“A Way Forward” Premieres at the United Nations

National Geographic-UN Foundation Short Film Opens UN Special Session On Climate Change

New York, NY

September 24, 2007


Megan Rabbitt

In 2007, clear scientific consensus was expressed about the realities of climate change in a series of United Nations-sponsored reports, endorsed by more than 150 countries. The conclusion of the reports made clear the link between climate change and human activities, including the burning of fossil fuels and land use practice. The scientists were unanimous that in order to prevent catastrophic changes to our environment, world leaders must act with urgency.

To help spread this message around the globe, The United Nations Foundation announced today the global premiere of “A Way Forward: Confronting Climate Change“, a short, documentary-style film illustrating the devastating impacts of climate and highlighting the work of the United Nations and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The film, written and produced by the National Geographic Society, opened the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Event on Climate Change, a global discussion attended by senior leaders from more than 80 countries on climate change.

In his opening remarks at the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Event on Climate Change, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ban Ki-moon thanked National Geographic and the UN Foundation for the film and “their contribution to humanity” and stressed that the time for action related to climate change is now. “The time for doubt has passed,” Ban said.

“We commend the Secretary-General for his leadership on climate change and agree that the time to act is now,” said Timothy E. Wirth, president of the United Nations Foundation. “We hope this film will educate individuals across the world about the effects of climate change and will encourage them to demand immediate action from their leaders. We thank National Geographic for their expertise and help in making this film a reality.”

“National Geographic believes in the power of strong, factual and visual stories to inspire people to care about the planet. The story of what’s happening in climate change may be the most important in the history of mankind, and we are honored to have been asked to assist the UN Foundation in creating this meaningful way to begin such a crucial day of discussions,” said Terry Garcia, executive vice president of Mission Programs for the National Geographic Society.

The high-level event—The Future in Our Hands; Addressing the Leadership Challenge of Climate Change—which takes place one day before the opening of the UN General Assembly’s annual General Debate—is aimed at securing political commitment and building momentum for the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali where negotiations about a new international climate agreement should start.

Created by National Geographic and the UN Foundation, in consultation with the UN and the IPCC, the eight-minute film outlines the scientific findings, illustrates some of the immediate implications of climate change and highlights some of responses that were suggested by leading scientists. After today, it will also be featured online at the National Geographic (www.nationalgeographic.com), the UN Foundation (www.UNFoundation.org) and the UN’s Climate Change website (www.un.org/climatechange).


About the United Nations Foundation
The UN Foundation was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. The UN Foundation builds and implements public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems and also works to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. The UN Foundation is a public charity. For more information, visit www.UNFoundation.org.

About the National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 300 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; school publishing programs; interactive media; and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 8,000 scientific research projects and supports an education program combating geographic illiteracy. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.

Press Contact:
Katherine Miller, UN Foundation
(c) 202.247.7280
(e) kmiller@unfoundation.org