Running On Climate - a documentary

Running On Climate is a feature documentary by Robert Alstead and Joanna Clarke of productions ltd.

Running On Climate from Robert Alstead on Reelhouse.

Feature documentary Running On Climate looks at the lengths scientists will go to highlight the dangers of runaway climate change and the actions individuals can take to avert catastrophe.

After decades of watching their increasingly dire warnings about climate change go unheeded, scientists have been forced increasingly more into the realm of politics.

Some are following the lead of former NASA climate scientist James Hansen, who was arrested outside the White House in 2011.

Dr Andrew Weaver, a climate scientist at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, decided he would try and change things from the inside. In 2012, he announced he was going to run for election to the provincial legislature.

It’s unusual for a scientist to run for political office. Even more unusual is that Weaver chose to run for a party that had never won a seat in its 30 year history, the BC Green Party.

Weaver was among the scientific advisers who helped develop a package of climate change policies in BC under previous Premier Gordon Campbell, including the introduction of North America's first carbon tax in 2008 and provincially legislated carbon emissions targets. The BC carbon tax is often held up as a model for pricing carbon.

Now those climate policies that Weaver holds dearly are threatened by the new Premier Christy Clark’s plan to develop a massive, energy-intensive liquified natural gas (LNG) industry in the province. Worse, Clark’s promises of a billion dollar bonanza that will make the province “debt free” are, says Weaver, a “pipe dream”.

Running On Climate follows the indefatigable former rugby player and his dedicated team of grassroots campaigners as they set out to defy the naysayers and take the Oak Bay-Gordon Head seat from sitting cabinet minister Ida Chong, street by street.

As the Greens try to butt their way into the two-party system, Running On Climate asks how the west coast province can maintain its leadership on climate change when it is viewed by many in Canada as the "carbon corridor" for the export of fossil fuels to Asia: bitumen from the Alberta oilsands, US thermal coal, and LNG.

With commentary from scientists, politicians, and ordinary citizens engaged in the climate justice movement, Running On Climate looks beyond the election rhetoric and photo ops and asks what is our responsibility to future generations who have the most to lose from global warming. What is sustainable? And what can an individual feasibly do, here and now, to prevent the planet careening toward catastrophic climate change?

Robert Alstead, who previously directed You Never Bike Alone, began following Weaver before his nomination as the Oak Bay Gordon Head candidate for the BC Greens (see Andrew Weaver wins. My risk pays off.").

Press Reviews

"An exhilarating portrait of a grass roots political campaign from the moment of its origin." - The Georgia Straight, Vancouver

“The film is by Robert Alstead, who until recently wrote about movies for Common Ground magazine, and took a chance that Weaver would be an interesting story when he rode his bike over to Victoria and started filming. He’s captured a dynamic campaigner and an up-beat guy... 4 out of 5.” - Vancouver Observer

“The film addresses environmental concerns not just as a tale of woe and doom but of hope and the pursuit of change from the roots up.” Planet Experts

“At the core of this film is hope and determination. Hope that Canadians will take climate change seriously so that we can start solving the problem, and the determination to get science a seat in parliament.” The Peak


Running On Climate was self-funded by Robert Alstead's production company productions ltd. We also raised C$10,286 ($7,823) through a Kickstarter campaign to complete the film.

Release dates

Running On Climate had its World Premiere at DOXA Documentary Festival on Saturday 2nd May 2015, 5.45pm.

Rent or Buy Running On Climate
You can buy Running On Climate on DVD, rent, or own to stream or download at Reelhouse.


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Recent posts

I was recently on Zone 1 Radio's "Email From America".

For the past couple of years we have hosted Running On Climate and You Never Bike Alone on both Vimeo and Reelhouse.

The Sauder School of Business at University of British of Columbia runs a website called Prediction Markets.

Two weeks after votes were cast in the BC election, the count is finally in. BC is going to be governed by a minority government.

Voting Place

Pundits and pollsters are still calling the BC Election on Tuesday 9th May too close to call.

We've got a special on for Running On Climate til Election Day to help get you in the mood for voting (if you are in British Columbia) or just for observing from outside what is going to be a clima

Andrew Weaver campaigning

Running On Climate will be screening at the Eaglecrest Golf Course in Qualicum Beach on Friday, 5th May, 6.30pm to 9.30pm.

Here we are again. Four years ago Andrew Weaver made his leap from academia to politics, becoming Canada's first Green to occupy a seat in a provincial legislature.

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