Climate Change and Mountainfilm

A Shepard Fairey Mural in Telluride that Embodies the Spirit of Mountainfilm, Our Mountain Town and So Much Else

Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out.
Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out.
Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out.

Repeat this exercise slowly, focusing solely on the breath for twenty minutes. Either that or grab yourself a bottle of tequila.

I’ve been doing this a lot lately–the former, although I am known to enjoy a good margarita, sometimes two in times of stress. I had to quadruple my relaxation efforts this afternoon as I watched President Trump brazenly declare that he was leaving the Paris Climate Agreements. Wow, fortunately we had some heads up from “leaked news.” It really felt like he was the one leaving this international accord for reducing carbon emissions. It didn’t feel like it was my country, the United States of America. I’m not big on stats but I believe I saw yesterday that almost seventy percent of the American people believe in climate change and the importance of the Paris Agreements. Plus, there’s more to be gained economically in moving forward with the times than being plunged back into the Dark Ages, or at least the Industrial Age. (There’s no such thing as clean coal.)

Telluride, Colorado: Mother Earth at Its Finest

Jeez, I’m feeling pretty embarrassed, too. My deepest apologizes to my European friends, particularly my Paris friends. To say “I’m choosing Pittsburgh over Paris” is so small. I can’t believe a president of the United States actually said that. It’s not about pitting one city against another or poking one of the most revered world capitals with a demeaning remark. I promise you, this does not reflect the views of most Americans. (Even the mayor of Pittsburgh seemed appalled by this statement in a tweet he sent out shortly after Trump’s speech.)

Breathe. We are bigger than the views of Donald Trump. I apologize to anyone that’s one of his staunch supporters. I just encourage you to look at the science and the facts. He’s obviously a climate change denier (even if it’s just one of sorts), because our planet can’t afford to lose any more time. We can’t delay anymore. The clock is running out. Why renegotiate agreements that require a voluntary participation at best? We need to be the world’s leader in caring for the environment; we need a far greater show of diplomacy. It’s time to stop pushing people and countries around, both figuratively and literally.

A Scene of the Healthy Part of the Great Barrier Reef from the film Chasing Coral

Coral: Where the Little Fish Live

Coral Glory

Do you know that 22% of the Great Barrier Reef died off in 2016? Yes, it’s true. And science proves that this is due to the rise in the temperature of our oceans. From Australia to Hawaii and many waters in between and beyond, it’s happening all over the world. Our oceans are warming up faster than our air. You might wonder why is coral so important? Sure, it’s incredibly beautiful but more importantly, it creates the perfect habitat for small fish and other marine creatures to live. If the coral dies, so do the small fish, then the big fish that feed on them, then it’s the death of a whole ecosystem. Economically, the fishing industry would be kaput! And that will happen within the next thirty years if our oceans continue to warm at the same rate as they have these past few decades.

Next it will be our forests.

I’m not a scientist, but if you know me or have read some of my stories in my blog, you know I’m a passionate person. I’ve been passionate about the environment before recycling ever came into fashion. I think I first started tossing bottles and cans in proper receptacles in the mid eighties when I was living in France. Since then, I’m practically OCD about recycling and living green, which is what you have to do to reduce, reuse and recycle. I haven’t bought a box of Ziploc bags in over fifteen years. Instead, I rinse and reuse ones that appear in my life, treating each one practically like treasured heirlooms. (Yes, I am a little nutty.)

The Scene Last Weekend at Mountainfilm Telluride

A Mountainfilm Presentation at the Historic Sheridan Opera House

But this is what it takes, in addition to signing petitions, sharing information with others and advocating for the environment at every chance. Fortunately I’ve been able to glean a good amount of information and form my values from Mountainfilm, a wonderful festival of films, artwork, presentations, books and ideas that takes place every Memorial Day weekend here in Telluride, Colorado. I so encourage you to attend some day. You can also check out Mountainfilm on Tour to see when or if they might be coming to your town.

Get Out Your Bikes

More Bikes

I did a lot of deep breathing (and some tippling) throughout the festival last weekend. Many of the films are heavy; the reality of what’s happening in the world is often bleak, particularly when it comes to climate change. As in the example of the Great Barrier Reef, things are going down fast, folks. Fortunately almost every film, presentation and conversation, leaves you with a message of hope. We can all get together on this. Instead of feeling despair, breathe deeply and do something to make a difference. Here are just a handful of basic ideas:

-Drive less and if possible, drive a more fuel-efficient vehicle. Ride your bike more and try to do more car pooling.
-Unplug appliances when not in use.
-Make sure your dishwasher and washing machines are completely full when you turn them on.
-Use your dryer less and try hanging out some of your laundry more. There’s nothing like the fresh smell of air-dried sheets and clothing.
-Become active within your community to help your world become a greener place. It’s clear that change will come more from the city and state level than the federal level.
-Get involved politically! Even if you just sign a few petitions a day or make one call a week to your senator or congressman, that can make a difference.
-Share information such as this blog post or other stories. Thank you!
-Attend festivals and presentations such as Mountainfilm.

Mountainfilm
Closing Picnic: A great Gathering Place for the Sharing of Ideas

Nat Geo at Mountainfilm: Put Whatever You Want in this Frame

I learned about the importance of our coral reefs from the movie Chasing Coral, a dazzling eye-opening documentary that was shown at Mountainfilm. Check it out, tell your friends about it and join their cause.

Me at Mountainfilm

Truth to Power, Al Gore’s follow up movie to his eyeopening An Inconvenient Truth, a groundbreaking film on global warming from a decade ago, also showed at Mountainfilm. This is what you call, HUGE. Everyone must see this and I think many will have the opportunity since it will be released nationwide by Paramount Pictures at the end of July. Fortunately Truth to Power premiered at Cannes in May to great acclaim, so not all the French–or other concerned peoples of the world–must think ill of us Americans. I’m still processing it and hope to see it again this summer.

Breathe.

Again.

Breathe.

Do your part. Don’t feel powerless. Now, more than ever, we need to stand up and take action. Our lives depend on it.

Polluted Oceans as Shown in a Surfing Magazine

Other films and filmmakers that I became acquainted with at Mountainfilm have greatly inspired me. Check out Bag It and Green Travel, Mountainfilm, The Last Ocean and Travel to Antarctica and for more information toward helping you to form your plan of action.

19 Jun 2017, 7:04pm
by Sheila Murphy


Love your passion for the environment Beth Once you get bitten by the reduce, reuse, recycle bug – it can become a compulsion -glad to know I’m not the only one who washes ziplocs.

 

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