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Regenerating Life: An Evening with Filmmaker John Feldman

Regenerating Life: An Evening with Filmmaker John Feldman

Filmmaker John Feldman will take us on the journey of discovery leading to his current project, Regenerating Life, a feature-length documentary in progress that challenges the prevailing climate-change story with a new narrative. Regenerating Life will examine a growing movement of farmers, activists, and scientists working to repair environmental and social devastation, protect ecosystems, and sustain healthy communities. Discussing his responsibility and role as a filmmaker in presenting the science and politics of climate change, Feldman will detail his research into the ways that trees and forests are key components of the planet's water cycles. Through transpiration and the "biotic pump" that brings moist air in from the oceans, forests are essential natural agencies for cooling the planet. Putting this understanding of forests into environmental action could rapidly mitigate the climate crisis.

Part of the Spring 2021 Forests Speaker Series at Texas Tech University.


  • Water is crucial for regulating the planet's temperature through evaporation and condensation cycles, but is often overlooked in climate change discussions.
  • Deforestation disrupts the planet's hydrological cycles and cooling systems. Stopping deforestation is urgently needed.
  • The film explores how life regulates the climate and how destroying life systems causes environmental crises. The solutions involve restoring forests and regenerative agriculture.
  • The dominant CO2-driven climate change narrative is too limited. Feldman aims to explain the planet's cooling systems well so the CO2 focus seems inadequate.
  • He struggles with correcting mainstream misconceptions without the film becoming a rant. He uses irony and focuses on explaining ecological systems.
  • Scientism oversimplifies complex issues like climate change. Holistic systems thinking is needed to see the interconnected cycles in nature.
  • Feldman sees everything as cycles and wants to visualize this as intersecting networks of circles, unlike linear cause-and-effect.
  • Indigenous practices show sustainable models of living in balance with forests and climate. But barriers remain around land rights.
  • Feldman hopes presenting the science, but also biocultural approaches, will inspire more ecological ways of thinking.

John Feldman is a critically acclaimed filmmaker whose career spans over 40 years. His films have won numerous international awards and range from independent dramatic features to nature documentaries. Feldman's most recent film is Symbiotic Earth (2018), a documentary about the evolutionary thinker Lynn Margulis.