by Lynne Blundell…
4 June – Sustainability has hit the big screen in this year’s Sydney Film Festival. With themes ranging from carbon credit schemes, to ecological disasters and experiments in sustainable living, the films are a sign that global warming and sustainability are major preoccupations for us all.
Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein’s 2009 documentary No Impact Man, follows the quest of New York resident, Colin Beavan, and his young family to live without any carbon footprint.
Talking on ABC radio 702 last week, Colin Beavan said he was inspired to make the film in 2006 when the US government and big business was in denial about global warming. He wanted to bring attention to the issue without finger wagging.
The Beavan family went into the year of sustainable living thinking they would be making huge sacrifices but in fact discovered they changed their way of life. And in the process they became healthier and happier.
“What happened was we stopped watching TV and eating takeout food. So we started cooking more and having friends over more,” said Beavan.
Beavan also stopped using lifts and climbed stairs, ensuring he got plenty of exercise. At the end of the year the family kept doing those things that made the most sense sustainably while not causing enormous levels of inconvenience and discomfort.
Asked what was the hardest aspect of living without modern gadgets for a year and Beavan nominated giving up the washing machine and washing by hand.
Also showing at the film festival is Big River Man which follows Slovenian Martin Strel who swims the entire length of the Amazon to highlight pollution in the world.
In The Cove the dolphin capture trade in a small Japanese village is investigated while Crude looks at action taken by indigenous Amazonians against the petro-chemical giant Chevron.
Cathy Henkel’s inspirational documentary, The Burning Season, follows the journey of young Australian carbon trading entrepreneur Dorjee Sun as he goes in search of a solution to the deliberately-lit fires that rage across Indonesia every year destroying pristine rainforest, endangering orangutans and contributing to climate change.
Another documentary, Food Inc., reveals the truth about what we are eating.
The Sydney Film Festival runs June 3-14. For information and bookings visit www.sydneyfilmfestival.org.