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Read: The film 2040 offers an inspiring vision of the future

We are living in a curious age. Despite our accumulated knowledge, collectively there’s a disconnect about the mounting evidence of climate change. Obviously for some, denying it suits their self-interest but for many of us, its hard to know what, if anything, we can do about it.

In the documentary 2040, director and narrator Damon Gameau presents an interesting thesis on what we all could do to manage the greatest threat to our species and our planet. 

It’s a very personal project for him, and it’s presented as a message of sorts aimed at his four year old daughter Velvet. 

Gameau’s belief is that we can, and must, make changes and that the use of nascent technologies and ideas can make a credible impact on climate change. Problems and solutions are presented in the film which jumps between the present and the year 2040. Those future scenarios show a world where his  daughter, now aged in her late 20s, is reaping the benefit of the changes made in our own time. 

We are shown a number of projects and ideas from around the world: village solar energy systems in Bangladesh; self-driving cars in New York; through to marine permaculture that could not only provide food but also sequester carbon from the atmosphere. 

All of these concepts are being developed right now, and most of them will involve changing our entire economic system if we want to make them truly global in scale.


In telling this story, Gameau uses experts and some very cute kids from around the world who share ideas and dreams. The concepts are pretty universal: world peace, no pollution, caring for animals. 

They are notions that I remember exploring as a kid. But this is the nub of the problem. Kids are free from the cynicism that creeps in when we grow up and start families and get mortgages. As adults, the enormity of the problems can seem overwhelming, especially when we realise what we may have to give up to fix climate change.

When you combine this with the vested interests who are working very hard to retain the status quo the problems can seem insurmountable.  

Thankfully, 2040 presents the perfect antidote to this. Gameau’s sincerity and obvious enthusiasm, coupled with his exploration of some very simple but effective technological solutions make it all seem doable. 

His narrative may prove to be too simplistic, but perhaps that simplicity is actually the key to making change. It could be that thousands of simple decisions and ideas made by both individuals and groups could make Gameau’s vision possible by 2040. 

By the end of the film, my doubt had been replaced by excitement. Has my behaviour and habits been altered by watching 2040? Not quite, but I do think they will. 

Click here to access Gameau’s website and explore the issues raised in the film and create your own plan for change. 

Film – 2040

New Zealand screenings:

22 & 27 July – Auckland  – NZ International Film Festival

28 & 30 July – Wellington – NZ International Film Festival 

From 22 August 2019 – full cinematic release in New Zealand cinemas 

92 Minutes

Starring:  Various

Director:  Damon Gameau

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