How to host your own (lockdown-friendly!) climate movie screening

As #ClimateChangers, we’re all adapting to the new reality of life in the era of COVID-19. Even in these trying times, we can still make change. Here are all the tips and tricks you need for your virtual watch party.

Stormy skies over Cox’s Bazar Rohingya refugee camps, Bangladesh, as Cyclone Amphan approached. Credit: Fabeha Monir/Oxfam

The coronavirus pandemic may have put many peoples’ lives on hold, but the climate crisis is still a very real threat to millions around the world. Climate impacts, like Super-Cyclone Amphan in South Asia, Tropical Cyclone Harold in the Pacific, or the ongoing locust infestation in Africa, are hitting the poorest and most vulnerable right in the midst of a global health emergency.

Climate action is just as important now as ever.

The good news is that we’re not fighting two separate battles. Climate solutions that are based on solidarity, compassion, and cooperation will also put us on track to a just recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

But how can we take climate action in the middle of a global health emergency?

People everywhere are finding creative ways to protest: From Fridays For Future’s Digital Climate Strike last month (featuring this incredible banner action by FFF Berlin), to Extinction Rebellion’s fake Google announcement on April Fool’s Day, to Seeding Sovereignty’s sky banner. Many more groups are holding online discussions and workshops.

We’re getting creative with the space and tools available.

Oxfam climate changer graphic

Enter: The virtual movie screening.

Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe tells us that the most important thing we can do to fight climate change is to talk about it. Movies are a great conversation-starter: Why not get some like-minded friends together (virtually!) and crack out the popcorn?

We’ve put together a how-to guide (below), as well as a climate playlist, with movies, short videos, and inspiring talks.

How to host a virtual climate movie screening:

1. Buddy up! If this is your first time taking climate action, it might be easier and more fun to organise with a friend.

2. Choose your audience. You may want to keep it informal, and just invite like-minded friends and family. If you want to step outside of your comfort zone, think about sharing an invite on social media, or in a group you’re part of.

3. Find an app or extension that works for you — check out this good rundown of some of the best. However, don’t worry too much about finding the best tech solution. Setting a time, sharing a link and starting a group chat works, too.

4. Choose a topic. We’ve put together a playlist with a wide variety of different videos — but you may want to focus on one topic in particular.

a. Want to explore community resistance and solutions? Try these videos:
- Antimonan, Philippines: #FossilFree Faith (350.org) — 3 min 17 seconds
- Peruíbe, Brazil: A Community United (350.org) — 3 min 21 seconds
- The Battle for Paradise: Naomi Klein Reports from Puerto Rico (The Intercept) — 17 min 27 seconds
b. Interested in Indigenous Peoples’ responses to the crisis? Have a look at these:
- The Standing Rock resistance and our fight for indigenous rights | Tara Houska (Ted Talk) — ?11 min 3 seconds
- Indigenous knowledge meets science to solve climate change | Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim (Ted Talk) — 13 min 1 second
c. These videos explore youth & feminist approaches to climate action:
- Feminist Global Activism for Climate Justice (WEDO) — 7 min 33 seconds
- Frontline Youth: Fighting for Climate Justice (Climate Justice Alliance) — 7 min
d. For longer movies, here are some suggestions:
- Do the Math — The Movie (350.org, 2013) — 44 min 52 seconds
- Chasing Ice (2012) — 1 hr 15 min 14 seconds

5. Prepare some discussion questions. Encourage your audience to relate the message to their own circumstances. How did you feel after watching the video? What was the most powerful message? What’s one learning that you can apply at home, or in your school, neighborhood, or workplace?

6. Think about next steps. Can you encourage each person to make a climate action commitment? Maybe they want to sign up to be a #ClimateChanger!

7. Share. Tell us how it went! Do you have any of your own tips, or video suggestions? Drop them in the comments below. We’d also love to see any photos or screen-grabs of your screening — share them on social media, with the hashtag #ClimateChangers ??

BONUS TIPS: Low-Tech

Not all internet connections were created equally. Here are a few extra tips to help things go smoothly if connection is a problem:
1. Streaming can be a struggle, so if downloading is an option, do that! Send the video to your friends as a file.
2. Avoid internet rush hours which could slow down streaming. Peak hours differ from one country to the next, so try to find the best time of day for a fast internet speed before you start your screening. (Internet traffic is usually slowest early in the morning or late at night.)
3. Close other browser windows while watching videos, and if possible, disconnect any other devices you have running.
4. You may need to hit the pause button to allow the video to load before pressing play.
5. Choose shorter videos — it’s more likely that everyone will get through them, and you’ll have something to discuss.
6. Although a video call is ideal for discussions, a group chat in a messaging app works just as well.
7. Consider setting up a climate ‘film club’ — choose new a video each week, and set a weekly time to chat about it. This means everyone can watch the movie at their own pace.

Oxfam is a world-wide development organization that mobilizes the power of people against poverty.