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Population Action International (PAI) advocates for women and families to have access to contraception in order to improve their health, reduce poverty and protect their environment.

Nathan Golon and MediaStorm were commissioned by PAI to create a short film that would document how climate change is impacting the lives of women around the world. Women do the majority of agricultural work globally and are tasked with collecting natural resources such as water and fuel, so they are often the first to feel the impacts of climate change. In many societies, women face grievous hardships simply because of their gender, and it was our goal to explore how they are coping with the additional burden of climate change.

The film was shot by Nathan Golon in Nepal, Peru, and Ethiopia, and focuses on the lives of four women and the role adaptation strategies such as education, migration, women's empowerment, and access to family planning play in helping them adjust to changes in their natural environments.

Client: Population Action International
Published: December 14, 2011
The Challenge
The primary challenge was to tell a complicated global story in a concise, compelling format. Climate change is an issue that manifests itself in various forms, including melting glaciers, crop failures, urbanization, and dwindling water supplies. In one short film, we wanted to travel around the world to highlight these events in both cities and remote rural locations, which meant dealing with logistical challenges around every corner, from snow squalls in the Andes to traffic jams in Kathmandu.

While science has clearly shown that our climate is changing, we wanted to focus on how those changes are impacting individual families. In order to do this, we needed to spend significant time with women living in some of the most vulnerable locations on the planet; mountain glaciers, sprawling urban slums, and rural villages that depend on agriculture to feed growing populations. Finding subjects who could articulate their experiences in a way that would allow viewers to connect with them on a personal level, to see reflections of their own lives in the stories, would be key.

Weathering Change
Weathering Change
The Solution
So that Director of Photography and Producer Nathan Golon could focus on the story, we largely depended on local segment producers to help us navigate each location. With their knowledge of language, customs, and geography, producers Zeresenay Mehari, Victoria Macchi, and Dhruba Basnet were an invaluable asset to this production.

Because climate change has been a highly politicized issue, we chose to bypass "talking head" experts and decided to focus entirely on the stories of women who confront the realities of a changing climate on a daily basis, often with their survival hanging in the balance. Our local producers allowed us to quickly connect with our subjects, which was an absolute priority during ten-day shoots that often included several locations hundreds of miles apart.

These women's stories were both intimate and informative, and underscored the fact that many of their problems — and solutions — are similar despite the distance that separates them.
The Results
Weathering Change has been translated into 7 different languages and shown to decision makers and stakeholders here in Washington, DC and around the world, including at the International Family Planning Conference in Dakar, Senegal, and COP17 in Durban, South Africa. By taking these women’s stories to policymakers, we are actively working to highlight the linkages between women’s health and climate change while also articulating the need for strengthened investment in maternal and child health, education, and women empowerment.

Furthermore, by licensing the MediaStorm Player to present and distribute the project, Population Action International has also been able to showcase the project in a way that allows it to reach as many people as possible with as much context as possible, thanks to the multi-language subtitles, surrounding metadata, and its embedding & sharing capabilities.

About the Client
Population Action International advocates for women and families to have access to contraception in order to improve their health, reduce poverty and protect their environment. Our research and advocacy strengthen U.S. and international assistance for family planning. We work with local and national leaders in developing countries to improve their reproductive health care programs and policies. PAI shows how these programs are critical to global concerns, such as preventing HIV, combating the effects of environmental degradation and climate change, and strengthening national security.
Weathering Change

Weathering Change

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