Weathering Change

Weathering Change is a new film from Population Action International that shows how women’s health and welfare in the developing world is disproportionately affected by climate change. The film follows women in Ethiopia, Nepal and Peru as they struggle to care for their families while enduring crop failures and water scarcity.

The full 13 minute micro-documentary is well worth your time. It provides an important call to action on global climate change and also global population issues like providing family planning options to women who want to space and time their pregnancies. Watch!

At PSI IMPACT Magazine, for which I write, editor Mandy McAnally sat down with filmmakers Nathan Golon and Michael Khoo to discuss what they hoped audience members would get out of the film. Here’s an excerpt of the interview:

MM:What are the main messages you want audiences to walk away with?

NG: Well, the main message that I walked away with after working on this project is that climate change isn’t theoretical; it’s something that people are dealing with. While we debate and have conversations about climate change, there are a lot of people on this planet right now who are having to face the reality of it, and it’s significantly changing their lives.

MK: The line that Nathan liked most from all filming and that ended up being the final line was by Aragash, the woman interviewed in Ethiopia. She says, “Life is hard for a woman; climate change is making it harder.” And that really became the whole coalescing purpose of the film. Although women are making some progress at some levels, climate change threatens to stop all that progress.

MM:How do you make delicately the link to climate change and population, since it is a sensitive connection to make?

NG: Before we turned the camera on, we talked to the women about the issues that were affecting their lives. Climate was one of them, education was one of them, obviously poverty was one of them, and they also talked openly about family planning. Like you said, it is a delicate subject in some places, but we didn’t find that at all. These women were very open about family planning. In fact when we found Aragash and Radhika, we thought they were really great women to tell the story because they’re so passionate, open and sincere. Later, we found out they provided education about family planning as volunteers.

MK: And family planning is one of the critical tools for women’s empowerment, which is broadly what the film is about – how the empowerment of women is being threatened by climate. They’re policy connections if you break it down to those of us doing lobbying on U.S. government policy. For these women, it’s just a very direct, visceral, daily connection on what it takes to empower them so that they can take care of their families, which is something that everybody can agree on.

Check out the rest of the interview.