Love, Light, and Environmental Film

A sense of hope, an environmental film festival, and our nation’s capital: who’d have thunk all three could come together now?

Sure enough, my fiancĂ© and I hit town and caught film after film, with their panels of filmmakers and scientists, all providing a surprising mood of optimism. There’s nothing passive or Pollyanna here: an unmistakable fire fuels that optimism.

Kim and I sat on the floor for a packed-house premiere of Before the Flood and the atmosphere crackled. In the panel that followed, marine ecologist Jeremy Jackson reminded us that the movement for civil rights was hard fought, but that it ultimately made meaningful strides. His fellow panelist, climatologist Dr. Michael Mann was quick to add that the country’s first-ever march on Washington for science would take place this Earth Day: “Out of the lab and into the streets.”

From archival films about the Galapagos (somehow lost till now) to the modern plight of the dairy farmer, we discovered films filled with education, inspiration, and humor. At our sold-out Power of the River premiere, I was thrilled to hear laughter in all the places I’d hoped for. There were oohs and groans when our adventure turned a bit dicey. The audience questions afterward revealed a thirst to explore and protect places on our planet like those we visited in Bhutan. The discussion ran late in the theater and spilled over into events we organized at the Patagonia store.

Our experience in D.C. was different than any other fest I’ve ever attended. There was something, ahem, monumental about it. Navigating the city means passing embassies of 177 nations; massive buildings dedicated to education or to women in the arts; and monuments to men like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. At the latter we found his words inscribed:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” (1963)

At this year’s Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, we found that sort of love and light among filmmakers, event organizers, and guests. There is much more to come, so join the fest through this Sunday, March 26, 2017:

Thanks for reading! Cheers,

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