17 year-old Sofiya Suleimenova interviews Kasha Slavner
November 3, 2023
"We can drive systemic change" - Filmmaker urges youth to take action in climate crisis
An award-winning filmmaker is urging the younger generation to take action to “drive systemic change” in the fight against the “hugely overwhelming existential threats” of the climate crisis.
Kasha Slavner, 25, who is also a social impact filmmaker, has taken up the cause in a bid to highlight and help save the “fate of our planet.”
The Canadian, who was born and raised in Toronto, has been advocating for change since the age of 8 and is adamant that young people should take the lead on climate justice and not leave it up to the older generation.
In an interview with Harbingers’ Magazine, Kasha shared the idea behind her soon-to-be-released documentary on the climate crisis and how militarism has impacted the climate crisis.
She described finding the connection between climate advocacy and militarism as “a really big puzzle piece that we needed to connect to create climate justice.”
Kasha observed that “the impact of militarisation was not being addressed in mainstream climate conversations,” such as at the UN Conference of the Parties (COP).
She explained: “Just like we need to consider phasing out fossil fuels to end the climate crisis, we also need to look at who is consuming the most fossil fuels and systems that are contaminating our planet.”
She argued that both military emissions, as well as the military occupation of indigenous peoples’ lands need to be held to account.
With ‘1.5 Degrees of Peace’, a feature documentary in production, Kasha aims to bring awareness to the link between the climate crisis and militarisation through the power of storytelling. She has been able to start conversations in the fields of climate justice, peace and disarmament, encouraging collaboration between movements.
In the documentary, experiences of young activists are interwoven with opinions of experts in their respective fields to show both global significance of the movements and the urgency of acting upon them.
When asked about the importance of youth advocating for change, Kasha remarked that while people under 18 are unable to vote, they hold power to influence positive change in the community at national and even global level.
“I think that if we look at the fate of our planet, we shouldn't leave it entirely to older generations,” she said.
Now, 25 year-old Kasha decided to pursue a career in filmmaking instead of going to university after finishing high school.
She highlighted that she learnt a lot from first-hand experience, her mentors and through platforms such as Youtube and Google, which she described with a smile as staying true to “the style of our generation.”
“I would say that, although I didn’t study in a traditional sense, I have learned a lot in my career,” Kasha added.
In development for the past few years, ‘1.5 Degrees of Peace’ is planned to be released late 2024 or early 2025.
The character-driven documentary focuses on stories of young activists living in regions impacted by “the nexus of climate change, conflicts and militarization.”
It shows the struggle and challenges that these young activists face in voicing and acting upon the importance of living in harmony with both the planet and each other.
The filmmaker added that the film also sheds light on “the revolutionary love, community and the visionary solutions that are driving them to create a better world and to solve those kinds of injustices.”
Through these personal stories of youth, ‘1.5 Degrees of Peace’ aims to inspire others to rise up and protect the environment.
“Oftentimes we may not feel like we have the power to drive systemic change, but we really do,” highlighted Kasha.
Kasha hopes ‘1.5 Degrees of Peace’ will enable the youth to resonate with the protagonists and give them “the courage to cope with the hugely overwhelming existential threats that we face as a generation.”
Asking, “how can we have a healthy planet if we don’t have healthy people?”