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Walking the Walk While Talking the Talk

In making a film about becoming a sustainable civilization, it is far too easy to focus on the big picture – the changes needed in our consumptive, growth-worshipping system – and ignore individual behavior. I am certainly guilty of excusing, say, a filming trip by airplane to Toronto or Los Angeles, as a worthwhile environmental sacrifice. If the GrowthBusters film helps our society get unhooked from its growth addiction, the oil consumption and carbon emissions of that flight will have been worth it.

jet-airplanePerhaps true, but this fascinating piece (Flying Is One of the Worst Things You Can Do for the Environment — So Why Do So Many Well-Intentioned Folks Do It?) on AlterNet raises some salient points about how many of us make decisions like this every day. This article points out that those of us who are hanging our clothes on the line, riding our bikes or walking, and eschewing paper napkins, etc. are among the first to hop on a jet for a trip to an activist gathering in D.C. or Cancun or Copenhagen. I think we have to change, and in fact I am working on that. A year ago I spent 24 days on the U.S. East Coast shooting interviews and b-roll in order to do that shooting with just one round-trip by air. I’ve enlisted the help of filmmakers and journalists in London, Delhi, Bangkok, Addis Ababa and Sydney so I could avoid trans-ocean flights (working on a shoestring budget made it that much easier to do the right footprint-minimizing thing).

While this piece about activists flying doesn’t focus on it, it does point out the challenge of making meaningful changes in a system so resistant to change. The system works against us, and that’s why I hope GrowthBusters will give millions a new lens through which to view the world – so we can collectively move in the right direction. I am sitting here thinking today that I need to find the perfect, easy-to-use technology that will allow me to be participate in screenings of my film via the Internet, in order to avoid criss-crossing the U.S. – or the world for that matter – by jet.

Dave Gardner
Filmmaker

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    Dus'an Kustudic'

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    To me, “growthbusters” means to arrest any further growth – economically, population-wise and consumption- wise.
    Only after this STOP is achieved we can start planning how to modify our daily routeens to diminish our eco-footprint.
    So, first STOP the mania of growth, and THEN improve the quality of life.
    Dan Kustudich

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  • Avatar

    Dave Gardner

    |

    Thanks for commenting, Dus’an. While mother nature may bring economic and population growth to a halt rather quickly, we can’t count on that and I think we prefer a kinder, gentler shift to sustainability.

    And while we must change the system, I don’t believe we can expect that to happen while we gleefully participate. We must lead by example, and that means changing our lives. Don’t you agree?

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