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Film "Climate Refugees" Explores Impact of Climate Change

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Film "Climate Refugees" Explores Impact of Climate Change

October 13, 2010

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.—Rising sea levels, floods, and drought are forcing millions of people around the world to relocate across national borders. Who will accept these climate refugees, and how will they affect their adopted homelands?

Filmmaker Michael Nash explores these issues in his film “Climate Refugees,” which will be screened at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, in the McCullough Social Space at Middlebury College. Nash, executive producer Pat McConathy, and Middlebury Scholar in Residence in Environmental Studies Bill McKibben will discuss the film following the screening.

“At the center of this issue is an intersection at which over-population, over-consumption, lack of resources, and a rapidly changing climate are all colliding with one another for the first time in history,” Nash says. “The outcome: 25 million climate refugees and counting. Experts predict 50 million in just the next couple of years, and anywhere from 150 million to a billion by 2050.”

Nash spent two years traversing the globe, visiting the submerging islands of Tuvalu in the South Pacific, drought-affected areas of Sudan, the coast of Bangladesh, and other regions where climate change is threatening millions of people’s survival.

Natural disasters closer to home inspired the filmmaker to undertake the project after his childhood home in Florida was hit by two hurricanes within a 12-day period. His goal was to take the politics out and to find the truth on climate change.

“In America, the issue of climate change has become so polarized that it can be difficult to read between all the lines of spin, so from the start, it was my hope to make a film on climate change that would bypass political partisanship,” Nash says. “My goal was to look at the effects, regardless of whether sources of change are manmade or result from climatic cycles, and document the truth.”

The film had its premier at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2010. Quoted in the New York Times, Sundance founder Robert Redford cited the film as among his favorites at the festival, calling it “an agent for social change.”

For more information on the film, visit, or contact Janet Wiseman, assistant director, Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest, at or 802-443-5710.