Johanna Jaurich is a director, producer and author of sustainable documentaries for TV and cinema. In collaboration with renowned producer Carl-A. Fechner, she is currently working on the global impact and film project THE STORY OF A NEW WORLD. Johanna speaks with us about pathways out of the socio-ecological crisis and her vision for a sustainable future…
1) With the Energy Watch Group, we envision and work towards a zero-emissions world where no more greenhouse gases are emitted, and atmospheric carbon dioxide is reduced to a climate-protecting level of 350 ppm. What does your vision of a new world include?
I also share this vision. At the same time, I think it is important to solve the climate crisis not only in terms of the level of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere but also to change our inner attitude, which has led us into this historically unique moment of multiple crises in the first place. Because in addition to the climate crisis, we also have a biodiversity crisis and a justice crisis. Therefore, my vision of a sustainable and beautiful future is that we see ourselves as part of a complex system, not to exploit nature and its inhabitants for short-term profit interests, but to strive for collaboration and synergies, like win-win situations. For example, this includes wilderness preservation, plant-based nutrition, 100% renewable energies, wealth redistribution (e.g. through an universal basic income), diversity and gender justice at all decision-making levels, democratic participation and constructive, sustainable education for all age groups. A sustainable future can only succeed in the trinity of human rights, Sustainable Development Goals and Inner Development Goals!
2) At the moment, global crises seem to be increasing in frequency and intensity, fueling each other. What keeps you optimistic that another world is possible?
I interpret the strengthening of conservative forces, wars based on power interests, and struggles over finite resources as the last gasp of the “old world,” while the new one is already emerging in many places. I find inspiration in this notion, for example, in constructive news formats and platforms such as Perspective Daily, Good News, The Do Community, UpLink, the Ashoka network, and Futurewoman. What gives me hope these days: Renewable energy is cheaper and easier to get than ever before. Supply chain laws ensure fairer working conditions in global production chains. Circular economies show that waste can be used as a valuable resource. Well-being Economies such as in New Zealand involve the well-being of all citizens. Countless initiatives such as Reinventing Society, Change Now, Transition Towns, the Last Generation, scientists, social entrepreneurs and media professionals are working every day to turn the tide and show how sustainable change can be achieved by joining forces. We humans strive to be happy. When we turn our gaze more to the variety of sustainable alternatives, we find that the people who engage in them are more satisfied, healthier, and happier. Buckminster Fuller has a quote that describes this attraction very accurately for me: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” And this new model has long been in the making.
3) Okay, so what can I do? How can individuals fuel the transition? How can people get empowered?
The first thing to acknowledge is that we are all equally overwhelmed by the problems we have collectively manoeuvred ourselves into. When we allow these feelings of powerlessness, fear, cynicism, panic or frustration to come through and honestly share them with others, windows of opportunity emerge. No one must save the world on their own, and no one can. Therefore, my number one tip is to feel inside which topic, which area really brings me deep joy (for me it is filmmaking) and then to bundle my joy and love with other like-minded people and use it to create sustainable alternatives. In cities everywhere, there are now environmental groups, online networks, neighbourhood projects and so on in which I can become active – and perhaps even make new friends. Apart from that, the power we have as consumers should not be underestimated. It’s easier than ever to buy regional food, use public transportation, use green electricity, switch to a sustainable bank like GLS or Triodos and go and vote. And perhaps most importantly, use the effect of swarm intelligence and tell other people about your challenges, plans, successes and moments of happiness in sustainable change. Because that is contagious!
4) Which role do you think, renewable energies can and must play in this new world?
We live in a digitalized, electrified world, at least in this part of the world. Our enormous energy needs must be met from renewable sources; anything else is suicide. In non-electrified parts of the world, renewable energies such as solar panels on roofs in rural areas on the African continent are the key to ensuring that people can lead a dignified life and have access to health care and education.
5) What potential do you see in your film as a contribution to the global transformations that are so urgently needed?
We need to be able to imagine a more beautiful, sustainable world in order to take the steps ahead of us into that future. Collective stories have always shaped our imagination. For me personally, the big sustainable changes in my life have always been related to stories, more specifically to movies: When I saw AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, I became an environmentalist. When I saw EARTHLINGS, I became a vegetarian. And when I saw TOMORROW, I took the steps needed to become a constructive documentary filmmaker. I have been able to feel the power of films in my own life, so I put my skills, my passion and my time in the service of sharing constructive stories and showing alternatives with others!
With THE STORY OF A NEW WORLD, we turn passive viewers into active changemakers. To do this, we use two tools: Firstly, with THE STORY OF A NEW WORLD, the special combination of documentary solutions and the dramatic feature film framing allows us to reach a broad audience and equip them with courage and a vision. Secondly, with impact campaigns on the ground in 50 countries, we bring audiences and local sustainable change activists and stakeholders together after the screenings and while they are still in the cinema. This will help people to network and shape change in their own communities. With this film, we hope to inspire an enthusiasm for a sustainable future and support people in becoming part of the story of a new world themselves!
6) What are the core messages you want to convey to the world through your film?
First of all, external change needs internal change. We will not solve the problems with the same mindset with which we caused them. Therefore, in addition to the Sustainable Development Goals, we now also need to train the Inner Development Goals, competencies such as an inner compass, critical thinking, complexity awareness, connectedness, co-creation skills, trust and perseverance. With THE STORY OF A NEW WORLD, we show concrete examples and role models who are already living this change both internally and externally.
7) How can people support you concretely in the realization of this project?
We are currently in the independent financing phase and everyone can participate: be it with individual tickets in advance (of which each ticket here in Germany includes four free solidarity tickets for people in the global south), as a corporate sponsor or as an impact investor. All information can be found on our website www.storyofanewworld.com. In our newsletter and on our social media channels (Instagram, Facebook @storyofanewworld), we keep our community regularly updated on the progress of the project – and let you know first as soon as the film is released in theatres with the worldwide impact campaigns!