James is an adventurer and filmmaker crazy for stories that explore how amazing the natural world is… and how amazing we humans can be too. His award-winning films have not only taken him to some of the most extreme environments on the planet, they have opened his eyes to the power of film and its potential to change people’s perspectives.
– What first inspired you to take a stance on climate change?
The more I learned about climate change and the lack of action, the more concerned I got. Then I very nearly died in the 3rd most intense hurricane to ever strike the United States. That was the straw on the camel’s back. I returned home determined to do something and found my inspiration in the incredible youth protest movements.
– What would you say to someone who refuses to acknowledge climate change?
In his brilliant book, ‘Overstory’, Richard Powers writes, “The best arguments in the world won’t change a person’s mind. The only thing that can do that is good story.” That makes a lot of sense to me so in my role as an adventurer and filmmaker I try to inspire change through powerful stories.
– What are the biggest stumbling blocks to tackling climate change and what frustrates you the most?
One of the biggest stumbling blocks is apathy. We are constantly bombarded with bad news and I find that negativity very frustrating. I’m working to change that narrative to better motivate positive action.
– What’s the most rewarding part of your job/work you do around climate change?
The best thing about my adventures is the inspiring people I meet. Getting to share that inspiration with audiences is the icing on the cake.
– What’s the one thing you couldn’t live without?
– Where’s your favourite place on the planet to be?
Haines, Alaska – epic mountains, fjords, glaciers, forests, bears, wolves, moose and wonderful wild people – that’s heaven on earth for me.
– If you could wind the clock back, what words of wisdom would you tell a younger version of yourself?
I’d say trust your gut and listen to your heart, then engage brain and get the job done.
– If you could change one thing that would help reduce our climate impact what would it be?
I want to change the mindset – this is not a doom and gloom story – this is a race against climate change. Racing is exciting, thrilling and fun, and by working together we will win!