Nelson resident Barbara Bergen has always considered herself to be a somewhat apolitical person, consumed with her career and paying little attention to the world around her. Then this year she attended a talk by philanthropist Tom Rand, author of Waking the Frog, and over course of his hour-long presentation she went from “hopeless to hopeful” about the planet’s climate crisis.
“He makes the case that we live in the most affluent time that humankind has seen, and we can afford to address climate change,” said Bergen, who recently completed a crowd-funding campaign to create three climate-themed commercials inspired by Rand’s talk.
“But not only can we afford to, we’re morally responsible.”
When Bergen initially left the Capitol Theatre, she was imagining filming a documentary. But as she continued thinking about it, she settled on the idea of filming 30-second public service announcements first, followed by a larger fundraiser for the documentary.
“My background is I have a 27-year career as a producer of TV commercials, and I had been semi-retired from that, but I thought it through and realized PSAs, television ads the stations run for free when they have unpaid air time, would be ideal.”
Bergen started a crowd-funding campaign along with local environmentalist Laura Sacks, and corralled a talented group of filmmakers for the project who worked for a fraction of their ordinary pay. They eventually raised over $13,000, which was enough to pay honorariums to the artists involved.
“All of the messages in these spots allude to a solution, and it’s the solution Citizen’s Climate Lobby supports, which is carbon fee and dividend,” said Bergen.
Sacks explained the idea would be to put a fee on carbon emissions that would then be redistributed to the communities. She believes it’s the best way for lower and middle class people to adapt to the changing energy standards.
“I was just in Washington, D.C. lobbying and we had 520 meetings with Republicans and Democrats. Behind closed doors we’re hearing the Republicans actually like this idea because it’s not making the government bigger and they’re realizing climate change is a real issue.”
They’ve also met with the four Canadian political parties—one of which, the Green Party, has made carbon fee and dividend part of their platform.
“It’s simpler than cap and trade, so we’re hoping it’s something everyone can embrace,” said Sacks.
The commercials will run both in Canada and in the United States during the elections.
For more information visit citizensclimatelobby.ca.
Nelson producer Barbara Bergen (left) was inspired by philanthropist Tom Rand’s local talk and joined up with environmentalist Laura Sacks to create 30-second TV spots promoting Citizen’s Climate Lobby’s carbon fee and dividend system during the upcoming election.