What happens to a culture submerged? People from the Cateret Islands are finding out firsthand, as rising sea levels turn these island residents into the first climate change refugees. “Most of our culture will have to live in memory,” says a woman featured in Next Wave, an 8-minute documentary by Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzer highlighting the plight of these refugees.

Next Wave’s a jury prize winner of the ninth annual Media That Matters Film Festival, an online film festival that launched today featuring 12 short, socially conscious films. A couple other eco-minded films that hit closer to home are included in the dozen: Locusts, a 6.5-minute hip-hop music video about the effects of bad urban planning in Detroit (I found this one cheesy, but I tend to find most music videos cheesy), and The Secret Life of Paper, a 5.5-minute documentary that uncovers why the U.S. consumes so much paper.

Watch those — and many other short films that address everything from deportation to the “war on drugs.” Lest you’re wary of documentaries that highlight a problem without suggesting a solution, rest assured that each short film has “Take Action” tools that the festival press release says will “empower viewers to become activists at the click of a button.” I don’t think effective activism comes THAT easy, but at least you’re just a click away from getting started on your activist journey.

A life submerged
Media that Matters Film Festival features a short documentary about the first climate change refugees.