2040 review — “An exercise in fact-based dreaming”

Directed by Damon Gameau | 91 min | On Demand

Decentralized power grids with independent solar-source energy. Self driving electric cars. Diverse, multi-species grazing crops. Marine permaculture. Educating girls.

These are some of the ideas Australian filmmaker Damon Gameau learns about as he looks for solutions — that already exist — to rescue the world from the climate crisis and provide a future for his daughter, Velvet, who in 2040 will be 25.

Unlike prominent environmentalist documentaries like An Inconvenient Truth or the more successful The 11th Hour, Gameau spends very little time dwelling on how we got here, or ringing the bell of apocalypse in order to get us to wake up to the realities of climate change. Instead, he imagines what 2040 might be like if humanity makes all the right decisions, invests in green technology, and reverses the course for disaster we’re currently on.

Visioning is important, and as such this is a wonderfully optimistic and even playful film. After introducing us to his wife, Zoë, and four-year-old daughter, he casts an actor (Eva Lazzaro) as his daughter in her 20s and shows what her life might be like; eating meat-like plant substitutes, moving around in shared transportation, using “drone phones” — whatever they are — and enjoying a cleaner, more equitable world.

But knowing these technologies all exist, it’s actually a little depressing to think how little leadership we’re seeing investing in the necessary changes, and how much further we still need to go. Why are so few of these technologies self-evident in our world? Why are we so slow to let go of our reliance on fossil fuels?

By all means, watch 2040, and revel in the possibilities, the idealism, and the many reasons for hope. I did, but I also came away slightly despondent at how out of reach the dream seems today.

About the author


Carsten Knox is a massive, cheese-eating nerd. In the day he works as a journalist in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At night he stares out at the rain-slick streets, watches movies, and writes about what he's seeing.