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Based on six years of intensive research on solutions to man-made global warming, Portland filmmaker Matt Briggs’ DEEP GREEN cuts through the clutter to bring new clarity to an increasingly urgent situation.  Traveling the globe unearthing the best applications in energy efficiency, green building, low-carbon transportation, sustainable agriculture, forest restoration, renewable energy and smart grids, Briggs finds DEEP GREENmany promising ideas.  Some are profoundly personal and practical—like what one person can do to lower the carbon load at home—others complex endeavors such as Southern California Edison’s quest to find the best batteries to electrify transportation.  From France, Sweden and Germany to China, where the flourishing green industry has, as a percentage of its GDP, surpassed the US in green technology, the world is at work to find green solutions to one of the 21st century’s most important challenges.

Shows with: TREES (2010) and THE KRILL IS GONE (2010), two ecologically-minded, animated short films by Portland’s Bent Image Lab.

Filmmaker Matt Briggs will be in attendance.

The film will be showing at the Whitsell Auditorium (1219 SW Park Avenue, Portland) on Thursday July 1st at 7pm.  Hope to see you there!

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By Mike Mercer, Executive Director of the Northwest Earth Institute

This article was originally published as an opinion piece in The Oregonian, June 08, 2010.

It’s bad. It’s really bad.

Whether the number of gallons spewing daily from the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe is 500,000 or 1 million, the impact is and will be horrendous. The Coast Guard estimates that it is collecting 42,000 gallons of oil residue per day. So what isn’t collected is simply pollution left to foul our planet, hurting people, animals and plants.

Given the magnitude of this disaster, we’ve heard a number of leaders and authors proclaim that it might provide the motivation citizens need to make personal lifestyle changes to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels. Certainly large-scale generosity has followed other major disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami in Indonesia and the recent earthquake in Haiti. So what can we expect from citizens in response to this massive oil spill?

Not much, actually. From experience and behavior-change research, we know an event like this will have little effect on personal consumption. Unless the damage is perceived as an immediate crisis affecting us within our homes, the vast majority of Americans will be frustrated at the occurrence but will do little in the way of productive action. Furthermore, we only have so much capacity for worry. So unless you live right on the Gulf Coast or make your living from its natural resources, a devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico just doesn’t measure up to unpaid mortgages, college tuition or tutoring for the kids.

That said, people can and will change behaviors given the right conditions. Having engaged over 120,000 people in the process of inspired action, we see people making personal change on behalf of self-interest and the environment on a regular basis. Here is what we need: Follow up our dissatisfaction with the current conditions with images of a positive vision for the future in which we can see ourselves. Citizens then need a range of options for change without feeling dictated to or appearing too sacrificial. Finally, like with most effective behavior-change efforts, a support group of family or peers helps to normalize new behaviors, provides supportive reminders and offers a sense of accountability to one another. Perhaps by focusing on what really matters to Americans — a high quality of life including the basics in food and shelter, strong relationships with others, rewarding experiences and good health, we’ll drastically reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and other dwindling resources.

Guest Contribution by Rob Dietz

Article originally published in the Rob’s blog The Daly News on May 09, 2010. The Daly News is the blog of the Center for the Advancement of a Steady State Economy (CASSE). Click the following link to take a look at their position statement.

Annie Leonard’s The Story of Stuff, the explosive online video (now also expanded into a book), provides an entertaining explanation of a glaring economic flaw.  The Story of Stuff takes a look at the economy’s linear system that runs from extraction to production to distribution to consumption to disposal. As Annie says, “… you cannot run a linear system on a finite planet indefinitely.” You especially can’t grow the size of that linear system indefinitely. But that’s the misguided aim of current economic goals and policies. Misguided as it is, however, we know why politicians and economists push economic growth and consumer spending. As soon as we slow down our shopping and buy less stuff, the economy spirals into a recession. That’s when we start hearing about and experiencing real problems – problems like people losing their jobs, their homes, and even their ability to take care of basic needs.

What a dilemma! The planet can’t sustain our pattern of consumption, but people get steamrolled in the economy when consumption slows down. The solution is to figure out how to structure the economy so that people can meet their needs without trashing the planet. But restructuring the economy is no simple task. Even gathering the will to take a shot at it is difficult. Read the rest of this entry »

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