Book club invites community to read, watch film, and talk about climate change

RENSSELAERVILLE — An unusual book club at the Carey Institute for Global Good wants to to get community members together to encourage dialogue about social issues like climate change and prison reform.

“Our intention was to engage the Hilltown community here in upstate New York to have a dialogue on the most pressing issues of the day,” said Carlene Willsie, program manager for the Logan Nonfiction Program, which grants fellowships for longform journalism.

The fellows live and work at the Carey Institute’s bucolic campus. Supported by the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, independent journalists and documentary filmmakers explore social change issues throughout the globe. The foundation also funds projects for journalists who are under threat in their home countries. This could range from a variety of issues like personal threats or digital security issues, according to Willsie.

The campus of the not-for-profit institute also hosts the Helderberg Brewery, a farm brewery operated by the Institute’s Sustainable Communities Program.

Hence, the book club is named Longform & Lagers.

Its next project pairs a book with a film to focus discussion on the effects of climate change and the government’s role in mitigating and responding to natural disasters past, present, and future.

The book is “Five Days at Memorial,” by Logan Nonfiction Advisory Board member Sheri Fink. A Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and a physician, Fink, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, reconstructs in her book, five days at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans.

With excessive heart, rising floodwaters, and power failures, medical staff made choices about which patients to treat first. Several later faced criminal charges that they had injected patients with drugs to hasten their deaths.

The film is “Before the Flood,” directed by Fisher Stevens and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. First aired on National Geographic before being distributed into theaters and Netflix, the film focuses on climate change with DiCaprio traveling to five continents and talking to scientists and experts in the field.

“The question is: Can we change the course in time?” DiCaprio asks in the film. If not, he says, “We and all living things we cherish are history.”

The Longform & Lagers book club will host a screening of “Before the Flood” on Tuesday, Sept. 10, at the Guggenheim Pavilion on the Carey Institute campus at 63 Huyck Road.

The second meeting on climate change, to discuss “Five Days at Memorial” will be on Wednesday, Oct. 9, at 6 p.m.

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