Film series to promote sustainability efforts

College students have a reputation for being enlightened people; for being the hippies, the revolutionaries, the environmentalists that our world depends on to make change and thrive. Something that sets the Ypsi-Ann Arbor area apart from other urban settings is our prominent effort to ‘Go Green.’ Groups like Growing Hope, Transition Ypsi and the Ypsilanti Food Co-Op strive to stimulate thought within our community and challenge us to answer the environmental questions at hand.

Lisa Bashert of Transition Ypsi and Ypsilanti Food Co-Op said, “I think people in general are well aware that our world is stumbling, and our culture’s response is usually to just go into denial. Anybody who has a thought in their head realizes that we are a limited planet. The question is what happens after that.”

To educate the public on issues like food, consumerism, climate change and urban agriculture, the Ypsilanti District Library will be hosting the Sustainability Film Series.

Jan. 13, the festivities will start off with the Growing Hope community potluck at 6 p.m., which is open to the public. The first film, called “Forks Over Knives,” will air at 7 p.m. This 96-minute film delves into a controversial issue that affects all people: the food we eat and its impact on our health. This film implies that by eliminating animal based and processed foods from our diets, we can reduce “diseases of affluence.”

Arika Lycan, co-planner of the Sustainability Film Series and member of Growing Hope, said, “Sometimes people of the middle or upper class think that people in poverty are people who don’t eat well, but just because people have money does not mean they’re always making healthy choices on what to eat and how much to eat.”

In “Forks Over Knives,” experts examine the possibility of a healthier population with a controlled diet.

Next month’s film is titled “Is Wal-Mart Good for America?” According to Bashert, “Our whole country is predicated on the idea that more stuff will make us happy.” On Feb. 10, locals are left to examine the chain’s effect on the American economy.

On March 9, “The Eleventh Hour” will air and delve into encroaching climate change with the help of guest speaker Dave Strenski, a local solar specialist. “Czech Dream” will be playing April 13, shining a light on consumerism.

The final film, “Growing in Detroit,” will be held on May 11 and will cover growing and gardening in an urban community.

“Some of the films are artsy, some are food conscious and others are about the scientific aspect of how this will change our lives,” says Lycan. More than anything, the films serve to “generate interesting conversations.”

The Ypsilanti District Library will host movies the second Friday of every month with a total of five films. After viewing one of these provocative flicks, one might reconsider their own impact on the world around them.

While the movies might be dazzling, the underlying message is one of transition.

“There have been a lot of studies done on the environment, on global warming and on climate change,” Lycan says. “We’re at a time of ‘peak oil.’ Oil is in a lot of the products we have, not just our cars but the plastic in our toothbrushes. We’ve kind of tapped out of our oil reserve. From this point on, we’ll have less and less oil.”

In response to these dire circumstances, organizations like Transition Ypsi, Growing Hope and Ypsi Food Co-Op aim to stay positive. Bashert suggests that, “Rather than saying ‘It’s such a big deal; I can’t face it,’ let’s face it and figure out how to have a beautiful and meaningful life.”

Local environmentalists are seeking solutions to the problems rather than living in fear. Lycan comments, “The concept of the transition movement is that eventually the world will run out of or start having less oil, and rather than starting a panic, we want to figure out how we can do things in a more sustainable way.”

Those involved encourage anyone who’s interested to check out this event and join the discussion.

“The series is very accessible for people who are new to the concept of sustainability or peak oil,” Lycan says.

“It’s a nice way to see a film and talk about it in an informal, low-pressure environment. For people who are familiar with the transition movement and local eating, it’s a nice way to meet people who are also interested and find out about other events. Plus there’s food.”

For those who seek knowledge and camaraderie in our changing world, stop by the Ypsilanti District Library to watch a flick from the Sustainability Film Series.


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