Video Contest Winner - Runner Up

After Denial: How People React to the Hard Reality of Climate Change

Despite incontrovertible evidence that humans are changing the climate, a sizable minority of the global population still doesn’t accept it is happening, while many  who do are overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem. The second runner-up in the 2016 Yale Environment 360 Video Contest, “After Denial,” explores the ways people react to climate change.

2016 Yale Environment 360 Video Contest

Even as heat records are shattered on a monthly basis and the world’s glaciers and ice sheets melt, climate change remains a divisive issue in many parts of the world. Some 70 percent of Americans believe that climate change is happening, yet only half understand it is driven by human activities, and some think it is not happening at all. Many of those who do accept climate change struggle to cope with the scale and severity of the issue.

This 15-minute film, “After Denial” — the second runner-up in the 2016 Yale Environment 360 Video Contest — explores climate change through the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) that were originally outlined by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. Director Bill Finnegan visits protests in New York City, United Nations climate negotiations, climate group therapy in England, and the Dark Mountain Project, an artist workshop in Sweden, as he probes the ways people react to information about climate change.  

As Dougald Hine of the Dark Mountain Project says of his own emotions, “It felt like environmentalism was on the edge of becoming a church where the priests had lost their faith, but didn’t think the ordinary people in the pews were ready to hear the bad news yet.” 

About the contest: “After Denial” is the second runner-up in the 2016 Yale Environment 360 Video Contest. Entries were received from five continents, with a prize of $2,000 going to the first-place winner.