Film Festivals: Environmental, DC

Let us look again at the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, and talk about another two positive films they have shown this year — ‘Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution’ and ‘The New West and the Politics of the Environment’.

‘Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution’ is a story of the filmmaker James Redford, Robert Redford’s son. He goes around the country, first to find out where his energy comes from and then to see the possibilities of wind, hydro and solar power. He travels to places that are ahead of their time and now strive thanks to these new technologies. He also looks at the positive impact they have on the local communities. Eventually he gets solar panel on the roof of his house.

But then the politics gets involved, as usual, and people who invested in gas and coil industries try to protect their interests, in spite of the damage they make to our planet. We see people in Nevada loosing their jobs in solar power industry. They are joined by the actor Mark Ruffalo, ‘an advocate for solar’ as he calls himself. But even Hulk cannot help to stop that. Fortunately, a year later things change and in the end of his film James Redford states that more sustainable forms of energy are inevitable. The positive message here is that people care more and more about the environment and these old energy technologies now sing their swan song.

‘The New West and the Politics of the Environment’ on the other hand is a story of a politician from Nevada, Harry Reid. He is a retired Democratic Senator who from the beginning of his political career was fighting for the environmental issues. As we have already seen in many other films about the environment, politics plays a very significant role in the way we move forward. Unfortunately, the interests of the lobbyists do not always, or rather rarely, align with the well-being of the planet.

As a species, we humans decided that we are above everything else and we are allowed to just take without giving back. But everything in nature works in circles, and the more you give, the more you get. Nevada was, for a long time, treated as a waste land and Reid wanted to change that. He joined forces with the Republican senator and always tried to involve all side of each issue involved in finding the resolution. He would compromise and cooperate with people for the benefit of the state.

Reid was instrumental in protecting the Public Land in Nevada, as well as creating National Monuments and the Great Basin National Park in his homeland state. So this film is touching on the same subject, even if concentrating only on the state of Nevada, as ‘Public Trust: The Fight for America’s Public Lands’ that we will look closer at next week.

‘The New West and the Politics of the Environment’ and ‘Happening: A Clear Energy Revolution’

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