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Chris Packham: Is It Time To Break The Law? | Preview (Channel 4)

Chris Packham has spent his lifetime committed to cherishing and celebrating the natural world, but climate change now threatens the very thing he loves the most. With the cost of the climate crisis threatening our world Chris Packham looks at what he, and the rest of us can do to save it.

The spectre of climate change has been known about for decades, and both scientists and activists have been urging the world to tackle it during all that time.

Promises have been made and broken and experts are now suggesting this lack of action means we are “sleepwalking into oblivion”. Every year, carbon emissions continue to rise and environmentalists are taking more extreme measures to get through to those in charge.

All his life, Chris has been committed to the idea that we must protest peacefully, and within the law. Chris is so concerned at the missed targets and lack of action he has begun to question if peaceful protest is pointless.

Facing the stark fact that decades of peaceful protesting has not managed to drive real and systemic change toward halting climate change, Chris is now asking himself and viewers the shocking question, does extreme need require extreme measures? Would more disruptive protest methods finally force governments into action? Is now the time to break the law?

The history of successful protest movements in the past has often included law-breaking. The Suffragettes damaged property, and chained themselves to railings and Gandhi was repeatedly imprisoned for defying British laws. Some climate change activists now believe the situation is so dire that it is time for the climate movement to follow their example.

Meeting activists and environmentalists, as well as politicians and police, Chris will explore this most timely of debates. As protestors continue to break the law, and be imprisoned for it, and as changes to British law make it harder to protest, Chris will consider their impact on the climate movement – and question whether more people should be joining them for the sake of the planet.

This intensely personal film follows Chris as he grapples with deeply ethical questions: Is the threat of climate change so serious, that law-breaking in the name of stopping it can ever be ethically justified? And where do the responsibilities lie, in trying to halt continued carbon emissions?

Chris Packham said: "Scientists, activists and naturalists like myself have been delving deep into the pressing issues surrounding the climate crisis for decades, shedding light on the disheartening reality that governments continue to fall short on their environmental promises...

"Peaceful protest has been a cornerstone of activism, but as the urgency grows, we must question whether it is enough. What will compel decision-makers to listen and take decisive action? The time for complacency has long passed, and it is up to us to drive a tornado of change that cannot be ignored. Our planet's survival depends on it."

David Dehaney said: “Proper Content are thrilled to be following Chris as he grapples with this vital question of how far individuals could, or should, go to stand up for the planet. This journey of standing up to injustice while forging a positive blueprint for change is one that we often feature in our programmes but never before has it felt so urgent, or universally resonant.”

Alf Lawrie said: “Through this deeply personal, bold, and timely film we hope to recognise the powerlessness many feel in how to stop climate change. Together with other films in this season we hope to explore what we, as citizens, can do to play our part in driving real and positive change.”

Chris Packham: Is It Time To Break The Law airs Wednesday 20th September on Channel 4.


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