Hoping to spark inspiration and social progress, Joe Gantz's documentary The Race to Save the World shares an intimate glimpse into the lives of everyday activists between the ages of 15 and 72 years old, as they immerse themselves in the fight against climate change.
With the urgency to push for a more sustainable and cleaner future, Gantz draws upon real-life stories which include first-person accounts of protests, arrests, and more, as a call to action to help trigger greater social movement
Green Matters spoke exclusively with Gantz via email, regarding the Emmy-winning producer's climate change documentary — check out the Q&A below.
(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Director Joe Gantz hopes to spark positive climate change in his documentary 'The Race to Save the World.'
GREEN MATTERS: What inspired you to make The Race to Save the World?
JOE GANTZ: I felt that many documentary films about climate change were focused on telling people how bad things are and how much worse they are going to get. Those films, although entirely accurate, are often so overwhelming and depressing that people end up tuning the information out in order to be able to go about their lives.
I wanted to make a film that is energizing people to get off the sidelines and get involved. To do that I followed people, ordinary people, who see the effects of climate change and who are moved to get in the trenches and take action. ... The Race to Save the World is an uplifting film that shows that everyone is needed and everyone can contribute in this fight for a livable future.
GM: What was the most interesting or surprising piece of information you discovered during the process of making the film?
JG: The subjects in The Race to Save the World are not able to close their eyes to what’s happening. I spent years finding people who are putting their lives on the line to help save the people, plants, animals, and ecosystems for future generations.
A survey of people 16 to 25 in 10 countries published in The Lancet found that three-quarters were frightened of the future. ...Yet with our survival at risk from climate change, many people think that there is nothing that one person can do about this crisis.
The difference between the people in The Race to Save the World and most people in this country, is that these activists are taking action. Our leaders are not leaders, they are in the pocket of the corporations. And until people get into the streets and demand that we stop using fossil fuels, we will be drowned in meaningless promises that condemn us to a future that is not liveable for our children and grandchildren.
GM: What message do you hope viewers take away from the film?
JG: The news about climate change is so frightening that it can be paralyzing. But getting involved, making your voice heard, and taking to the streets, is what we all need to do if we want to have a chance to turn this nightmare around. The oligarchs in the United States run the country, like the oligarchs do around the world. But when huge numbers of people get off the sidelines and demand change, the people in power see that their power is fragile.
With so much at stake we need to show our solidarity. I hope that watching the subjects in The Race to Save the World will inspire folks to understand that the difference between tuning climate change out and jumping into this fight, is just believing you can make a difference and taking that first step.
The Race to Save the World is now available on VOD.