Fuel Your Imagination

The 2040 documentary brings hope to the climate crisis conversation

The reality of the climate crisis is unavoidable. But what if the images we saw were not simply of the devastation taking place but also offered some optimistic ideas of how we can bring about change.

Izzy Ashton

Deputy Editor, BITE


The reality of the climate crisis is unavoidable and its effects increasingly apparent. Australia is experiencing some of its worst wildfires on record; the north of England is flooded as is the whole of the city of Venice. Many of these images are paralysing in their destruction, leaving viewers and readers feeling overwhelmed and often and, at times, confused as to know where to even begin when it comes to changing their behaviour and consumption habits.

But what if the stories being told and the images being shared were not just of the devastation taking place but also offered some optimistic ideas of how consumers can bring about change. This is what Australian environmentalist Damon Gameau has set out to do with his latest documentary 2040, offering an education on the climate emergency but from a more optimistic viewpoint. It’s a more hopeful look at what the future could be like for the children of today 20 years from now.

Gameau spent the last three years making the documentary for his young daughter, to show her what her world could look like, if different ways of operating were introduced today. In it, he interviews environmental experts who specialise in marine biology, solar energy and transport among others. He explores different methods of change from solar power to more progressive methods of farming and the practicalities around their introduction. He also goes into depth about the impact that the education of women and girls around the world would have.

[2040 is] an exercise in ‘fact-based dreaming’

Damon Gameau

While organisations like Extinction Rebellion have powerfully raised awareness of the scale of the climate crisis, what individuals and organisations need now are practical, immediate solutions. This is what Gameau is offering. Gameau, writing in the Guardian, calls 2040 “an exercise in ‘fact-based dreaming’” because everything on show in the documentary already exists today. There are no crazy, otherworldly inventions, or unimaginable shifts in infrastructure. Just real-life solutions to a seemingly inconceivable crisis.

The documentary has been projected onto the walls of the UN, sent to every Australian MP and a screening has been arranged for MPs in the UK parliament in the New Year, demonstrating that the accessibility of the medium of film is not to be dismissed when it comes to bringing about broader cultural change.

Gameau’s tone is optimistic and educational, a step-change from the anger that threads through much of the rhetoric around the climate emergency. It doesn’t focus on the floods or fires dominating the headlines or the political discourse that surrounds it. Rather it’s a focus on what individuals can do immediately, on the empowering nature of education and of what can happen when communities come together determinedly to bring about change.

Visit 2040’s website to find out more.