Friday, April 30, 2010

Environmental Film Festival a Success

By Colin Bennett

On April 26, just a few days after the 40th anniversary of the first Earth Day, Mason celebrated, in part, with an environmental film festival. Thanks largely to the help of Campus Progress four films were screened and over two dozen people attended at least one of the movies, each showcasing salient environmental issues.

The day started with Earth Days a look "back to the dawn and development of the modern environmental movement—from its post-war rustlings in the 1950s and the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson’s incendiary bestseller Silent Spring, to the first wildly successful Earth Day celebration in 1970 and the subsequent firestorm of political action." 

Earth Days, was followed by the heartbreaking film, The Garden. This movie provided an "unflinching look at the struggle between these Latino urban farmers, the City of Los Angles and a powerful developer who wants to evict them to build warehouses."

The last two movies in the series examined mountaintop removal, a hugely destructive form of coal mining that is devastating entire communities throughout Appalachia from Tennessee to Maryland. Burning the Future, examined "the explosive conflict between the coal industry and residents of West Virginia."  Deep Down: A Story From the Heart of Coal Country showcased one family's struggle as they were pressured by a coal company to sell their land so it could be destroyed for the coal underneath. Deep Down was screened through an arrangement with folks involved with making the film. Their goal is to get the movie in front of as many people as possible to showcase the devastation that is mountaintop removal.

According to Mason student Nya Jackson, "The movies really made me examine my own choices as they relate to the environment; from where my food comes from to how my electricity is produced, I'm now even more dedicated to making responsible decisions so I can do my part to protect the planet."

Another Mason student, Anthony Murray echoed Nya's sentiments, "These films did a great job of raising awareness about important environmental issues. I'm glad that so many students came out to see them; hopefully they will go back and spread the message to their friends."

Considering the success of this event, the Office of Sustainability, is planning on hosting more film screenings in the future. In the fall, they plan on hosting a series of films looking at different aspects of the climate crisis as part of their Climate Education and Outreach Campaign.

Once again, thanks goes out to Campus Progress for their help with this event. To learn more about the Office of Sustainability's effort to combat the climate crisis, please see their website at

No comments: