Cool It for college ministers (as movie week continues!)

On Monday, I reviewed the new documentary Cool It; today I wanted to list some ways we might use it in our campus ministries.

Basically, Cool It is a helpful primer on environmental concerns that also provides an intriguing critique – aimed not so much at the prevalent science as much as at the present attempts to deal with climate change. (Remember, the movie doesn’t deny climate change is happening, and it doesn’t deny it’s a problem. This is not a particularly “right wing” film.)

A random example of the Cool It approach: Lomborg, the movie’s protagonist and narrator, argues that while present efforts to slow climate change will perhaps save one polar bear a year, many more polar bears would be saved if we simply quit shooting lots and lots of them.

There’s lots of neato inventions, too. And animals. I like animals.

If your college ministry needs to talk about this issue or if you’re on a campus that might be drawn to these sorts of discussions, I encourage you at least to go see Cool It. Then you can decide if you want to make use of it and/or the Bible-based discussion guide provided by Reel Truths (which doesn’t look like it requires actually seeing the film).

In any case, here are some ways Cool It might be a help to you as a college minister:

  • It may help you catch up in the climate change discussion, regardless of what you believe. (It sure helped me catch up!) Do you know what “cap and trade” is? How much money is being spent on this issue? What happened in Copenhagen just this year? Understanding these climate change issues will at least help you discuss it, as needed, among your campus tribe.
  • In general, something like this is great for kicking off discussion about how and why we help the world (both its people and the planet). Watching this movie with a bunch of students and then discussing it (even just over yogurt) would be a fruitful time.
  • Specifically, Cool It proposes a vital question: What does it mean to truly impact our world for good? As Christians, we should be leading the charge to love in deeds and truth and not just “words and tongue.” As one person in the movie puts it, “It’s not about feeling good about yourself, it’s about actually doing good.” Could that be any more relevant to college students on our campuses?
  • Another specific application from this movie is simply being wise about our stances. The movie helps (it seems) to balance out the arguments. If anybody needs to learn always to back up their zeal with knowledge AND not immediately assume that the popular or emotional arguments are automatically correct , it’s collegians.
  • It’s a movie! And that provides a natural way to get students involved – including students who wouldn’t normally be interested. Couple that with discussion, and you’ve got a neat springboard. The study guide puts it this way:

While a movie provides the framework of discussion, the Bible informs the nature and the direction of the discussion. Your goal through each discussion, therefore, is not necessarily to cover every theme from the movie or to get to every movie clip. Instead, it should be to use the themes of the movie to point each person in your group to God.

I’d encourage you to check out the study guide. As I skimmed it, I was impressed – it’s got links to movie clips, great discussion starters, and so on. They’ve made it easy to discuss this from a spiritual standpoint, with Christians and non-Christians alike.

The movie’s main site is here, and you can find out if it’s in your city now or is opening this weekend.


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