Documentary Offers Much Urgency, Fewer Assurances

September 1, 2016



Time to Choose explores the global challenge of climate change, from a municipal reservoir that’s drying up in Sao Paulo, Brazil (below), to a mother placing a facemask on her daughter in Beijing, China (above). Photos: Time To Choose, Neo Media, LLC.

Filmmaker Charles Ferguson argues — make that hopes — we can stop climate change.

His new and visually compelling 97-minute documentary “Time To Choose” provides the most comprehensive story yet of the critical environmental chaos the planet faces and why we’re in such dire straits. The urgency to act soon is slightly softened with attention to innovative solutions.

Narrated by actor Oscar Isaac, the film offers universally recognized experts from science, the environmental activism arena, and political and legal realms who walk viewers through the causes and results of melting glaciers, dying coral reefs, rising sea level, wildfires, cyclones and more devastation.

Presented in three parts — fossil fuels, oil and gas, land and food — speakers from Steven Chu and James Hansen to Jerry Brown and Jane Goodall try to reach the many whom they see as not grasping what’s happening around the globe. They balance the impending doom in the race against time with assurances that the technology to stop the mayhem is already available.

For example, the film makes the case that a dramatically changing world infrastructure is at hand, with renewable energy sources as seen in places like Solar City, Calif., and Sun Tech Power in China. Profitable, life-saving change is being achieved without government subsidies, the documentary posits.

The takeaway: It’s a last chance. Don’t lose it. Choose now for leaders who care, for clean energy and transportation, for ending sprawl, and for seeking better health and sustainable food.

For more about the film, visit or

JoAnn Valenti is an emerita professor and SEJournal Editorial Board member. She lives in her doomed home state of Florida.


* From the Fall 2016 SEJournal.

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