by Michael Cleland
September marks the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol, the international ozone treaty that solved the ozone crisis. Steven Dorst’s new documentary, “Shattered Sky,” tells the historical success story of, “how America led the world to solve the biggest environmental crisis ever seen,” according to the documentary’s Facebook page.
“In 1987, 25 countries negotiated under the banner of the U.N. Environmental Program and agreed to cut CFC production by 50 percent,” said Dorst in an interview with Policy Innovations. “Shattered Sky” aims to inspire the American public to take the same initiative in solving climate change today.
“The [Montreal] Protocol’s pattern of start and strengthen is a great lesson in solving climate change,” Dorst said. “I believe that being a good country in the global community is not so different. It’s well past time for the United States to take responsibility, get its own house in order, and lead the world to a fair global treaty.”
The TV version of the film premiered Sept. 16 on U.S. public television, but without further campaign money, the film won’t see further distribution. Dorst has funded the film mostly himself, and has created a campaign on Kickstarter, in which supporters can contribute money up to Sept. 21 to help reach the $35,000 goal needed for further distribution. As of Sept. 16, $12,200 has been pledged.
With the money Dorst will be able to “submit ‘Shattered Sky’ to festivals across the country, attend grass-root screenings, and work hard so the film plays on PBS stations in all 50 states,” according to Kickstarter.
The theatrical release for “Shattered Sky” premiered in March at the Environmental Film Festival in Washington, D.C. “It tells the story of something big—a big problem that we solved—just like the one ahead of us (climate change), that we can win,” a man said after the film’s premiere.
Backer rewards include your name listed on the “Shattered Sky” website if at least $5 is pledged, an autographed copy of the film if a minimum of $100 is pledged, or a private dinner with Dorst and a co-producer credit at $2,000, according to Kickstarter. If the goal is not reached, the campaign money will revert back to contributors.
Dorst is aware that politics play a big part in pushing for climate change. As the November election approaches, he’s noticed President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have scarcely covered climate change in their campaign speeches. He’s started a petition to force the candidates’ attention to this issue called, “Obama & Romney: What’s Your Plan to Solve Energy & Climate Change?” With so much of their focus on the bad economy, climate change has gone unnoticed. Dorst is asking for 100,000 signatures by Election Day, Nov. 6. As of Sept. 16, the petition has been signed by 6,976 people.
Pushing for climate change may harm certain businesses by cutting their product, which is part of the reason why it’s unpopular. “Businesses stand to lose the most, with billions of dollars invested in the offending technologies. As a result, industry spares no expense opposing change,” Dorst said in an interview with Policy Innovations.
The Montreal Protocol has been signed by 197 countries since its 1987 conception. Because of the world’s collaborative effort, nearly all ozone-depleting substances have been eradicated and the ozone hole is shrinking steadily. Dorst wants to inform America’s future generations about this important historical precedent, and that direct action for climate change should be the next step.
“If you decide to make my Kickstarter project a success, then people across America will be able to know how we solved the ozone crisis, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to say in a not so distant future, that we all helped to restore a can-do attitude on climate change,” said Dorst in the “Shattered Sky” trailer. To contribute, visit to the film’s Kickstarter campaign. To sign the petition, visit the Care2 Petition Site.