It’s been nearly two years since I posted here. Two years ago I had a period without paid work and focused my time on putting together some film clips and posting them on my YouTube channel.
Soon after I started a UNDP contract in Mauritius, focused on ‘Capacity Building for Development of Climate Resilient Policies’. It was an exhausting but ultimately rewarding piece of work.
2012 proved to be my busiest year ever. I had a New Zealand contract working with kiwifruit growers and others on resilience to climate change. This was very difficult work given the unfolding effects of PSA on the kiwifruit industry and I think a general (and worrying) lack of interest in climate change. As the year progressed I had to juggle this work with two separate contracts in Samoa and another UNDP contract. For the latter I worked as part of a team completing a mid-term evaluation of the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) project.
Currently I’m working on another New Zealand project under the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change programme; working with two colleagues from Landcare Research.
Meanwhile I’ve recently been interviewed by TV3 for an item on the planned Ruataniwha dam in Central Hawke’s Bay. Unfortunately, as happens with news items, they chose the sound bite that they wanted to use to fit the story they told. There was no room for some of my key messages which included:
1) The majority (more than 80 percent) of Hawke’s Bay is in hill country. So a dam that is designed to irrigate 25,000 ha of flat land for intensive dairy farming is not going to do anything to build security against current and future droughts in the region. In fact it could make future drought security worse. This needs more discussion than I’m giving right now.
2) The proposed dam is a solution without a clearly defined problem. There is no long-term strategy for the whole Hawke’s Bay region, taking account of climate change, which clearly identifies the key issues and critically looks at the different choices we have to address them. Again this needs more discussion.
3) There has been a complete lack of genuine community consultation throughout the whole process.
Over recent months I’ve played a relatively small role in helping organise part of Jim Hansen’s current trip to New Zealand. For those who don’t know him Jim Hansen is one of the world’s leading climate change scientists. Convinced by the science, and as a concerned grandfather, he has become a lot more active in recent years. In 2009 he published Storms of my Grandchildren in which he outlines both the science and what he believes we need to be doing. He says that if we want to avoid climate catastrophe then we need to begin acting immediately towards keeping all remaining fossil fuels in the ground, imposing carbon taxes at source, and planting forests around the world to help absorb the carbon dioxide already released to the atmosphere.
Planting forests are an important part of the solution. It’s a message that has been articulated through my work with farmers over the last decade. It is a message that came through strongly with the people I interviewed in 2007. The latest voice I can add is that of Pra Parinya, a Buddhist monk from Saraburi province in central Thailand. I wasn’t sure about the quality of the footage from our visit with him, but have put together another film clip that I feel very happy with.
A key message from a leading climate scientist, reinforced by the actions of a Buddhist monk over the last twenty years.
For the past month or so I’ve been absorbed in writing or contributing to various work proposals. Hopefully I will have some success with at least some of these. Meanwhile I have continued working on my film when time has allowed. Often I’ve had to put it aside completely. I have now managed to get another film clip completed. This one is mostly focused in the vicinity of the Mekong river in northern Thailand.
The more I work on this film the more I understand why I struggled for so long to get a story together. In at least two of the clips I’ve done so far I’ve learnt that there was more in my footage than I realised. It’s only by working on the film that a clearer sense of what is there has emerged for me. This more hands on approach to allowing the story to emerge as I go suits me very well.
I received some very supportive comments and positive feedback on my first clip, uploaded three weeks ago. I subsequently decided to work sequentially through my footage. This posed an immediate challenge as the next batch of film required me to think a lot more about a storyline for the clip. As a result I incorporated some narration from myself. This, along with sub-titles and a few other editing refinements, has led to a better clip than the first one.
I’m going to keep moving with this as much as time allows. This material is as relevant as it was four years ago when it was filmed. Most importantly it needs and deserves an audience.
Four years ago I began a film project to document grassroots perspectives on climate change. The journey that unfolded is documented on the Journal page of this website.
Some sporadic work has been done towards developing the documentary film that I original set out to do. It’s taken me a while but I’ve now got to a point where I am teaching myself to use Avid and am starting to create a series of clips to load onto my YouTube channel.
I’ll be posting links to the clips on my film project page as they are developed and uploaded.
Watch this space for updates. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel and you’ll receive a message with every new film clip that I upload.