March 23, 2011

Reel environmental action on a Sunday afternoon

As published in The Erin Advocate

A triple bill of environmental films will be featured at the Centre 2000 theatre on Sunday, April 3, a collaboration between erincinema and the Climate Change Action Group of Erin.

The line-up was to have concluded with Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Story, but that was changed after organizers learned it was to be broadcast on CBC television on March 13 and April 3.

Instead they will show The Clean Bin Project, a documentary film about a couple who compete with each other to see who can swear off consumerism and produce the least landfill garbage in an entire year.

In their quest to live waste-free, they tackle some major pollution issues, interview some experts, and try to make sense of their seemingly small influence in a "throw-away society".

It may seem like a lot to watch three documentaries in a row (total time 165 minutes, plus a 30-minute intermission) but given the high level of local interest in environmental affairs, I would not be surprised to see a good-sized audience. It will certainly be more stimulating than three hours of "Reality TV".

"We're hoping to inspire people to think about taking action," said Viviana Keir, a member of the Town's erincinema committee. They want to make Reel Action an annual event.

The doors open at 12:30 pm and the films start at 1 pm. Admission is free, but donations to help the East Wellington Community Services food bank will be appreciated. As at the Fast Forward film nights, there will be organic popcorn, and information tables on local food, tree planting et cetera.

The free admission is thanks to sponsorship by Powersmiths, a Brampton company that designs and manufactures power distribution systems that help reduce electricity waste.

The first film of the afternoon will be The Green Legacy Documentary, a short film on the largest municipal tree planting program in North America, which is here in Wellington County.

Next up will be Fresh – New thinking about what we're eating, which celebrates passionate people who are re-inventing the food system. It is a movie that has become part of the grassroots movement to make local, organic food a high priority for more people.

"We believe that Fresh can truly help get us to a tipping point, when sustainable food will no longer be just a niche market," said filmmaker Ana Joanes.

It deals with the consequences of industrial-style farming: problems with contamination, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, and obesity. It features people who are forging healthier, sustainable alternatives for the future of food. It is also a call to engage in ten suggested "fresh" actions:

1. Buy local products when possible; otherwise, buy organic and fair-trade products.

2. Shop at a local farmers market.

3. Support restaurants and food vendors that buy locally produced food.

4. Avoid genetically modified organisms, which are prevalent in the soy, corn, and canola of processed foods.

5. Cook, can, dry and freeze – at home.

6. Drink plenty of water, but avoid bottled water when you can. Buy a reusable water bottle and invest in a good water filter.

7. Grow a garden, visit a farm, volunteer in your community garden, teach a child how to garden.

8. Volunteer and/or financially support an organization dedicated to promoting a sustainable food system. Stay informed by joining the mailing list of the advocacy groups you trust.

9. Get involved in your community. Influence issues surrounding food choices by communicating with elected officials at various levels: School Board, Town, County, Provincial and Federal.

10. Share your passion – talk to friends and family about why food choice matters.

More information is available at:;;; and