Today’s guest post is from Alex Turner ’11, who is studying abroad this summer in Sydney, Australia through the Boston University film studies program.
For my study abroad experience I decided to study film. This involves taking two courses, “Australian Cinema: The Sydney Film Festival” and “Entertainment Promotion.” The initial part of my program was a crash course in Australian cinema and then experiencing the Sydney Film Festival. Because I love movies way too much I watched 32 films in 11 days. Not only were the films I saw artistic, but they were socially conscious as well.
The Sydney Film Festival has a long history of showing edgy films. This year was no exception. Most of the films I chose to watch were feature films; but others were documentaries. Three of the documentaries I watched were a part of a series which focused on global sustainability. These films were: The Burning Season, Food Inc. and No Impact Man. The Burning Season, narrated by Aussie Hugh Jackman, focused on three intertwined story lines about climate change — looking at carbon emissions from burning forests in Indonesia, displaced orangutans, and an environmental entrepreneur. Optimistic, with the creation of a carbon credit scheme, the film tells of some real hopes for a greener future. Food Inc. looked at the American food industry, specifically meat and fast food companies. New questions were raised as it is revealed where our food is coming from. No Impact Man followed a journalist and his family as they struggled but succeeded in living with making zero impact on the environment.
These films opened my eyes to sustainability. All my life I have tried to be environmentally conscious. I always recycle and do my best to buy organic foods and environmentally friendly products. After watching these films I realized that I need to do more. No impact Man made me aware of simple things that I can do to change like never taking the elevator; walking everywhere I can, not buying individually wrapped foods and volunteering at an environmental organization. Food Inc. made me never want to eat meat again! I was grossed out by where our food comes from and all of the chemicals that are involved. Now I plan on only buying fruit and vegetables in season and limiting the processed foods I eat.
Sydney is a city that works hard to be environmentally conscious. By having a group of films that focuses on sustainability, it demonstrates that the city is trying to change. I have noticed environmental aspects of the city after watching these films. All electrical outlets have an on and off switch; limiting the amount of power used. “Green Bags” are used not only at the supermarket, but at all stores. Few trashcans are present, yet there is little garbage. It is a city that prides itself in being green and encourages its residents to be green as well. I am impressed with green Sydney and the films I saw that call for a change to a more sustainable world. I hope to take what I have learned with me wherever I am.
Posted by Alex Turner ’11