“RESIST AND CREATE”
“We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last generation that can do something about it.”
This sentence pronounced by the governor of Washington State Jay Inslee in 2014 could be applied to each one of us here.
Those who are 15, 30 or 45 years old will witness the world beyond this one. The one that crumbles.
In a certain way, we are already witnessing it. The temperature of our planet has warmed by 1.2 degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial era.
However it is not just about the climate, but rather the war that has been instigated on all living things.
We have allowed 60 % of vertebrate animals to become extinct in 40 years, 30 % of wild birds, and half of all our marine animals.
If we continue on this trajectory, the scientists of the IPCC predict an increase of nearly 5 °C before the end ofthe century.
Other predictions are even more alarming.
In 2009, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research established a model. According to its calculations, if the planet’s temperature increases to 5°C or more, only 1 billion people will be able to live on Earth. Not 10 or 11 billion as the UN had hoped, not 7 billion as the number of us on Earth today. Only 1 billion.
Bombarding you with numbers and statistics (and we could make this list even longer) is not a morbid fascination with the worst possible outcome.
It is a cry for a help.
The last cry of our generation before the wave sweeps over us all, with no way of ever going back to the way we were before.
We have the opportunity now to know what is going to happen. To be able to anticipate it. And in reality we have known it since the 1970s. But up until now we have favored profit over our forests, our animals and the most fragile among us…
However something new has been happening in the last few weeks. A young generation, the generation taking the full brunt of past generations’ mistakes, have gone on strike.
They have occupied the streets, every Friday, seeking answers from our political leaders, refusing to see their future destroyed by the carelessness of their elders.
On the 15th of March, they organised the biggest world march for the protection of the climate, led by Greta Thunberg.
They marched again on the 24th of May.
Here, there and everywhere, many of them are starting to act.
Melati Wikjsen, 18 years old, has managed to get plastic bags banned in Indonesia. Kelsey Juliana was 15 years old when she brought her state to court for inaction against climate change. Felix Finkbeiner was only 10 years old when he planted his first tree. He has paved the way for the planting of 15 billion trees since then.
Adélaïde, Camille, Luisa, Vipulan, these young men and women are here to wake us up. To push us out of our comfort zones and inertia in order to show us a better way.
It is time now to listen to them, whoever we may be, and to follow their example, by refusing to vote for the politicians who do not resolutely engage in the protection of the living, and by taking action to put pressure on Companies and our governments, and by creating constructive projects, changing our everyday habits.
Here, in one of the most prestigious film festivals, we have come to make an appeal to all artists, producers and technicians of the silver screen. Films today are considered to be one of the most powerful medium to tell stories.
Indeed, it is stories and tales that allow human beings to apprehend the world, intellectually, emotionally and sensorially. It is through stories that we construct our identities, religions, ideologies, even our economic and political systems.
As the historian Yuval Harari writes: “it is thanks to stories that the Homo Sapiens has been able to organize the cooperation of millions of individuals and to accomplish its greatest progress as well as its worst devastation.”
While humanity is confronted with the 6th mass extinction of a species, and a warming of the planet that could threaten its very survival, the stories that we recount and the way in which they allow us to imagine – or not – the future, are crucial to us.
We as authors, script writers, directors, actors, have the power, thanks to cinema, to light up the past and the present and to invent the future. It’s time to act.
We cannot remain on the sidelines watching the world go up in flames. We have the responsibility to summon up all our strength, inspiration and talents to enlighten the imagination, to provoke enthusiasm, action and transformation.
This new young generation are offering us a collection of heroes, of stories that we must take hold of. And there are thousands of new stories that are waiting to be written.
A world that respects human beings, and nature will only come into being if we are capable of imagining it.
All of us, whether we are young, old, black or white, from the North or the South, artist, or politician, entrepreneur or citizen, and wherever our political allegiances lie, we must build this vast alliance, unite our strengths and come together like no other human community has ever done before us.
Our common future depends on it.
A Manifesto written by Cyril Dion
Co-initiated by Magali Payen, Founder of On est prêt!
Translated from the French by Carly Blackman