The Magnitude of All Things

Jennifer Abbott

Both breathtaking and intimate plea for the truth about climate change. Filmmaker Jennifer Abbott draws parallels between her grief over her sister’s death from cancer, and the destruction of nature caused by global warming. With stories from the frontlines of climate change all over the world.

Grief over the loss of a human being can be just as painful as grief over the loss of nature. Jennifer Abbott’s documentary The Magnitude of All Things explores the many ways in which climate change forces people to come to terms with the changing world around them. Just like the death of her sister Saille from cancer, the deterioration caused by climate change is a slow process. ‘Green house gases do their damage surreptitiously’, Abbott says. ‘So did the cancer cells.’

In a beautiful cinematographic style, Abbott portrays different people on the front lines dealing with climate destruction. Like the former president of Kiribati, and island group threatened by rising oceans caused by other countries’ carbon emissions. Like Australian Jo Dodds, grieving for the loss of her home in a wildfire. And Manari Ushigua from the Ecuadorian rainforest, warning that if we take life out of the Amazon, we take life out of ourselves. Meanwhile, activists like Greta Thunberg and the people from Extinction Rebellion emphasize that only ‘hope’ will not safe us. The world has to acknowledge that climate change is real, and then act.


Jennifer Abbott
Country of production
85 minutes
Spoken language
English, Spanish
World Sales
National Film Board of Canada