Center for Environmental Filmmaking 2020 Winners Announced, UN Unveils Climate Action Superheroes, Canada Invests in Supporting Indigenous Peoples Lands, New Way to Track the Laurentide Ice Sheet

by | Feb 16, 2021 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

The Center for Environmental Filmmaking announces its 2020 Eco-Comedy Award winners! plus, Canada makes a further investment in supporting indigenous peoples protected areas. The United Nations unveils eight Climate Action superheroes, and, scientists provide a new glacial chronology for tracking the historic Laurentide ice sheet!



The ninth annual Eco-Comedy Awards occurred recently, and for the first time, online. The Eco-Comedy awards is a film competition sponsored by the Center for Environmental Filmmaking at American University, along with co-founder The Nature Conservancy, AND partners Center for Media and Social Impact, and Office of Sustainability both at American University, as well as Clean Air Partners.

Each year, the Eco-Comedy Awards offer a theme around which film shorts must be produced for submission. This year’s theme was a dual one: clean air and clean water. 177 filmmakers from over 30 countries vied for the top spot in one of five categories. And the winners are:

  1.     WORLDWIDE K-8:                               “Turtle vs. Plastic Bag” by Helena and Emmeth
  2.     WORLDWIDE HIGH SCHOOL:              “Roberto and the Three Ghosts by Justin Allan McMillan and The Point CDC, Hunts Point in South Bronx, NY
  3.     WORLDWIDE COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY: “Walter’s Daily Routine” by Josh Joe
  4.     WORLDWIDE NON-STUDENT:            “Old Habits are Hard to Break” by Aurelia Raoull (France)
  5.     WASH/BALTIMORE, K-8:                     “Chop”, created by Alexus McBride and Tamia Sarvis, scholars from the Media Rhythm Institute in Baltimore, MD

Finalists and winners of each category can be viewed on the CEF website and on the CEF Youtube channel as well.




The Canadian government allocated $1.4 million to aid an Indigenous-led research of over 59,300 acres of remote Arctic islands. Reported by The Narwhal, the 24 remote islands in northeastern Hudson Bay provide a critical habitat for species impacted by climate change, particularly polar bears.

The northern village of Inukjuak, located on the Hudson Bay, received this federal support. In an interview with The Narwhal, the town manager and chair of the protected area steering committee said the ecosystem will not be able to function without polar bears.

He went on to say polar bears maintain an essential balance in the ecosystem’s food chain. Without polar bears, the marine ecosystem and local economy will be impacted tremendously. The majority of the government funding will go towards research and focus on polar bears in the preliminary studies.

2020 is on track to be the worst year for Arctic sea ice melting due to global warming, so funding for this research couldn’t come at a more critical time.  

DEEPER DIVE: The Narwhal



The Climate Action Superheroes are the face of a new campaign, recently launched on UN social media platforms, aimed at mobilizing children under 12 to recycle and to save water and energy.  “We want children to be aware of the difference they can make through everyday actions”, said Nanette Braun, Director of Campaigns in the UN Department of Global Communications,

She went on to say Lifelong behaviors are shaped at an early age and we hope that providing the knowledge and tools to help build a more sustainable future will have lasting impact. The rainbow of quirky superheroes is armed with advice on how youngsters can take meaningful action for themselves, and their families. 

They include the Energy Expert, Recycle Ranger, Green Guide  Water Wizard, Truth Talker, Veggie Vindicator, Fashion Fixer, and Fume Fighter who will engage children, and parents, in fun missions on topics such as reducing single-use plastic, saving energy and conserving water.  Children and their parents can learn about the superheroes and their many missions through a colourful, animated world on the UN website. 

The campaign concept was developed by students at Parsons School of Design, part of The New School, a prestigious university in New York City, home to UN Headquarters. The hop is that by engaging children, the UN targets the consumers and decision-makers of the future, who will drive the change the world needs.




During the Ice Age, nearly two-thirds of global sea level rise was caused by melting of the North American Laurentide ice sheet, the greatest ice sheet to exist during that time. Researchers have long tracked the timing and retreat patterns of this historic ice sheet to understand how modern ice sheets respond to climate change today.  

And now, thanks to a team of scientists, research on the Laurentide melting patterns has nearly quadrupled. One of these scientists is Thomas Lowell, a geology professor at the University of Cincinnati. For over 40 years, Lowell has studied the Laurentide and tracked key behaviors the ice sheet exhibited during climate changes.  

Over a five-year research process, Lowell and a team of scientists assembled the first-ever annual chronology tracking the amount of meltwater released and the rate at which the Laurentide retreated, which he presented at the annual Comer Climate Conference, a summit where climate scientists from around the world gather to present emerging research. This new chronology will be critical for assessing the response of past and present ice sheets to climate change.

DEEPER DIVE:  A new glacial varve chronology along the southern Laurentide Ice Sheet that spans the Younger Dryas–Holocene boundary