‘2040’ Review: Tools to Fix the World, Already at Hand

#2040review #ecology #thenewyorktimes


If you can get past the ingratiating persona of its director and M.C., Damon Gameau, the documentary “2040” is an accessible and informative look at solutions to the climate crisis.


The conceit is that Gameau, an Australian actor, envisions an auspicious future in the year 2040 for his daughter. He imagines a world where the existential threats of climate change have been curtailed, using only technologies that exist today. (He calls it “fact-based dreaming.”)

Discussions of science and economics alternate with self-consciously sprightly storytelling (stop-motion animation; dramatized scenes set in 2040 with Gameau in bad old-age makeup). The filmmaker also includes interviews with children from across the globe who pose their own environmental remedies. Gameau describes these interludes as consulting the generation that will share the future with his daughter.

While Gameau’s mode of address sometimes appears aimed at an impatient preteen, that may be what it takes for foot-dragging adults to hear him out.


Interviewing an array of academics and activists, Gameau visits a solar-powered microgrid system in Bangladesh. He hops in a driverless car and explores what might happen in a society that made shared, on-demand versions of such vehicles the norm. Solutions for regenerating farmland and revitalizing the oceans seem like can’t-lose propositions. And computerized dashboards that help individuals track their impacts on natural resources could inspire a sense of shared responsibility.

Although the odds of implementing all these ideas might seem steep, “2040” is a rare climate documentary with an optimistic message.



2040 Not rated. In English, Bengali, Swahili and Swedish, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 32 minutes. Watch on virtual cinemas.



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