2050 - this is the year I am supposed to retire. 2050 is also the mid-term horizon of many climate change studies. 2050 feels quite unreal to me and it is hard to imagine how the world will look like in 33 years. John Webster, a Finnish filmmaker, takes us into the future in his film "Little Yellow Boots".
John writes a cinematic letter to his great-grandchild, a girl called Dorit. With "Little Yellow Boots" John connects our lives with the lives of our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. What do we pass on to those who come after us, for both good and for bad? We know that the shorelines will massively change within the next two generations. For instance, the Marshall Islands amidst the Pacific will no longer be above sea level.
John talked to me and David Bresch (in the meantime professor at ETH) about the impacts of climate change and the urgent need for adaptation. With the Economics of Climate Adaptation (ECA) studies, we at Swiss Re investigate adaptation measures that make societies more resilient towards natural disasters and climate change.
With ECA we provide the decision makers the facts to identify the most cost-effective investments. For instance in Barisal, Bangladesh, 330'000 people live just one meter above sea level. The community faces even more tropical cyclone and monsoon flood risk as urbanisation advances and the sea level continues to rise. The good news is that we found a number of cost-efficient adaptation measures to reduce 60% of the flood and cyclone risks. The measures include the rehabilitation and extension of drainage systems as well as the development of flood-resilient buildings.
How can one help one's great-grandchild? We need to continue presenting the case for immediate action and for adaptation measures that are likely to be cheaper and more effective than ignoring climate change. John takes us on a wonderful journey from the past to the present and the future and shows the power of each of us to make a difference.
“Little Yellow Boots”, first television screening
Arte, 1 August 2017, 23.00 (94 min)
Available online 1 – 8 August 2017
Category: Climate/natural disasters: Climate change, Resilience
Location: Zürich, Switzerland