The Redford Center: The Happening Project

100% clean energy is 100% HAPPENING. Join The Happening Project campaign to help accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The Problem

The convenience of energy usage has come at a profound cost to human and planetary health, and few of us even know where, exactly, our energy comes from, or how much of it we use throughout each day, week, or year. We are consuming energy at ever increasing rates, and the impacts of climate change are occurring faster than climate scientists predicted. Recent polling on climate change shows that the majority of Americans now believe that climate change is real and is happening, but that very same majority does not necessarily believe that climate change is caused by human activities, nor that it will affect them personally. It’s a disconnect, to be sure, and can be attributed to the fact that climate change is the “single most polarizing political issue” of our time.

The current administration—by pretending science and climate change doesn’t exist with removal of the word from the EPA mission statement and actions like pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement—has only exacerbated the matter. And mainstream media isn’t helping, either. Consider New York Magazine’s “The Uninhabitable Earth” (2017) and Alternet’s “We’re Past The Point Of No Return On Climate” (2016)—just a small sample of the seemingly endless gloomy, doomsday reporting that only tells half the story. The science and facts are of course important, but the pervasive story has been dangerously skewed toward defeat, rendering most of us helpless and hopeless to act.

The Solution

Utilizing the feature-length documentary film Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution as its primary communications tool, The Happening Project will shift the public narrative away from the divisive, paralyzing, gloomy climate change narrative, toward a solutions-based and participatory dialogue about clean energy. Because things are happening: communities in Buffalo, New York are transforming public housing into money-saving net zero emissions homes. Creators are inventing turbines that capture electricity from moving water without disturbing the existing environment. And individuals in communities around the country are fighting for their right to choose clean energy. The point is, more is happening around clean energy than most of us know. And The Happening Project is going to change that.

Clean energy is our best chance for curbing the effects of climate change, and everyone can participate: For many citizens, clean energy is a road toward energy independence. For young people, clean energy is our best hope for a safer, more sustainable future. For businesses and investors, clean energy pushes technological innovation and opens doors to new markets. For the labor movement and low-income communities, clean energy has the potential to create millions of green jobs and transform neighborhoods. Faith communities also find purpose in clean energy, to be responsible stewards of creation. The climate movement is in desperate need of a new narrative. One that unifies, speaks to our common desires for clean air, cheap energy, economic stability and good health. One that’s hopeful, demonstrates inspiring progress, and showcases fresh leadership in unexpected places.

Stage of Development

  • Early Stage
  • Established Prototype
  • Scaling
  • Other

Organization to Receive Funds

The Redford Foundation. Co-founded by Robert Redford and his son James in 2005, The Redford Center harnesses the power of documentary films and impact campaigns to help tip the scales on critical environmental and social issues. The Redford Center’s original productions include: FIGHTING GOLIATH: Texas Coal Wars (2008) which helped prevent the construction of 177 new coal-powered plants. WATERSHED (2012) secured $10 million to support on-the-ground restoration work and obtain water rights for the delta region.

This project was nominated by: