Is this the documentary we’ve been waiting for?

Sure, I enjoyed Leonardo DiCaprio’s Before the Flood. I appreciated Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. Listening to Gore’s southern drawl as he walked his audience through the warming of our planet was earth shattering (literally), but I couldn’t help but wonder if there was something a community could do to kick off local protective actions now. Films on climate change are a bit one-note. Most are long on causes and threats, but short on immediate protections and solutions (let alone discussion of personal costs). And there is always a polar bear.

Enter Tidewater, a new film directed by Roger Sorkin, which recently took home the Green Fire Award at the San Francisco Green Film Festival. You may notice something missing from the trailer for this documentary about sea-level rise in Hampton Roads, VA – it’s the absence of the words “climate change,” “global warming,” and “carbon.”

Sorkin hopes the film will appeal to viewers who tend to associate these words with liberalism. “It’s really intended to nationalize the story of Hampton Roads as a real national security concern,” Sorkin says. “Stories matter to us, and the building blocks are the words that you use to tell stories. Certain words press people’s buttons and produce visceral reactions,” he says.

This documentary isn’t about how climate change is hurting the polar bears; it’s about how it’s hurting us – hurting us now. The film is produced by the American Resilience Project, a non-profit founded to advance policies to help us adapt and build resilience to the impacts of climate change.

Although streaming options aren’t available now, you can arrange for Tidewater to be shown locally. It could help you and other viewers engage your community to take protective actions on specific issues threatening you right now.

Do you have a favorite documentary on climate change? Let me know in the comments below!