A Plastic Ocean Documentary Film Review

Recent reports suggest there are more pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans than fish. That’s because large pieces of plastic waste debris from fishing, beaches, rivers & shipping break-up rather than break-down in the natural environment. Simply speaking one piece of plastic can become hundreds nay thousands even millions of smaller pieces called microplastics.

Floating plastic waste including microplastics accumulate in naturally occurring Gyres formed by ocean currents and winds. These ‘islands’ of plastic waste can be the size of countries yet very little has been known about them until recently. An island is not really an accurate description as there is no solid mass nor does it stay in one place. It is more akin to a ‘plastic soup’. BUT who is responsible for cleaning-up this mess – nobody knows?

A Plastic Ocean is the result of four years investigative film-making. A multi-disciplinary quest by the Plastic Ocean Foundation to document and explain the scope and scale of the problem. Parts of the film also look at land-based plastics, their use, toxicity and effects on human health. What they have discovered is a toxic legacy which cannot be solved in a generation or two but will take centuries to undo if it can be undone at-all.

In a scenario that is all-to-familiar to environmentalists trying to combat climate change through a reduction in fossil fuels. Plastics are ubiquitous, their use is increasing, fuelled by global demand yet supplied by an industry with no interest in reducing the amount of product that comes to market. Recycling, we are told, is not the answer as it represents only a tiny proportion of the total amount of plastics in circulation and the rest is due to accumulate.

This accumulation of plastic waste in the marine environment is entering the food chain at ALL levels. From microscopic organisms to gigantic blue whales and that means you too ‘if the plastics are in the food-chain for the dolphin it’s also in our food-chain’. But perhaps surprisingly it’s not the human stories that causes the viewer the most discomfort. It’s the distressing scenes of wildlife; a beached whale dies after ingesting a plastic sheet, seabird chicks die of malnutrition, stomachs full of plastic and too heavy to ever fly.

After dealing with the largely physical effects of plastic accumulation the film goes on to explain disturbing side-effects associated with chemicals used in plastic. These chemicals known as Endocrine Disruptors also make their way into ‘consumers’ be they marine or human through the accumulation of plastic products and waste. I am not going to go into this is any detail here as Wikipedia does a pretty good job.

Plastic Oceans have thankfully released a scientific report backing-up their claims made in the film. There are a lot of facts and figures in this film however some of these facts and figures are displayed in Kilograms and Lbs whereas others are only displayed in Lbs which is a bit confusing for us Europeans / non-US audiences.

A Plastic Ocean represents the tip-of-the-iceberg when it comes to actually doing something about this problem. As mentioned earlier the Gyres and floating ‘islands’ are a fairly new phenomena and no governing body wants to take responsibility for clearing-up the mess. There are very few ‘solutions’ on offer here other than to refuse disposable plastics and dispose of your own waste responsibly. I would also like to add joining or organsing a beach clean-up operation will remove plastics that would otherwise find it’s way back into the sea.

Should all plastics be deemed a hazardous waste? That’s the feeling many are left with after seeing the film A Plastic Ocean.

Shelley Theatre view from Projection Room

This Changes Everything – Green Screen Solar Cinema Review

On Thursday 9th June 160 activists, audience and crew, gathered together at Shelley Theatre in Bournemouth for the second Green Screen Solar Cinema. Green Screen is more than just a movie, it’s a social and networking event for anyone interested in the environmental movement. In keeping with the radical history of the venue Green Screen provides a forum for nurturing and growth of the local green movement by ‘inspiring each other to take action’. After the film there’s a discussion in the auditorium about issues raised in the film with special guest speakers. Further information can be found in the foyer with space for local green groups and campaigns to promote their work.

The inaugural event in March, part of British Science Week, screened How to Change the World a documentary film by Jerry Rothwell. HTCTW records the birth of environmental activism and Greenpeace in the 1970’s. With the second choice of film being This Changes Everything, a documentary film by Avi Lewis and based on the book by Naomi Klein. That history-lesson is brought bang-up-to-date with a critique of Capitalism and it’s consequences Climate Change.

According to TCE de-regulated, free-market capitalism is at odds with environmentalism by being at war with nature. The existential threat of climate change is a product of economic demand for growth whatever-the-cost even when it is beyond planetary boundaries. Planetary boundaries are what’s widely regarded as safe levels of pollution released into the atmosphere, soil and water for ecosystems to support life. That’s not to mention the gross inequality or unjust wars being fought to prop-up a global economic model that’s systematically failing the Earth and it’s citizens.

Frighteningly this ‘failed’ economic model has no checks & balances with regard to reigning-in it’s power, greed and systemic ecological destruction. Thereby making Governments, Corporations, Citizens and Consumers (yes, you and me) complicit in harm and virtually powerless to prevent it. If this all sounds a bit far-fetched and too far into the future for you – I urge you to watch the film and read-on!

TCE follows seven communities from around the world that are fighting against destruction of their land, livelihoods and communities. From Montana to India, Alaska to China we meet ordinary citizens on the front-line who are forced to go head-to-head with malevolent forces. The David versus Goliath battle re-told as Citizens v Corporations. Multi-billion dollar foes, backed by investors operating with vast governmental tax-breaks and all within the law. Perhaps the films’ byline should be This Changes Everything ‘given permission from the relevant authorities’.

The conclusion of this hard-hitting film is that climate change is the best opportunity you’ll ever get to build a better world BUT and it is an extremely BIG BUT in-order to do this the human race must end it’s dependency on fossil fuels now, before it’s too late. Ultimately TCE is about inspiring communities to take action on climate change, it’s calling for a paradigm shift by asking us all to live in a way that is more sustainable. If this is the case then This Changes Everything is more than just a movie it’s the beginning of a movement!

The discussion after the film was hosted by End Ecocide a group campaigning to implement an international criminal law preventing destruction of ecosystems. Ironically Ecocide is forbidden in times of war but allowed during peace.

A fully proposed draft of the law of Ecocide was submitted into the United Nations by Polly Higgins in April 2010. The intent behind the drafting is to ensure that people and planet are put first and to create a legal duty of care to a) prohibit the causes of mass damage and destruction, b) prevent future significant harm from taking place and c) pre-empt both human caused and natural Ecocides that put nations at risk of being unable to self-govern.

Under the European Citizens Initiative one million signatures are needed to get the law of Ecocide discussed in the European Parliament. Please support the Ecocide campaign by signing the petition here. Once you’ve done that help the Ecocide law further simply by spreading the message far & wide amongst your friends, neighbours and communities find out how here.

The event is produced for Green Screen by Ecotainment! who provide ‘sustainable social lubricant’ for any event. Ecotainment! can make bespoke activities depending on your requirements or you can select off-the-shelf packages for Education, Campaigns, Celebrations & Festivals. If you are interested in taking part in Green Screen, Sponsorship or for further information contact us via the Eco-Disco page or call Lee Hadaway in UK (+44) 077898 65934 aka @joimson

Photo Credit: Rob Amey see more of pictures of the event here

Green Screen Solar Cinema – This Changes Everything

Final-E-Flyer-This-Changes-Everything

What if confronting the climate crisis is the best chance we’ll ever get to build a better world? This Changes Everything is an epic attempt to re-imagine the vast challenge of climate change. Green Screen Solar Cinema returns to Shelley Theatre for a special World Environment Day screening of this documentary film. Special guests End Ecocide will host a discussion in the auditorium after the film about the issues raised.

Directed by Avi Lewis, and inspired by Naomi Klein’s international non-fiction best-seller. The film presents seven powerful portraits of communities on the front lines. Interwoven with these stories of struggle is Klein’s narration, connecting the carbon in the air with the economic system that put it there. Throughout the film, Klein builds to her most controversial and exciting idea: that we can seize the existential crisis of climate change to transform our failed economic system into something radically better.

End Ecocide on Earth is a grass-roots movement aimed at recognising the destruction of ecosystems as an international Crime Against Peace. Ecocide is already prohibited during war time but legal in peace. Time has come to change that and ensure accountability of decision-makers responsible for large-scale destruction of ecosystems, the very basis of life on earth. We are a network of volunteers working across the world for the recognition of Ecocide.

Book Tickets Here