The environment and sustainability are some of the most talked-about subjects today, but it’s not always easy to start the conversation. Calumet College of St. Joseph took a step forward in beginning those conversations by inviting One Earth Film Festival in for a night of learning, questioning, and forward-thinking. The festival staff visits schools around the Chicagoland area as a kickoff for the actual festival that takes place on March 6 - 15.
Green Community Connections are the brains behind the One Earth Film Festival events, and simply want students and children to start thinking about how their choices impact the environment they live in.
We’re looking for ways for people to feel hopeful about the challenges we’re facing in our climate,” Al Walker, Volunteer Coordinator for One Earth Film Festival said. “We want to help people refresh their minds on how they can positively impact a constructive end to climate change.”
Several students, alongside faculty and community members, piled in for the showing of 2040: The Regeneration, a story about how we can effectively reverse global warming and improve the lives of everything living in the process. Two student volunteers, Fiona Culbertson and Paul Bylen were glad to see the community want to be involved in environmental sustainability.
“As science majors, we care deeply about the environment, because without the earth we can’t practice science,” Culbertson said. “I love movies, so being able to present something so important as something everyone can relate to in the form of a movie is amazing.”
“Awareness is what you need to try and fix an issue, so it’s good that the community is coming together to think about things like this,” Bylen said. “We just need to get the conversation started.”
The film was followed by a panel of local environmentalists who shared what Northwest Indiana is doing to be sustainable. Ty Warner, Executive Director of the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC), Doug Dixon, the One Earth Film Festival facilitator, and Milan Kruszynski, Director of the Hammond Port Authority, were all happy to be in a room full of likeminded people with an opportunity to show them how they too can help the environment.
“By law (NIRPC) has to think 20 years ahead and I think it will be a success if we can get people to think about where we’re headed,” Warner said. “We had 13 miles of paved trails in 1990, today we have over 160 miles of paved trails so we’re giving people other options so they can contribute to sustainability as well.”
“For the Hammond Port Authority, it’s our job to take some of the dollars available to make things happen toward sustainability,” Krusynski said. “We took Barstow Mountain, which was a slag dump, and transformed it into a golf course, something sustainable.”
“There are so many things that an individual can do that can make a significant impact,” Dixon said. “What I want to encourage people to do is to think of just one more thing we can do to advance the envelope because we can always do something more.”
For more information, go to www.oneearthfilmfest.org