Attending the ALA conference, specifically at some SustainRT events (more on that soon!) a number of people were discussing how to educate their communities about sustainable issues and the idea of films popped up a few times. I had the pleasure during my time at UNCG Libraries to work with Sarah Dorsey (read more about it in this book chapter) who created and ran the Sustainable Film and Discussion series on campus (some are listed films here, I need to update it though!) She would coordinate one a month during the semester, find campus or town “experts” to facilitate a discussion post film to discuss and consider how to apply the knowledge we just learned to our local community. Many times faculty would require or extra credit their class to attend too. Fantastic idea, brings people together from various disciplines (campus and community) and offers a venue to educate and discuss!
Our campus (and librarian run!) sustainability film and discussion series, now on its 9th year, hosted our first film of the year last week entitled “Economics of happiness” – a film about globalization and localization. Worth a showing at your library followed by a discussion on what it means, and how to be local in your own communities!
Not only is the film worth a blog post, but the collaboration with the campus and student learning is worth mentioning too. This series has always partnered with the Weatherspoon Art Museum (on our campus), and supported by the UNCG Office of Sustainability and the Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program, but this year’s film series is in conjunction with the Warren Ashby Dialogue series, – a year-long interdisciplinary conversation on the philosophy of localization as a response to global social and environmental change. With over 180 people in attendance (our largest group yet!), standing room only, with more than half being students, we hope this trend continues all year long.
In our post film discussion, we talked about supporting our local farmers markets, attending locally run permaculture workshops, edible school yards, back door breakfasts, and creating a local map or website showing what business are local. Some key comments: there are limits to acting individually but not to acting locally; infinite growth does not work on a finite planet. One positive story — a new student mentioned her frustration on buying a T-shirt in the bookstore to show her school spirit, only to find they were all made in another country: she ventured the idea as an art/design student, to work with other students to come up with designs, for T-shirt, and other to create a prototype… then a business student piped up that he could help with the marketing of it. Not only a community connection but one coming from students!
Some film resources:
- Watch trailer: http://youtu.be/VkdnFYDbiBE
- Read the Discussion/Study Guide: http://www.theeconomicsofhappiness.org/study-guide
- What you can do: http://www.theeconomicsofhappiness.org/get-active-what-we-can-do
Saving the Life Keepers, is a 62 minute documentary about the new science of sustainable beekeeping from Monde Films. The goal is to empower and educate local citizens, farmers, small and large businesses – as well as those involved in beekeeping – on how to help protect and preserve bee populations globally. The documentary states it offers practical solutions such as : utilizing the biodiversity of plants, mass plantings of protein rich flowers, Queen bee organic mating yards, how to fight bee parasites and diseases without chemicals and antibiotics and how beekeepers work successfully with productive and resistant Africanized bees. This documentary was an official selection of the Life Sciences Film Festival in Prague 2013 Watch the trailer below to find out more:
Looking forward to checking this out, perhaps showing at our film series next year: Gringo Trails. This film about sustainability of tourism was recommended by a new faculty member who is part of a new program on campus “Sustainable Tourism and Hospitality” (how cool, eh?)
22nd Environmental Film Festival!
March 18-30, 2014
Theme : Our Cities, Our Planet “examine the challenges posed by Earth’s urban environments and the efforts of the world’s cities to balance environmental and economic needs.”
*Watch the previous 20 festival films streaming FREE on their online portal! This is available through a partnership with SnagFilms.com and covers topics such as climate change, renewable energy, organic farming and more.
For a recent sustainable film and discussion series event we showed Revolution. The quick synopsis on their website summarizes it as: Revolution is a film about changing the world. The true-life adventure of Rob Stewart, this follow-up to his acclaimed Sharkwater documentary continues his remarkable journey; one that will take him through 15 countries over four years, and where he’ll discover that it’s not only sharks that are in grave danger – it’s humanity itself.
It was exciting to see a pretty packed house with many students in attendance (many are required to attend from a course or get extra credit for attending) as this powerful film does include a theme of the youth of today rising up, being empowered, and attempting to make a difference. Sadly when our film showing ended and we held the short post film discussion, we were left with only about 2 dozen people mainly over the age of 40. But perhaps the students, in their own way, were inspired by the amazing scenes of nature below the water and around the globe. Films can truly move us emotionally as spiritual creatures, more often than facts can. The aesthetics, sounds, and visuals in this film really appeal to our senses, not just our rational minds. Most of our post-film discussion take-aways were about being embarrassed to be human on this planet, how there are too many of us (greedy/self adsorbed/ignorant) humans on the planet, and how wrong it is that so many people believe we (humans) are the reason for earth being here – instead of how we must live in harmony as one of many dwelling on this planet. We protect what we know. Is technology keeping us inside and/or glued to a screen with little connection to the world around us that we need to survive? How can we reconnect with nature?
This film is worth a showing AND a discussion in your community or your campus. Check out the educator’s guide for pre-viewing prompts, post-viewing activities and other teacher resources.
I have updated my Sustainable Themed Film page on this blog to include films we have shown the last few years on campus through our Sustainable Film and Discussion series. We have offered a variety of themes from gardening (Truck Farm, Dirt, The Garden…) to environmental issues related to energy sources (The Last Mountain, carbon nation, crude…) and many other themes and topics. I cannot recommend any one film over another as they all tell various sustainability themed stories and information that hopefully inspires action. Perhaps these films will give you ideas for hosting film and discussion night or series at your library! Feel free to comment and share other worthwhile films on the theme.