Film Festival puts Environment in Focus

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How can we prevent climate change and biodiversity loss to ensure the same quality of life for our children? It’s a big problem but a group of passionate locals are stimulating the conversation about society’s impact on the environment by presenting the Swanpool Environmental Film Festival. To be held on the 1st June at the Swanpool Cinema, the festival aims to raise awareness about environmental issues and inspire people to take action and make change in their own lives.

Presented by Swanpool Landcare Group, the Gecko CLaN, Benalla Sustainable Future Group and the Swanpool Cinema, this one-day event promises to be thought provoking, confronting and inspiring. Participants must be prepared to think big, while finding ways to implement change at a local level.


“I think we are at a cross roads, and its now becoming all the more apparent”, said Ian Herbert, chairman of the Gecko CLaN and president of Swanpool Landcare. “Just think about what we are hearing in the news today - the minerals boom (we can’t mine coal fast enough), farmers struggling, manufacturers struggling, cheap goods and banks making money, but you can’t eat $10 notes.  Underlying all that, we have the inexorable rise in air and ocean temperatures, and more extreme weather events.”


“Here in Australia we have a tendency to respond when it becomes a problem rather than being proactive. In the case of climate change we really do have to think well ahead and act now”.


The festival will feature three films including, “A Smarter Country” about Australian ‘green pioneers’ pushing for renewable energy, sustainable farming and lifestyle changes. Internationally acclaimed “Surviving Progress” will be featured in which Ronald Wright analyses progress traps and the threats of uncontained development. The finale “Chasing Ice” features James Balog’s extreme ice survey and his discovery of undeniable evidence of climate change.


High calibre guest speakers will present at the festival including Professor David Karoly from The University of Melbourne on “Climate change: where are we now and where are we heading?” Barney Foran, Biophysical scientist and futures specialist from Charles Sturt University will be speaking on, “Eating our future delights: Trade and biodiversity decline”. Local legend Ray Thomas from the Regent Honey Eater Project will be presenting, “There is no big picture without a lot of little pictures”.


The festival came about through growing concern within the community about major environmental issues, and the need for greater local awareness and action. The retro style cinema and the delicious locally made food provide an inviting setting for the festival.


“The Swanpool Environmental Film Festival will be an opportunity to come together and exchange ideas, and hopefully be inspired to make change in our own lives and spread the message to others” said Ian Herbert.


Special thanks go to festival sponsors Winton Wetlands, Strathbogie Ranges CMN, the Goulburn Broken CMA and the Granite Creeks Landcare Network, who have enabled the festival to be presented free of charge with only a $10 cost for an evening meal.


Interest in the festival is high and places are limited by cinema capacity, therefore bookings are essential. To book seats please contact (03) 5761 1560 or For more information go to or