Ricky Jones lives in a van with his wife, spends his days roaming the woods and makes a living making a difference — collecting genetic data of big-leafed maples as part of an effort to cut down on illegal logging. “Why wouldn’t you want to do your part to give back to the community?” he asks. “And the community being the entire world.”
The insights of ocean activist Jean-Michel Cousteau bracket this film from 27-year-old Slater Jewell-Kemker, which chronicles the rise of the global youth climate movement. “We are using the ocean as a garbage can,” Cousteau tells the precocious documentary filmmaker/climate activist at the beginning of the film in 2004. Five years later, Jewell-Kemker is a youth delegate to Copenhagen’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP), forging friendships that will take her around the globe. She visits activists in Nepal — amidst escalating flooding where many have no “hope at all” — and Bangladesh, where her friend asks world leaders, “Would it hurt you to just come and take a look?” In 2014, Jewell-Kemker pronounces the 2015 Paris COP promising. At age 26, she asks Cousteau what keeps him going. “What gave me hope is I met you when you were 12,” he replies.