New Film: The Wisdom to Survive: Climate Change, Capitalism and Community

Here is the press release for a new documentary on climate change, as well as details of its premiere in Dallas, Texas.

Celebrate Mother’s Day by Honoring Mother Earth

Climate Change Film Debuts in Dallas May 9

“You’re born into this and you’re here to love it and to see that it goes on,” Buddhist author Joanna Macy’s soft voice delivers the heartfelt message of The Wisdom to Survive: Climate Change, Capitalism and Community. The award-winning documentary is one of the few to face the impending climate catastrophe head on.
Wisdom to Survive makes its Dallas premiere at White Rock United Methodist Church on May 9, at 7:30 pm. Co-director John Ankele will be present for Q&A. The screening is free, but donations will be accepted. The church is located at 1450 Old Gate Lane, Dallas, TX 75218. To reserve space or watch the film’s trailer, visit Brown Paper Tickets:
The 56-minute film accepts the consensus of scientists that climate change has already arrived, and asks—what is keeping us from action? In discussions with thought leaders and activists, The Wisdom to Survive explores how unlimited growth lies behind climate disruption, and is devastating our planet’s life support system, our social fabric, and the lives of billions of people. The film features Bill McKibben (, Buddhist author Joanna Macy, whale scientist Roger Payne, Herschelle Milford (Surplus People Project), Quincy Saul (Ecosocialist Horizons), and more. They provide insights, answers, and hope. What becomes clear is, we already have the tools we need to change our economy and lifestyle. Our attention must focus on taking action and building community.
Discussion follows with co-director John Ankele, Dr. Tania Homayoun, Conservation Biologist, Texas Audubon, and Yaira Robinson, Texas Interfaith Power & Light. Anna Clark of EarthPeople will moderate. A reception follows.
Dallas Interfaith Power & Light is organizing the program. Community partners include Dallas Shambhala Meditation Center and Video Association of Dallas.
Mother Nature News described The Wisdom to Survive as “one of seven must-see” films at this year’s Environmental Film Festival in Our Nation’s Capital (EFF). The documentary was the key film in the EFF’s special program “The Faith-Based Response to Climate Change.”
Frederic & Mary Ann Brussat of the influential website Spirituality & Practice write:The Wisdom to Survive offers the most inspiring, enlightening, creative, and practical overview of the spiritual dimensions of climate change that we’ve seen.”
Writes Mary Evelyn Tucker of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale: “This film is deeply moving and profoundly engaging. Indeed, it has the potential to transform lives because it provides visions of how we should live in the midst of massive environmental challenges. I cannot recommend it more highly!”
Featured in the Film
  • Rucha Chitnis, Women’s Earth Alliance
  • Nikki Cooley, Jihan Gearon and Roberto Nutlouis, Black Mesa Water Coalition
  • Ben Falk, Whole Systems Design
  • Eugene M Friesen, Composer and Cellist
  • Terran Giacomini
  • Richard Heinberg
  •  Rev. Daniel Jantos
  • Anya Kamenskaya, Future Farmers
  • Stephanie Kaza and Amy Seidl, University of Vermont
  • Joanna Macy, Author
  • Bill McKibben, Founder of
  • Herschelle Milford, Surplus People Project
  • Lawrence Mkhaliph
  • Roger Payne,
  • Quincy Saul and Joel Kovel, Eco Socialists
  • Gus Speth, Co-Founder, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
  • Seema Tripathi, Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group (GEAG)

What Viewers Are Saying

“Marvelous and moving. Beautiful work.”—Fran Korten, Yes! Magazine
“A starkly prophetic film. It combines the direst of warnings with deep love of life. Better than any other film I know, it makes clear that our profit-oriented growth economy has caused the climate catastrophe and cannot itself rescue us from disaster. We need new thinking and a new way of life.”—Tom F. Driver,  Paul Tillich Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology, Union Theological Seminary
“Brilliant, achingly poignant. Please SEE THIS FILM—bring it to your community, talk about it, share it with others. It is one of the most artfully-rendered films on the planet’s crisis (and how we move through it) I have ever seen. Extraordinarily moving.—Shyla Nelson, Founder, One Earth One Voice Campaign

“Beautiful, heartbreaking, urgent.” —Organic Soul, Natural & Holistic Living

Directors’ Statement

“Our primary goal for The Wisdom to Survive is to recruit activists. We need a big movement. And we have to connect existing movements. Some of what we’re showing is hard to watch. Whales being killed. Children starving. We’re urging our audience not to look away: take a good look! You must. Otherwise, you won’t do anything about it. You can’t remain the same, once you know. We want to inspire our viewers. Yes, climate change is horrifying. We need to know the facts and their implications, and then take action. You can be fully involved, fully aware, know that your house is on fire, and still be joyful and committed.”

About the Filmmakers

Ankele divides his time between Accord, NY, and New York City. As a producer of radio and TV programming in the 1960s, Ankele used mass media to empower faith communities advocating for civil rights and against the Vietnam War. During the struggle for independence in southern Africa, he worked with and trained political activists in the use of media to bring about social change. As an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church and as a student in the Zen and Shambhala Buddhist traditions, he has been involved for many years in interfaith dialogue around contemplative practice and social justice.

Macksoud is based in Woodstock, VT, and is co-founder of Sustainable Woodstock. She spent 17 years as a teacher (English literature, photography, and music) before transitioning to film and video production. Once she discovered the “eye-opening” power of the documentary medium, she brought rented documentaries into her classroom on a regular basis. Eventually, Macksoud began helping her students make their own films and slide shows on the issues of the day (civil rights, the Vietnam War, and global poverty, to name a few). She approaches filmmaking from the perspective of an artist as well as an educator.

Through their non-profit company Old Dog Documentaries, Macksoud and Ankele have produced timely documentaries on urgent issues about the environment, social justice, and spirituality for over 25 years. Some of their films, such as The Global Banquet: The Politics of Food and Arms for the Poor, are classic references for educational use. Like their past films, The Wisdom to Survive supports Old Dog’s mission of promoting environmental justice and inspiring viewers to become activists.
For more information about The Wisdom to Survive or to view the trailer visit:
Bullfrog Films is the educational distributor for The Wisdom to Survive; Bullfrog is a premier distributor of environmental films.
For a press screener or to book interviews with the filmmakers, contact Angela Alston at or 718-407-0670.

About Jovan Maud

I'm a lecturer in the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology at Georg-August University, Göttingen, Germany. Interests include: transnational religious networks, popular religion in Thailand, religious tourism and commodification, and digital anthropology.
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