Flying back from Montana, as the snow-covered mountaintops merge with the clouds, I ponder the wide-ranging discussions, topics, and personalities at the International Wildlife Film Festival.It was deeply rewarding and humbling to accept our award on behalf of the whole team that made, marketed, and funded “Hope in a Changing Climate.”
Sandwiched between front-page headlines today in the New York Times--one on the approval of wind farms off the Massachusetts coast and the other on progress of the financial reform bill to reign in Wall Street excesses—was the story of the Gulf Coast oil slick. As a thematic collage of our moment, it was arresting in its depiction not only of the renewable energy economy emerging from the goo of the fossil fuel era, but also in the juxtaposition of old money and new.
Give or take a few hundred-thousand years, the period of greatest volcanic activity on planet earth occurred about 200,000,000 years ago and lasted for about 600,000 years. During this time, the Atlantic Ocean was formed. The first airplane flew along the shore of that ocean in 1903. And today, a volcanic eruption in Iceland has grounded some 28,000 airplanes across Europe, reminding us of how different human time is from either evolutionary or geologic time.
Viewed through the lens of a still camera – clicking off one shot after another – there are a host of discrete events worthy of attention in the week just past and the weeks ahead. Earth Day in the United States is around the corner on April 22. And World Water Day was on March 22. The cornerstones of World Environment Day on June 5 are Rwanda -- and Pittsburgh. Rwanda, of course, is home to the famed and rare mountain gorilla, while Pittsburgh is a mere 135 mile from Cleveland, where the Cuyahoga River was once so polluted that it actually caught fire in June 22, 1969, igniting the American environmental movement.
A letter festooned with stamps from Taiwan arrived at our offices last week, with a contribution from a group of mothers who had just screened “Hope in a Changing Climate” at a local school. The full story of this outpouring of support is told by Nicholas Chen, a new EEMP board member.
Word from inside the plenary this windy and cold Friday morning in Denmark is that things are tense and unprecedented. This mirrors Achim’s Steiner’s characterization Wednesday that the talks were “in crisis.” And in conversation with a range of people in the last 24 hours there is a broad sense that the groundwork has not been laid for a binding treaty. Even as most fundamental of disagreements remain unresolved, operational details of implementation have begun to unwind as well.
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Dems have 100 messages on #TaxScam: big bill, no time to read, handwritten scribble, artic refuge, fairness, wealth transfer, donor payback, defunds government, trillion $ debt, etc. 100 messages = no message. Outrage is not strategy. https://t.co/JoicNjErhH
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