You ever see buses or cars driving around with bumper stickers on them saying “this vehicle runs on clean natural gas”? Here in New York City, over 900 of the MTA’s 6,200 buses run on natural gas (and have that sticker). Well, natural gas may burn cleaner than diesel, but it’s certainly not a clean fuel to produce. Of all the films I saw at Mountainfilm last month, few left as strong an impression on me as Gasland. Here’s the trailer:
Filmmaker Josh Fox does a commendable job weaving his personal story through a quagmire of political bureaucracies, special interest groups, corporate greed and environmental short-sightedness. The film is playing tonight (June 21) on HBO. I suggest you make time to watch it and get involved in stopping hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) from happening near you. For more info on HBO, visit this link. For the official Gasland site, visit here.
Friend David de Rothschild‘s Plastiki set sail from San Francisco this past weekend, beginning an 11,000 nautical mile journey to Sydney, Australia. My congratulations to David, who has spent the last 4 years working on this project, pioneering so many aspects of this ship’s technology and construction to help reach people with his message about pollution, water quality, and plastics. Visit the official Plastiki site for more info on the boat (made of 12,000 plastic bottles) and their journey. David and crew will be updating their Facebook page and using Twitter to reach people while at sea. Bon Voyage, David!
The TED Conference is well-known for inviting only the best speakers to deliver 20-minute speeches to a crowd of enthusiastic, idealistic, and sharp-minded people. “Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world” is their motto, and a lot of their talks are not viewable online, which is fantastic. Here’s one I think you’ll enjoy from Dan Barber, executive chef of Blue Hill Farm restaurants. Well worth your 20 minutes.
A few years ago, a friend and I were discussing the Tarahumara Indians of Central Mexico. The Tarahumara are world-famous for their ability to run long-distances (like, 100 miles) in nothing more than sandals made from used tires. They live in Copper Canyon, the Grand Canyon of Mexico, and BOSS used to offer trips with them. Over many years, we learned about their culture, their relationship with the land, and their sacred beliefs in corn. Corn is a critical part of their culture—they grow the plant for food and to make tesguino, the sacred corn beer they drink during special occasions. Anyway, my friend was saying that Americans today have more corn in their bodies than the Tarahumara, who eat it and drink it. “How’s that possible?” I wondered. Well, the film King Corn explains it:
College buddies Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis ventured from their East Coast college to visit the land of their respective great-grandparents in Iowa. Tracing their roots to the dawn of modern agriculture, they explore how corn went from a staple of small farming families to what is now America’s most-productive and most-subsidized grain. The entire face of agriculture changed because of corn and now its by-products—including high fructose corn syrup—appear in almost every product we consume. Corn is also eaten by the majority of land animals that humans eat.
The implications are both vast and daunting, as we are now eating and drinking corn on a daily basis. It’s practically inescapable, which I found both fascinating and disturbing. I hope you’ll get a chance to watch this film. Here’s the link to their official website.
First of all, I’m ecstatic that The Cove won the Oscar for best documentary. How cool is that? And secondly, I’m excited to hear that Animal Planet has just announced Dolphin Warriors, a TV series that picks up where The Cove ended. Ric O’Barry is back, and he’s still focused on getting the people in Taiji (and the rest of Japan) to stop killing dolphins. Very excited to see where this goes!
Last night, Discovery Communications hosted an event at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall for LIFE, the sequel to Planet Earth. Here’s the promo:
The event itself was amazing. The New York Pops orchestra played in perfect sync to the Hi-Def screening of the first episode “Challenges of Life,” playing above them. The entire theater was packed and the atmosphere was electric. Seeing the video that way (something that could not be replicated at home, even with the largest HD screen) was truly amazing. As was the show, which I believe represents the pinnacle of non-fiction television. Productions like Life (and Planet Earth before it) inspire people to explore the earth, to marvel at its creatures, and to love it. Bravo to Discovery and co-producers at the BBC. I’m looking forward to watching the 11 episodes over the upcoming 5 Sundays in March and April.