That DNC Climate Change Video Wasn’t Bad — But It Wasn’t Perfect

The Democratic National Convention premiered a short video on climate change last night. Hollywood’s James Cameron and Maria Wilhelm, who co-produced the Showtime series “Years of Living Dangerously,” which examined climate change’s impacts on individuals around the world, directed the roughly five-minute thriller dubbed “Not Reality TV” — throwing some serious shade at Donald Trump.

The video builds on his climate denial to cheer on Hillary Clinton’s climate change proposals, including making “America the world’s clean energy superpower.” It also includes celebrities like America Ferrera and Don Cheadle.

One can never go wrong if featuring Ferrera, but that’s not all the video got right. Still, like most things, the video isn’t perfect. Colorlines has the rundown on where “Not Reality TV” scored — and where it missed.

The good

Did y’all see all the people of color in the video? While you absolutely should not look at someone and assume their race or ethnicity, I spotted at least 10 definite people of color. (With some people, there’s no denying.) Many of them were kids. And as we know, today’s children will have to face the real severities from climate change. It’s usually tough to spot people of color in anything relating to climate change or the environment: stories, videos, protests, organizations. You get the gist.

The bad

In a video that’s a little over five minutes, 10 people are simply not enough — especially when talking about climate change. The whole essence of climate justice is that low-income communities and communities of color will be most devastated as sea levels and temperatures rise. The video did leave me impressed by the few I saw, but that’s no measure of sufficiency.

Most of the folks in the video are White, particularly the ones who speak. The interviewees? White. The politicians? White. The families? White. Also, where are the Indigenous voices?

The good

So many windmills. So many solar panels. Clinton makes renewable energy a center point of the video, showcasing part of the solution to climate change. This is the scene where Ferrera appears, surrounded by windmills. *swoon*

The bad

Renewables are great and all, but the video fails to denounce fossil fuels. It ignores the fact that the extractive processes — like fracking and mining — responsible for climate change continue to strip Native peoples of their land and resources. It’s all gloom and doom with shots of wildfires and floods but evades mention of oil spills and oil train explosions that have polluted rivers and waterways.

Energy isn’t all sunshine, especially when renewables count for only 13 percent of U.S. energy generation.

The good

The video covers a lot of ground: droughts, storms, floods, fires and heat waves. (Yas!) It goes on to include Hurricane Sandy, melting glaciers and even rising food prices. That’s pretty encompassing, I’d say.

The bad

…Except not really. All these topics will affect people. And they are important. But so is what comes after the disasters: displacement, climate refugees, mass migration. As arable land is lost to droughts, laborers will have to find work elsewhere. Maybe to another country. Maybe illegally. If someone’s home is underwater, they must move. We can’t forget these problems that tend to target Black coastal communities in the South, immigrant farming communities in the West and impoverished people throughout the Global South who didn’t contribute to climate change in the first place.

There’s also Hurricane Katrina. The video mentions storms, sure, but doesn’t name this one. Nearly half of the areas it destroyed were Black, yet the video didn’t mention it — or climate change’s impacts to communities of color — explicitly.

*Side eye-roll*

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