How do you change someone’s mind about the most important thing in the world?
Anita Chitaya has a gift; she can help bring abundant food from dead soil, she can make men fight for gender equality, and she can end child hunger in her village.
Now, to save her home from extreme weather, she faces her greatest challenge: persuading Americans that climate change is real.
Traveling from Malawi to California to the White House, she meets climate sceptics and despairing farmers. Her journey takes her across all the divisions shaping the US, from the rural-urban divide, to schisms of race, class and gender, to the thinking that allows Americans to believe they live on a different planet from everyone else.
It will take all her skill and experience to help Americans recognize, and free themselves from, a logic that is already destroying the Earth.
We often blame world leaders (and rightly so) for inaction on global warming, and COP26 in Glasgow is giving us reason for both hope and consternation.
Yet it’s becoming clear that if we are to recover planetary flourishing it won’t be because global leaders finally came to a solution; it will be because ordinary people banded together in opposition of anti-creational power in care for our common home.
It’ll take a revolution.
The future won’t be secured by the rich and powerful. It will be, as Jesus says, the meek who will inherit the earth.
“Inheriting the earth” is what happens when someone becomes one with creation, is at home in creation, and belongs to the web of creation.
We must become meek. No longer ravaging the earth, but receiving a humble, peace-filled relationship within this ecosystem.
We’re being invited into a revolution in how we relate to the earth. By definition, this can’t be a solitary endeavor; to be one with creation is to know our kinship with all other creatures. We must join with the community of creation in solidarity, cultivating wild growth for justice and peace.
Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
And Paul builds on this, saying, “Creation groans for the children of God to be revealed.” (Romans 8:19)
Creation groans for peace — let’s join the cry of the earth as part of this creation, so that no one can drown our collective voice.
I think this film can be a crucial asset in us finding our voice — our spiritual imagination and political will.
At turns touching, hilarious, and poignant without ever being patronizing, I find The Ants and the Grasshopper to be one of the most significant ecology and faith documentaries of the decade. You can watch the documentary here, or screen it with your faith community (regardless of budget) by filling out this form.
(Special thanks to Nehemiah Olson, who directly inspired much of the above reflection on Jesus, Paul, and the true meaning of inheriting the earth. You’ll want to check out his book The Gospel for the Privileged.)
See also: A Malawian farmer visiting the US wants to know: ‘Why not do more on the climate crisis?’ — Lauren Zanolli, The Guardian
About the Filmmakers:
Zak Piper is an Emmy-winning and Producers Guild Award-winning Documentary Producer with more than 15 years of non-fiction filmmaking experience. Find out more at ZakPiper.com
Raj Patel is a research professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, a professor in the university’s department of nutrition, and a research associate at Rhodes University, South Africa. He is the author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System and the New York Times bestselling The Value of Nothing, the coauthor of A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things and most recently co-author of Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice. A James Beard Foundation Leadership Award winner, he is the codirector of a groundbreaking documentary on climate change and the global food system, The Ants and the Grasshopper. He serves on the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems and has advised governments worldwide on the causes of and solutions to crises of sustainability. You can learn more about Raj and his work here.