New Documentary Asks, Will We Have Wisdom to Survive?

December 2013
Press Release

Release Date: Nov. 1, 2013

Contact: Angela Alston, 718-407-0670, angela at


“You can’t talk about it. Mainstream society doesn’t want to hear about our sorrow for life on Earth.” Author Joanna Macy’s soft voice delivers the heartfelt message of The Wisdom to Survive: Climate Change, Capitalism and Community. The new film is one of the few to face the impending climate catastrophe head on. 

The film accepts the consensus of scientists that climate change has already arrived, and asks—what is keeping us from action? In discussions with thought leaders and activists, The Wisdom to Survive explores how unlimited growth lies behind climate disruption, and is devastating our planet’s life support system, our social fabric, and the lives of billions of people. The film features Bill McKibben (, author Joanna Macy, whale scientist Roger Payne, Herschelle Milford (Surplus People Project), Quincy Saul (Ecosocialist Horizons), and more. They provide insights, answers, and hope. What becomes clear is, we already have the tools we need to change our economy and lifestyle. Our attention must focus on taking action and building community.

Writes Mary Evelyn Tucker of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale: “This film is deeply moving and profoundly engaging. Indeed, it has the potential to transform lives because it provides visions of how we should live in the midst of massive environmental challenges. I cannot recommend it more highly!” 

Bullfrog Films is the the educational distributor for The Wisdom to Survive. It’s available for individual purchase on the Old Dog Documentaries website.

Featured in the Film

•       Rucha Chitnis, Women’s Earth Alliance

•       Nikki Cooley, Jihan Gearon and Roberto Nutlouis, Black Mesa Water Coalition

•       Ben Falk, Whole Systems Design

•       Eugene M Friesen, Composer and Cellist

•       Terran Giacomini

•       Richard Heinberg

•       Rev. Daniel Jantos

•       Anya Kamenskaya, Future Farmers

•       Stephanie Kaza and Amy Seidl, University of Vermont

•       Joanna Macy, Author

•       Bill McKibben, Founder of

•       Herschelle Milford, Surplus People Project

•       Lawrence Mkhaliph

•       Roger Payne,

•       Quincy Saul and Joel Kovel, Eco Socialists

•       Gus Speth, Co-Founder, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

•       Seema Tripathi, Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group (GEAG)


Directors’ Statement

“Our primary goal for The Wisdom to Survive is to recruit activists. We need a big movement. And we have to connect existing movements. Some of what we're showing is hard to watch. Whales being killed. Children starving. We're urging our audience not to look away: take a good look! You must. Otherwise, you won't do anything about it. You can't remain the same, once you know. We want to inspire our viewers. Yes, climate change is horrifying. We need to know the facts and their implications, and then take action. You can be fully involved, fully aware, know that your house is on fire, and still be joyful and committed.”

About the Filmmakers

Ankele divides his time between Accord, NY, and New York City. As a producer of radio and TV programming in the 1960s, Ankele used mass media to empower faith communities advocating for civil rights and against the Vietnam War. During the struggle for independence in southern Africa, he worked with and trained political activists in the use of media to bring about social change. As an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church and as a student in the Zen and Shambhala Buddhist traditions, he has been involved for many years in interfaith dialogue around contemplative practice and social justice.

Macksoud is based in Woodstock, VT, and is co-founder of Sustainable Woodstock. She spent 17 years as a teacher (English literature, photography, and music) before transitioning to film and video production. Once she discovered the “eye-opening” power of the documentary medium, she brought rented documentaries into her classroom on a regular basis. Eventually, Macksoud began helping her students make their own films and slide shows on the issues of the day (civil rights, the Vietnam War, and global poverty, to name a few). She approaches filmmaking from the perspective of an artist as well as an educator.

Through their non-profit company Old Dog Documentaries, Macksoud and Ankele have produced timely documentaries on urgent issues about the environment, social justice, and spirituality for over 25 years. Some of their films, such as The Global Banquet: The Politics of Food and Arms for the Poor, are classic references for educational use. Like their past films, The Wisdom to Survive supports Old Dog’s mission of promoting environmental justice and inspiring viewers to become activists.

For more information about The Wisdom to Survive or to view the trailer visit:

For a press screener or to book interviews with the filmmakers, contact Angela Alston at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 718-407-0670.