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What’s your 2040? Global warming, sea level rise, civil unrest, marine degradation – or a world that’s healthier and fairer than the one we live in today? As reprieve from the usual doom and gloom stories about the future of our planet, Australian filmmaker Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film) jumps on a plane (offset with certified carbon credits) to travel the world in search of a better 2040. His daughter Velvet, whom we meet in the opening scene – they’re planting a tree – will be 27 in 2040 and Gameau’s narration – “So, Velvet …” – is addressed to her.
In this exercise in ‘fact-based dreaming’ Gameau explores only technologies and practices that currently exist and examines what the future would look like if we embrace these solutions today. His journey takes us from regenerative farming practices in rural Australia to a Bangladeshi village powered by distributed solar home systems; from marine permaculture experiments in Woods Hole, United States, to an on-demand autonomous electric vehicle in New York City. Guided by expert commentary from the likes of Kate Raworth, author of Doughnut Economics, and Paul Hawken, founder of Project Drawdown, he zooms forward to 2040 to see how these technologies and practices could improve energy, transport, food production and more to create a better 2040 for Velvet and her friends.
Along with some cheesy humour, mostly at Gameau’s expense, the film delivers surprises, revelations, and an inspiring vision of the future. As Gameau says, “we have everything we need right now to make it happen.” So let’s get started. — Rebecca Priestley