Dir. Charles Ferguson | USA | 2015 | 100 mins
Academy Award Winning documentarian Charles Ferguson is renowned for his ability to offer an inimitable perspective on already widely debated issues — the Iraq War in No End in Sight, the Global Financial Crisis in Inside Job and now an original and impassioned take on climate change in Time to Choose. Narrated with equanimity by acclaimed actor Oscar Isaac, the film offers a comprehensive exploration of the issue broken into three illuminating chapters on ‘Coal & Electricity,’ Oil & Gas,’ and ‘Land and Food’.
Visually, Time to Choose is a magnificently composed film, recalling Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi. Shot over five continents, the film captures in equal parts the natural splendor and man-made devastation currently impacting our environment. Impressive aerial photography glides from images of mountaintop removal in sprawling rainforests in Brazil to the coal-sludge impoundments desecrating the tree-lined foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia. On the ground and often forced to film guerilla-style and without permits, Ferguson also offers unprecedented access to denuded peatlands in Indonesia and sodden oil fields of Nigeria, re-enforcing all we have to lose from the ravages of climate change.
In the ten years since the release of Al Gore’s polemic, An Inconvenient Truth, much has changed when it comes to the climate. Now all but universally accepted within the scientific community, instead of trying to convince us of climate change’s veracity, Ferguson sets out to offer practical solutions to one of the world’s most perilous problems. With little time for despair, the film hypothesizes of a future in which realistic, commercially expedient and completely renewable energy alternatives can help to negate this environmental crisis.
Featuring inspiring interviews with environmental leaders including Jane Goodall, Nobel Prize winning physicist Steven Chu and food expert Michael Pollen, the film offers both the perfect primer for those uninitiated in the climate change debate as well as fresh perspective for more seasoned environmentalists. Time to Choose affirms that climate change not only presents us with one of the biggest scientific and technological challenges of our time but offers an ethical challenge too, regarding which we it is time we all make our choice.