Environmental Film Festival a Big Success

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The first Swanpool Cinema Environmental Film Festival, held on June 1, was a huge success, say organisers. 

“The festival was organised to celebrate World Environment Day (June 5), and featured three films and three guest speakers”, said David Dore, Gecko CLaN Vice Chairman. 

The three films were:

  • “Chasing Ice”, a documentary by James Balog with compelling time-lapse photos of the rapid retreat and break-up of glaciers in Greenland, Iceland and Alaska;
  •  “Surviving Progress”  by Mathieu Roy & Harold Crooks, based on a book by Ronald Wright had some wonderful interviews with thinkers from around the globe, exploring the idea that sometimes humans have historically been caught in ‘progress traps’, and
  • Australian film “A Smarter Country” where director Margaret Anne Smith had travelled around and interviewed some of the most progressive designers, engineers, public officials and entrepreneurs in Australia.

“Between each film we had some fascinating speakers,” said David Dore. 

“Ray Thomas, founder and driver of the Regent Honeyeater project, which has been revegetating the Lurg hills for 18 years, was very keen to remind us that the ‘big picture’ is made up of lots of little pictures, and that the commitment of thousands of people has wrought some great restoration on one part of our district.” 

“Barney Foran spoke about the links between what we buy in supermarkets and its effects on some of our planetary problems, notably loss of habitat and loss of species.  He gave practical advice about some things to do:  buy the local stuff, look for the ‘certification’ logos that show that companies are committed to sustainability; recognise ‘greenwash’ that companies will use to pass themselves off as doing things better than they are really, and continue to lobby companies to improve their practices (and payments) back to suppliers in tropical countries.” 

The third speaker was Professor David Karoly from Melbourne University, who said he started off as a climate change ‘skeptic’ 25 years ago, but then realised the significance of the trends in the data he was looking at. He emphasised the point that what we do in the next decade will dictate whether our grandchildren are living in a world that is hot, hotter or boiling. 

“Barney Foran commented after the event, that it was very heartening to see a community getting its act together to focus on this crucial, crucial issue,” said David Dore.                                      

The day was a partnership between the Swanpool Landcare and Cinema, Gecko CLaN Landcare Network and Benalla Sustainable Future Group, with support from 8 sponsoring organisations. Catering was by the Swanpool & District Community Development Association.

For further information please contact the Gecko CLaN on 5761 1560.