Home sweat home

That most controversial of issues – climate change – has its supporters and detractors fervently vying to prove or refute their claims.

Against such a background, it is hard to raise awareness and put across a constructive and accessible message without being accused of propaganda. We are certainly not used to ‘promoting’ science. In fact, this is not a question of misleading advertising but of a hypothesis (the basis of all scientific thinking) that will in all likelihood affect humankind as a whole! What is so offensive about seeking to raise people’s awareness of the fate of their own environment? And what is so idealistic about believing that opposition to change can be replaced with personal involvement, however small?

Two committed campaigners have used their reputations to convey their message to a wider audience. One is a politician who commandeered the cinematic form with a film entitled An Inconvenient Truth. Al Gore’s film preaches from the pulpit, with demonstrations and clear explanations based on the results of scientific studies.

The other is an artist who is trying to inform politicians with his film Home, a roadmap that places the emphasis on images, some sublime and others terrifying.

Critics may well take offence at the tone, form, sources, intentions, motives, or intuitive and preventive nature of the films and even label them as alarmist… But with all their imperfections, their two messages bring us face to face with the reality of our planet, arousing uncomfortable feelings of guilt, disquiet, confusion and powerlessness. They also prompt us to become more involved. Isn’t that a small victory, at a time when a chill has been cast over Copenhagen climate debate?

France Fillon,
Assistant, European Commission.