SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Local church members gathered Thursday for a free screening of the climate change documentary “Paris to Pittsburgh,” discussing issues addressed in the film.
It was the third screening in a series hosted by the Green Team and Church & Society Team at Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church.
The Green Team works to engage the congregation and the wider public with issues about the environment and climate change, event organizers said.
The film, directed by National Geographic filmmaker Sidney Beaumont and documentarian Michael Bonfiglio, hones in on the issues triggered by climate change in the United States and across the globe. It also sheds light on what people are doing to take action in response to the signs of climate change in their own communities.
Event organizer Carol Anderson told News 3 that the screening is relevant to people in Savannah, a coastal community already showing signs of climate change impacts.
“It’s getting perilous, and we’ve got to do something,”Preston Hodges, screening attendee
“Being a coastal city, there are definitely issues with rising seawater, warmth of the temperature, invasive species of plants, insects and fish, and what’s happening to our marshes,” Anderson said. “Just one thing after another.”
Attendees shared their thoughts and opinions both during and after the screening — with at least one “Boo!” heard at the start of the documentary when Pres. Donald Trump appeared on the screen, declaring that he was elected to represent Pittsburgh, not Paris.
Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Agreement in 2017.
“Why are our leaders not asking the right questions? Why are our leaders not leading us on this issue?” said screening attendee Preston Hodges. “We’ve got too many people in positions of authority and influence that are what are popularly called ‘climate deniers,’ and this is ridiculous.”
“It’s getting perilous, and we’ve got to do something,” Hodges added.
Rev. Susan Karlson also attended the screening. She told News 3 that it was empowering to see the “Paris to Pittsburgh” documentary showing cities and states taking matters into their own hands, despite lack of support at the federal level during the Trump administration.
“The national government, in particular, is being so regressive about climate change and climate action, and the things that need to happen that our youth are leading the way on,” Karlson said.
“I mean, kudos to our youth because it’s really about them taking charge and us older adults supporting them,” she said.
Digital Reporter Ashley Williams attended the screening on Thursday and spoke with one of the documentary’s directors, filmmaker Sidney Beaumont, via Skype interview.
Beaumont told News 3 he feels people in faith-based communities are playing a crucial role in the effort to take action against climate change impacts.
“It just speaks to no matter what your political or religious or cultural affiliation is that people are experiencing and seeing the problems of climate change on the ground, and want to be involved in solutions,” Beaumont said.
“Building those communities in places where people can share their stories and engage in solutions, or what they think will help address the problem, are very important, be it the business community, be it in the faith community, be it in any other number of social circles, both on the local and state level.”
“There are great opportunities for finding community and engaging and finding like-minded people who are as concerned as you may be to try to bring about the change that we may need,” he said.
The “Paris to Pittsburgh” documentary is free to view online.