When it comes to fighting climate change, people power is our greatest weapon. This is the message I took with me from CCAN’s screening of the documentary Chasing Ice in Richmond. Last Thursday night at the Camel, I was able to see what comes of weeks of planning, stress, and seemingly endless phone calls and emails. The result was a room full of people who were motivated and ready to take action against climate change.

Chasing Ice has been called one of the most stunning climate documentaries of the past several years. Seeing it for the first time alongside our guests, I could finally understand why. The film follows photographer James Balog through the Arctic as he attempts to capture the melting of the glaciers across several years. For years I have been aware that the earth is warming, our ice caps are melting and sea levels are rising. But seeing glaciers actually wither away before your eyes is a shocking sight to behold. Watching the time-lapse photography of massive glaciers receding for miles in only a matter of years could have been a depressing way to spend an evening. Instead, the takeaway from Chasing Ice was a call to action.
We carried this message through to our discussion following the film. Virginia State Senator Donald McEachin was gracious enough to join us. He kicked off our conversation by sharing his personal story and connection to the climate movement. He then took questions from the audience. Many people wanted to know what they could do to make a difference in this seemingly impossible battle against the fossil fuel industry. My favorite moment of the entire evening came when Senator McEachin told us how much of a difference something as simple as an email to your legislator could make. If every person who wants to fight climate change and promote clean energy took the time to personally reach out to his or her legislator, that collective people power can have a major influence. The Senator also stressed the importance of being active participants in government all year round, not just when the General Assembly is in session. Almost everyone in the room was engaged in our discussion and it seemed as though we could have kept it going all night. Unfortunately, the Camel had another event scheduled later!
As I come to the end of my time as a CCAN intern, seeing this event come together has been my favorite part of the summer. Between our screening in Richmond and one a week earlier in Charlottesville, we were able to share Chasing Ice with almost 100 people and inspire them to step up and take action to protect Virginia from climate devastation. Join us at our next screening of Chasing Ice in Alexandria on August 20th! Click here to sign up!

Watch the trailer:

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