Frequently Asked Questions

What is COMFORT ZONE about?

COMFORT ZONE shows us what climate change means in our own backyards, in a country that is a heavy producer of greenhouse gasses, and a region where people might welcome a little warmth. It is the consciousness-changing story of three ordinary Americans confronting what climate change means for us — scientifically, economically and personally — when the problem challenges our very sense of who we are. Honest, revealing, and often funny, the film gets us thinking and debating.

Is this film relevant for people who don’t live in Western New York?

Absolutely. The film highlights the universal ways in which climate change affects us and our natural world.  The effects on the physical world will be specific to each location, but the mechanisms are shared. Each ecosystem is tuned to its historic patterns of warm and cold, wet and dry, and audiences have told us that seeing the example of how the changes play out in one place gives them a deeper understanding of how they might play out in their own backyards. And the questions that climate change raises for us are the same everywhere: Why aren’t people changing? What can I personally do about this?

Who made this film? Who funded it?

The film was made by three independent filmmakers. It was funded by them and through a crowd-sourcing campaign on Indiegogo. The content of the film entirely reflects the opinions of the filmmakers, is non-partisan, and was not influenced by any organization.

Who is in the film?

The film focuses on the experience and journey of ordinary citizens. The experts interviewed are mainly from Upstate and Western New York.

What is the film like?

The film mixes a variety of styles: personal narrative, expert interviews, and light-hearted animation.

Who is this film for?

The film is suitable for anyone interested in the issue of climate change. It is designed for adults but has been shown to and appreciated by audiences as young as 4th grade.

Can the film be used in colleges or schools?

Yes, when the film is purchased with the right license. The film has already been used at the elementary school, community college, and university levels, leading to lively discussions in courses as varied as “Stress Reduction”, “Fantastic Worlds”, and of course environmental science. Audiences have included students from all over the world.

What is the short answer about the effects of climate change in Western New York?

Even if climate change is controlled, many things that are part of the fabric of the region’s identity are at risk: snowy winters, maple syrup, many kinds of apples, chickadees, hemlocks, dairy farms. Invasive weeds and parasites may thrive. Heat waves can become a public health challenge. And the delicate balance of species interactions can be threatened. If the worst forecasts come true, ecosystems can stop functioning.

Is there anything unique about the effects in Western New York?

Western New York will be one of the regions that is the least damaged by climate change. It may become a place that climate refugees move to.

Is there anything unique about the region that residents should be thinking of?

Western New York and the Great Lakes Region have abundant supplies of fresh water. While it is likely that the lakes will shrink, the fresh water is still a rare and valuable asset that needs to be protected.

How long is the film?

67 minutes.

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