific ministry or governors alone – it requires collective effort from everyone. Climate change is a complex phenomenon with various implications at all levels, necessitating action from multiple fronts. Each of us, in our individual capacities, along with every industry, government department, corporate entity, and business, has a role to play in mitigating the impacts of climate change.

The Climate Change Act of 2016 requires that climate change issues be mainstreamed and integrated into various sectors of both national and county governments, with active involvement from community members. This collaborative approach is necessary because the Ministry of Environment or governors alone cannot tackle these challenges effectively.

The film industry, like other sectors, plays a significant role in creating awareness and driving action about climate change mitigation and adaptation. However, it seems to be pushed to the periphery.

Kenya’s National Adaptation Plan 2015-2030, for instance, recognizes the role of the media in addressing climate change impacts by providing vital information during emergencies – from warning about imminent floods to explaining how to handle disease outbreaks. The plan acknowledges that journalism is a form of adaptation because accurate, timely, and relevant information is a critical component of resilience.

However, the plan tends to limit the media’s role to news pieces, overlooking the potential of film and movies.

Films play a crucial role, from educating children about climate change to altering viewers’ perceptions, increasing awareness, concern, and motivation. Studies have shown that climate-related content, through plot points, narratives, character traits, and non-verbal actions, can influence audiences’ behavioral factors and intentions to act in an environmentally friendly way. Films have the power to make climate change action socially desirable, reinforce attitudes, and increase consistency in pro-environmental behavior.

Film scripts wield immense power to evoke emotions to induce attitudinal and behavioral changes. Researches has found that instances of low-carbon choices are significantly influenced by viewing emotive or informational film clips, with emotion-based interventions having the strongest effect.

Climate change films such as ‘Don’t Look Up’, ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’,’Before the Flood’, ‘Eating Our Way to Extinction’ and ‘he Day After Tomorrow’ among others are doing well on the global stage.

Incorporating climate change themes into mainstream films can drive public discourse and action. Documentaries, dramas, and even animated films can highlight the urgency of climate action and showcase practical solutions. For instance, a film depicting a community’s resilience and adaptation strategies in the face of climate change can inspire audiences to adopt similar measures.

Partnerships between filmmakers, environmental organizations, and educational institutions can amplify the impact of climate-themed films. Such collaborations can ensure that films are not only entertaining but also scientifically accurate and educational.

The film industry should be at the forefront of the fight against climate change. By harnessing the power of storytelling, filmmakers can raise awareness, influence attitudes, and inspire action. It is imperative that climate change is not only addressed in news reports but also depicted vividly in films that reach and move a broad audience. This way, the film industry can contribute significantly to the global effort to combat climate change and promote sustainable practices.

The writer is the Managing Director at MultiChoice Kenya.

Read: Duncan Kobetbet: Hotel Watchman Who Owns Multimillion Security Firm

>>> Kenya, France Co-chair International Tax Task Force For New Climate Financing Pact

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