Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Experiential Journal: "PlanEAT" Draws Crowd at Green Film Festival

By Jaimie Moscarello

On Tuesday, February 5, I went to Westwood Cinema for the 4th Annual Green Screen Environmental Film Festival. I saw the fifth movie of the festival, PlanEAT, an 87-minute documentary that took three years to create. Two women, Martha and Rosemary, members of the Pascack Sustainability Group, introduced the film and gave some information about the group that meets once a month to raise awareness for sustainable living. The group works within 350.Org, a global organization with larger goals than the Pascack Group.

I was surprised at how many people attended the festival, but more impressed with the passion of the people who were at the theater hosting the event. The woman sitting next to me during the film had been to every screening except one during the week and had good things to say about the event. After the screening, we spoke shortly about being more conscious of eating meat.

Dr. T. Collin Campbell, one of the leads in the documentary, explained his research throughout the film. He first tells viewers that he first went to the Philippines to promote the advantages of adding meat protein into people’s diets. Some time after, he finds that children are being diagnosed with liver cancer, a cancer mostly found in older people. He found that the cancer was caused by meat protein. Dr. Campbell interviews a couple of his patients in the film, who had horrible heart conditions. After taking on Dr. Campbell’s plant diet, their health drastically improved.

Scientist Gidon Eshel explains how what we eat has an effect on the land and ocean. The more meat and dairy consumed, the more the land and oceans are negatively affected.

I found PlanEAT incredibly informative and I really enjoyed it, but the filming was a bit shaky and I left feeling queasy.  I considered a vegan diet shortly after reading a book a few years ago, but decided it would be too hard. For digestive reasons, I have been dairy-free for about a month now. This documentary made me really want to cut meat out of my diet. I have done more research on about recipes, but I still have yet to try them.

I was very excited about the Westwood Green Screen film festival and really wanted to make it to every film, but my schedule didn’t allow for it.

The Lorax

While babysitting on a Saturday night for a 2-year-old, 4-year-old and 7-year-old, I watched the Dr. Seuss movie, The Lorax. I remember having the book read to me when I was young, but I wasn’t crazy about it. Watching the movie now, made me realize the importance of teaching young children important lessons about the environment. 

The movie takes place in a town called Thneed-Ville. Everything in the city, including air is artificial. Ted wants to win the heart of Audrey, who wants to see a real, live tree. Ted goes to see the Once-ler, a businessman who lives outside of town. The Once-ler tells Ted about when he was a young man and came to a beautiful area, with green grass, a pond, a blue sky and clouds, and lots of trees. He cuts them down to make “thneeds.” “This thing is a thneed, a thneed’s a find something all people need.” Thneeds are shirts, socks, gloves, hats, carpets, pillows, sheets, curtains, covers, and bike seats. After cutting down all the trees to make thneeds and a factory, there’s nothing left. When the Once-ler looks around, the land is nothing like it is in the beginning, no animals and no trees.

The Once-ler gives Ted the last tree seed to plant. Ted plants it and the trees multiply and animals start coming back to where they once lived. A line that stood out to me was, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.” 

It’s important to teach young kids the importance of the environment. The environment is easily forgotten about, and we have to keep it clean and safe for ourselves.

I added up the time spent on the two movies, and I’m not quite at five hours. Since taking Environmental Writing, I have become more interested in the land that surrounds me. I have taken several trips to see places we’ve talked about in class and attached pictures of my experiences. I’ve taken hikes up Skyline Drive in Ringwood and up the Ramapo Reservation. I walked around the Ringwood Manor and got to see the pipeline first hand, which inspired my final feature story. I also attended the Ramapo River Watershed Conference and have attached some of my notes from the New Jersey Highlands Updates from Erica VanAuken and Wilma Frey.

Highlands Updates from the Ramapo River Watershed Conference 4/26/13

The New Jersey Highlands provides 5.4 million New Jersey people with water, that’s 2/3 (64%) of the state’s population! The Highlands cover 15% of New Jersey’s landmass, approximately 860,000 acres, covering 7 counties, and 88 municipalities. New Jersey has the 4th lowest cost of water, because of the Highlands. The Highlands are in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

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