The classroom in the back of Fogler Library was filled with a large crowd of students and faculty on Tuesday, March 22, gathered together for a free presentation of the film, “Merchants of Doubt.”

Based off Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway’s book of the same name, the film “takes audiences on a satirically comedic, yet illuminating ride into the heart of conjuring American spin.”

The film highlights people who, presenting themselves to the media as “scientists,” are paid to create doubt about climate change, despite innumerable scientific studies pointing toward its existence, according to the film’s website.

Many of those attending the viewing were intrigued by the plot of the film and how it deals with the skewing of information presented about climate change.  

“I’m planning on going into climate change,” anthropology student, Bethany Elfaham, said. “The film is focused on people that are making doubt about climate change. I wanted to watch a film on finding more examples about climate change, and getting better ways to explain it to the public.”

“I was interested in coming tonight because I am interested in climate change and changing people’s mind about it,” University of Maine anthropology and psychology student, Mariah Geer said.   

The showing of the film is part of a film series that is being sponsored by Fogler Library, the Climate Change Institute and the Departments of Anthropology, Communication and Journalism and Political Science.  

“As part of my role, I work with several departments on campus and over the last three years, I’ve been working with an Anthropology professor, Cindy Eisenhower, to put on the Human Dimensions of Climate Change Exhibit and Film Series,” Jennifer Bonnet, a liaison librarian in social sciences and humanities at Fogler Library, said.

Following the film was a discussion led by Assistant Professor of Communication and Journalism, Dr. Laura Rickard.  

“Part of it [the film series] is to help educate the campus community, and broader community, around issues of how humans are adapting to climate change or being impacted by climate change,” Bonnet said. “Part of it is also to tie into the courses and new major of anthropology around the human dimensions of climate change.”

“Merchants of Doubt” was the third film to be shown in the series, with two more films, “This Changes Everything” and “In the Path of Resistance,” to be shown in the following weeks. Each film in the series is available to view on Fogler Library’s film database.  

“I think one of the things that we are hoping is that people have an opportunity to talk about some of the complex issues that surround the films, but also the idea of climate change and its impact on people and the environment,” Bonnet said. “It’s a way to provide an opportunity for dialogue and it’s also a way for people to think critically about films themselves, and about how information is communicated about climate change.”

 

  • David Laing

    People who watch this film should be aware that all is not black and white. Science is never absolute. and it is not always correct. Responsible science requires healthy skepticism. All who doubt the reality of AGW are not paid by the oil industry. Some have legitimate concerns about the science involved, and they may well, like myself, be progressive liberals. In my own case, I agree with AGW, but I disagree with the unsubstantiated claim that it was caused by CO2. Most troubling is that there is no experimental proof of this, only theory and correlation, which is poor. Correlation with anthropogenic CFC emission is far better.