REVIEW: People say a lot of things about me that Im a brat, an idiot. But, for reasons, I dont understand, people all listen when I talk. I dont want that, I want you to listen to the science.
Yes, this three-part BBC documentary might be called Greta Thunberg: A Year to Change the World, but its not really an expose, or intimate look at the life of the worlds best known climate activist. If youre after that, go check out last years I Am Greta on DocPlay or iTunes.
Instead, this has more of a David Attenborough feel to it, the Swedish teen and her dad on a year-long sabbatical from traditional schooling, witnessing first-hand, examples of global warming, while accompanied by scientists from disciplines as diverse as marine biology and climate science.
They are the ones who lay out the doom-laden scenarios and shocking, horrifying statistics. Sea levels will rise by a metre by the end of the century, 90 per cent of the worlds coral reefs will die due to ocean acidification and five of the worst Californian fires on record happened during 2020.
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Greta and Svantes itinerary doesnt exactly follow the same path as British inter-generational travellers the Whitehalls or the Walshs. In the opening episode, there are visits to pine beetle infestations in Canadas Jasper National Park, a forlorn-looking Athabasca Glacier and what remains of the fire-ravaged Paradise, California.
The latter is a particularly sobering experience, especially when accompanied by the harrowing footage of residents trying to flee the fires in their cars. Then, President Trump blamed it on poor forest management, Greta (and almost everyone who lived through the experience) knows better.
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A Year to Change the World does a terrific job of presenting Greta Thunberg as wholly reasonable – not the shrill haranguer some politicians and conspiracy theorists would have you believe.
Aside from her clarion call that hope (of averting the worst effects of climate change) can only come through actions, A Year to Change the World also does a terrific job of presenting Thunberg as wholly reasonable not the shrill haranguer some politicians and conspiracy theorists would have you believe.
Im not an angry teen who shouts at leaders, she affirms, backed up by footage of her calmly, but resolutely reminding those in power of their responsibilities to the planet and their citizens.
This isnt opinions, or political views, she tells the relocated COP25 conference in Madrid, Spain, after regaling them of the crisis the Earth is facing, it is the current, best-available science.
She immediately follows that by lambasting global companies for their clever accounting and creative PR which is simply hiding the fact that nothing has been done towards reducing their impact on the environment.
Just getting to that conference proved to be an ordeal for Thunberg and her Pa. When it was shifted from Chile, they had to change their plans and quickly find a boat (flying was an environmentally unfriendly option she couldnt stomach) that could take them across the Atlantic.
Much of Paradise, California, including the local RV Park, was destroyed by forest fires in 2018.
As the series goes on to show, it was just the start of spanners in the works that would bedevil her 12-month project (Thunberg admits they only went to about one-quarter of the places originally planned). A series of events that would leave her wondering, how can I convince a world reeling from one crisis to fully tackle another?
Theres no doubt the current pandemic has added to the challenge of persuading people that there are even bigger problems facing our species and home, but this series, with its clear and cleverly told focus on the message, rather than the messenger (even one as charismatic as she clearly is), will certainly help.
Greta Thunberg: A Year to Change the World is now available to stream on TVNZ OnDemand.