Time to Choose: Charles Ferguson’s New Doc Asks Us to Make Good Choices
By Caitlin Zera June 9, 2016
Director Charles Ferguson of Inside Job fame returns with a film about climate change that encompasses both the problem and the solution. Described as “bleak but hopeful” his new documentary Time to Choose looks to confront denial – those who deny the existence of anthropogenic climate change as a problem and those who deny that solutions are still possible.
Time to Choose
Directed by Charles Ferguson
Runtime: 1 hour, 40 minutes, 2016
The film will screen on Sunday, April 15th, 2018 at 3:00pm as part of the St. Louis Earth Day film series in Chesterfield. More info here.
In 2010, director Charles Ferguson won an Oscar for Inside Job, a documentary about the role of corporations and political figures in the 2008 financial meltdown. That film received wide critical acclaim, with the Boston Globe writing it up as: “A masterpiece, scarier than anything Wes Craven or John Carpenter have ever made.”
Climate change, it turns out, is also scarier than anything Wes Craven or John Carpenter could have ever nightmared up (although one could argue that Carpenter’s film They Live speaks to the sort of widespread corporate mind-control that has led to the delay in public alarm about issues like climate change).
Ferguson is a director who likes to dissect problems, identifying the key players and tracing historical events that define crises. He wants to tackle complex issues, unraveling both the how and the why of contemporary crises like the financial meltdown and the war in Iraq. In Time to Choose he adopts a similar approach. However, the central question of Time to Choose seems to be whether we should talk at length about the problem of climate change or talk more about solutions. Have we forgotten all the possible solutions out there? several key interviewees wonder. Are we preoccupied with doom and gloom to the point of losing hope?
Audiences will appreciate the constellation of hopeful solutions presented in the film. Seeing the innovations in solar power and wind featured in the film will probably leave you feeling a little bit warm and fuzzy. There’s no denying that Time to Choose is another climate change documentary, sharing a lot of attributes with predecessors like An Inconvenient Truth. But Time to Choose comes at a time of increasing anxiety, political stalemate, and resistance to change. This makes Time to Choose especially relevant, and it’s clear that Ferguson is trying to reach an audience larger than just traditional environmentalists. Time to Choose is a great film for those just now approaching the issue of climate change, those who have just become aware but now feel overwhelmed. Time to Choose will give these audience members a good overview of the problem and possible solutions.
This period we have now entered, this period of increased anxiety, political stalemate, and resistance to change, is related to a lack of will to change our exploitative economic system, a system that exploits both humans and the environment. As the film suggests, it is time for us to choose a new path, a path devoid of fossil fuel, big agriculture, and pollutants. It’s time to build a path paved by equity, justice, and renewal.
But in our global society who gets to make the choices? Right now the ability to make big choices about our future lies with a small but formidable minority – those who wield economic power. The biggest and best choice we can make as a community is the choice to commit to a new economic system, not just new ways of generating energy or growing food within our current economy. We must choose to share renewable energy, sustainable food, and natural resources in a way that is cooperative and equitable.
As individuals, as voters and citizens, we have lots of small choices we can make that improve our quality of life and the health of the environment. As a community, we have many more choices. Choices that can have a bigger impact. Time to Choose makes it clear: we have to start right now.
The film will screen on Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 3:00pm in Chesterfield as part of the St. Louis Earth Day Film Series. More information here: https://stlouisearthday.org/festival/film-series/
Time to Choose screened Friday June 10, 2017 at 7:00pm at the Tivoli Theater with a panel discussion following the film. This event is co-sponsored by MCE, Labadie Environmental Organization, and Missouri Sierra Club. For more information: https://www.landmarktheatres.com/st-louis