The World You Left Behind is a short documentary for Al Jazeera which tells the story of Martina (23), an Italian primary school teacher. The incessant headlines about the climate catastrophe and a casual meeting with Leonardo—an activist—leave her questioning what the future will look like for her and those she cares about. She embarks on a quest for solutions and decides to join the group Ultima Generazione, which demands the government to end all production of gas and oil in the country and the creation of new jobs in the renewable energies industries.
A battalion led by young men and women are taking action all over the world to achieve what adults haven’t been able to: putting a radical end to carbon emissions. Thanks to the internet and social media, they organize weekly meetings, peaceful protests—like interrupting traffic—and disruptive actions such as throwing food to historical pieces of artwork, gluing themselves to well-known paintings, interrupting nationally televised events or hanging themselves on giant poles at the M25—the major road encircling most of Greater London.
Their bravery, welcomed by many, is simultaneously criticized by an intimidating establishment that disapproves rebellious actions by ordinary people. But, for them, there aren’t any alternatives. They are part of A22, a civil disobedience network focused on stopping carbon emissions. Dozens of members have been arrested and face jail and economic sanctions. The public opinion is divided: Are their actions justified or should they be punished?