Confronting Crisis 2050 Panel Recap: A Dire Situation Needing Immediate Action
On September 17, Population Media Center President and Founder, Bill Ryerson, hosted a virtual panel with registrants from 21 countries, 50 minutes of dialog, and insight from a unique array of panelists inspired by the recent film, Endgame 2050.
With a title like Endgame 2050, you might expect science fiction, but this film and this panel took a deep look at the dire state of the planet.
A Live Discussion on Real Life Issues
Panelists included the creator of the film, Dr. Sofia Pineda Ochoa; Author of The Population Bomb, Dr. Paul Ehrlich; Faith-based Environmental Activist, Reverend Itang Young; and University of Southern California Professor of Environmental Studies and Political Science, Dr. Yael Wolinsky-Nahmias.
During the discussion, panelists addressed the current ecological and existential crises facing the planet and how the issues of rights of women and girls, population growth, and environmental sustainability are all interconnected.
“The reason why I made this film (Endgame 2050) is because some environmental documentaries sugar coat the issues. I tried to show the severity of the issues,” said Pineda Ochoa during her opening remarks of the panel. “We find ourselves in a really difficult situation, and it doesn’t do any good to sugar coat it.”
Pineda Ochoa’s film acts as a call-to-action, educating viewers on the sixth mass extinction, ocean acidification, the threat of fishless oceans, the climate crisis, food insecurity and sourcing habits, and human population growth’s ripple effect on all these topics. Behavioral change around these issues is needed, and soon according to Ehrlich.
“We need a gigantic cultural change, and at the moment, the culture is changing in exactly the wrong direction,” said Ehrlich during the panel.
Cultural and behavioral change on these issues starts with individuals, and according to panelist Reverend Young, action on climate change is a moral obligation.
“Our sacred text gives us a moral obligation to be involved in all things related to sustainability and climate change,” said Young. “From Christianity to Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, to the teachings and wisdoms of indigenous religions, and other worldly religions… we are reminded of a moral obligation to care for communities – and sustainable lifestyles are a way for people of faith to embody our deepest values and practice exactly what it is we preach.”
Youth climate activists are leading the fight to confront the crises the planet is facing, but according to Dr. Wolinsky-Nahmias, the way young people are mobilizing looks and feels very different than the way others fought some fifty years ago.
“The environmental movement today has much more detailed, scientific knowledge about the consequences of no action,” stated Wolinsky-Nahmias.
But it’s not just urgency and data that’s grown the movement. According to Wolinsky-Nahmias, the ability of young people to communicate with millions of people around the world is a gamechanger.
“This makes the environmental movement much more intrinsically international. That is really important because all of the issues we are talking about really are global problems.”
Throughout the 50-minute panel discussion on Zoom, attendees asked questions to PMC staff using Zoom’s Q&A feature and made conversation in the traditional Zoom chat. Following the panel, members of PMC’s Giving Circles program and their guests had the opportunity to speak directly with panelists in a smaller intimate setting
An Innovative Way to Expand Reach
The Confronting Crisis 2050 Panel discussion was the third virtual event hosted by PMC this year and the second that was open to the public. The first event open to the public celebrated the U.S. premiere of PMC’s Vencer el Miedo (“Overcome the Fear”), a telenovela currently on Univision and available to stream on YouTube.
“Individuals from 21 countries around the world registered for Confronting Crises 2050 panel,” says Bria Holness, Donor Engagement Officer at PMC. “We are looking at these virtual events as a way to reach individuals where they are and bring all our constituents into one digital room to build a sense of community. ”
The global reach of these digital events fits perfectly into PMC’s mission to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies.
“It just makes sense when the social and environmental issues we’re addressing are global and at times like these where there is a sense of hopelessness, it is powerful to see you’re not alone in your concerns,” added Kiren Bansal, Associate Vice President of Development at PMC. “Each virtual event has drawn a bigger and bigger audience which is encouraging as PMC strives to produce more engaging, educational and valuable content for fellow change-makers interested in the rights of women and girls and creating a sustainable planet through social impact entertainment endeavors.”