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Outreach   /  Kathy Drayton

The Weather Diaries

A mother's meditation on her daughter’s future, overshadowed by the twin threats of climate change & mass extinction.


Impact areas





  • DIRECTOR Kathy Drayton

  • PRODUCER Tom Zubrycki



My daughter Imogen is approaching her final years as a violin student at the Conservatorium High School when she uploads her first song to Soundcloud. Reviews and interest from the music industry pour in, so taking inspiration from Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke, the film she’s been obsessed with since childhood, she adopts the moniker of Lupa J and sets out to establish a career as an electronic pop artist. I’ve long been haunted by the vision of the destruction of the ancient forest and all of its creatures that occurs at the end of that film – an extinction scene in a children’s film. So when Tony Abbott is elected on a platform of promoting coal and denying climate change, I decide to pick up my camera and film the impact of climate change on the forests and flying foxes around Sydney, immersing myself in the world of the people who defend them and study them, as I follow Imogen on her musician’s path and wrestle with what the future may hold for her.

Support this project

0.13% funded
  • $80,000.00

  • $100.00

  • December 2020

  • 2

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $





Robynne Murphy $50.00
Merilee Bennett $50.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

A deeply personal film, The Weather Diaries works within the traditions of contemplative, poetic documentary to record the anguish and growing sense of unreality around raising a child as extinction rates accelerate and the threat of catastrophic climate change grows more imminent. It tracks my daughter Imogen’s path as a musician through her teen years, as I wrestle with how best to raise a child for a future I think could be far bleaker than mine was at the same age. In its focus on the beauty to be found in everyday life and our local environments, the personal, the power of dreams and stories and music in our lives, and people working directly or indirectly with climate change, The Weather Diaries supports a modest hope, one that doesn’t shy away from grieving the losses we’re already suffering, but a realistic hope that with creativity, determination, and contributing in our various ways to the protection of the lives we love, we can make a difference.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

Weaving together an emotive story of flying foxes living in the urban environment with Imogen’s coming of age story and the experiment on local eucalypts growing in a plus 3° world, The Weather Diaries supports the concept of One Health – that to achieve optimal health and well-being outcomes we need to recognize the interconnections between people, animals, plants and their shared environment. It’s a concept that has become even more relevant in relation to the COVID-19 epidemic.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

I am hoping that in relating climate change emotionally to my everyday life, my daughter, the threatened forests and flying foxes that I love, I will encourage a Western audience to do the same. Current research shows that strong emotional reactions can result from perceiving one’s “objects of care” as threatened by climate change, and this motivates caring about climate change itself which in turn motivates engagement and action around the issue.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

I have relationships with renowned ecologists and flying fox researchers Dr Peggy Eby, Dr Billie Roberts, and Dr Kerry-Anne Parry-Jones & doctoral candidate Tim Pearson as well as the organisations Sydney Wildlife and WIRES who protect and care for bats. I also have a relationship with Professor Lesley Hughes from the Climate Council. The team working at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment Forest Experiments, led by Professor Mark Tjoelker also support the film. These people and / or the bodies they represent are willing to help push the film out to audiences in order to motivate more focused and urgent action around mitigating and adapting to climate change and protecting bio-diversity in Australia. I think the project will of interest for youth oriented climate activist groups like School Strike 4 Climate Australia, and Extinction Rebellion.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

To talk more about their underlying grief and fear in relation to climate change and mass extinction which I see as a significant block to this important conversation. The repression of the grief and fear associated with climate change and severe environmental degradation causes people to turn away from an outward recognition of how urgent and how enormous this threat is to the lives they love on this Earth – both human and non-human. I’m hoping that the emotional impact of my film will motivate people to push harder for the governmental and corporate leadership on this issue to address this problem with the urgency and scale necessary to protect future life on this planet.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

1. When I started making the film few friends or colleagues would engage for long in a conversation about climate change and loss of biodiversity, and so just to encourage more conversation on the topic will be an achievement. The catastrophic fires of 2019 – 2020 opened up these conversations in our country, and I’m hoping the film will contribute to continued reflection on the horrific losses from those fires, and that the less we do now, the worse the fires to come will be.
2 Seeing signs of increased emotional engagement around the issues based on care for future generations - human and non-human - that motivates greater public demand for more urgent and concerted action from leaders on these threats.
3. A growth in appreciation of the importance of bats in combatting climate change and bio-diversity loss, a greater tolerance of them living amongst us in cities and suburbs, a greater understanding of the hardships they face and what wonderful and important animals they are.