earthrise - Ladakh's Ice Stupa Project
earthrise - Arctic Enzymes
earthrise - Bee Fence
earthrise - Take the Power Back
earthrise - Restoring Elwha River
earthrise - Pesticide Free Farming
Turning CO2 into stone in Iceland - earthrise
earthrise - Aquapods
earthrise - A Liter of Light
earthrise - Singapore: Asia's Greenest City
earthrise - Birdman of Lekurruki
earthrise - Amazon Alliance
earthrise - Barbados goes green
The Cure - On The Trail of Sleeping Sickness: Democratic Republic of Congo (SPECIAL)
earthrise - Green goodbyes
earthrise - Forest Friendly Fires: Tackling Deforestation in Uganda
earthrise - Ladakh's Ice Stupa Projectjust outside Phyang village, Ladakh... this Ice Stupa might be the coolest water conservation project you'll ever seeMillions of people rely directly on glacial melt for survival but due to rapid and profound anthropogenic climate change these "reservoirs in the sky" are disappearing at an alarming rate. Around 260 gigatones of Ice are being lost to the oceans every year affecting not just communities in the immediate vicinity but contributing to sea level rise habitat loss and affecting the water supply for billions of people living down stream. This incredible looking structure stores winter melt water as ice before it escapes to the sea so that come springtime the millions of ltrs of water can be used for irrigation of over 5000 trees in an ambitious desert-greening project conceived by local engineer and environmental visionary Songnam Wanchuk. Check out the Icestupaproject website for more info :
earthrise - Arctic Enzymes· Chemicals used in industry to manufacture a variety of goods, from clothes to food and pharmaceuticals, can pollute our water and air and severely impact our biodiversity. But a team of scientists in Copenhagen think the secret to reducing the environmental impact of industry might just be found in fungi. In this film we visited Danish biotech company Novozymes- world leaders in the use of enzymes in “white- tech”. They specialise in developing biological catalysts for use in industrial processes to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Their products save millions of tonnes of CO2 emissions every year and are used in everything from food, to fashion to pharmaceuticals- but the best bit was that we got to fungi-hunting in Lapland with two of their star mycologists Sarah Landvik and Mikako Sasa. Granted - tramping about the soggy tundra looking for mushrooms might not be everyone’s idea of a good time but seeing the world through the eyes of these wonderfully eccentric mushroom specialists felt like such a privilege- we hiked up the side of a massive glacier and after much searching I found a tiny hairy toadstool – none too impressive but when Mikako explained that mushrooms such as these contain enzymes that have evolved to work in low temperatures and could hold the biological blue-prints that scientists at Novozymes need to create products that could reduce the energy consumption of industry in the future - in effect helping todecreasing our species’ dependence on fossil fuels while combating climate change... now that’s what I call a magic mushroom!
earthrise - Bee FenceDr Lucy King from Kenyan NGO Save the Elephants is an expert in human – elephant conflict resolution. She has developed an ingenious solution to discourage elephants from ransacking homes and raiding crops by exploiting their mortal fear of the humble honeybee. I travelled to Tsavo in southern Kenya to meet some of the farmers who are benefitting from the project and lend a hand building a new Bee-hive fence. This was a pleasure to make with my mate and co-director Scot Corbin and Lucy (she is incredible and the project is going from strength to strength!) and on top of the joy of just being allowed to make the film were honoured to receive the prestigious Foreign Press association award for best environment film of the year for Beefence in 2012.
earthrise - Take the Power BackThe business of unearthing coal, oil, and gas reserves to power the world is a multitrillion-dollar industry. But scientists say that in order to avoid catastrophic consequences, at least two-thirds of these reserves need to remain underground to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius.Ordinary people are joining forces to create a global grassroots movement, geared towards taking on some of the biggest organisations and encouraging them to divest: take their money out of the fossil fuels, and, in some cases, invest it in climate solutions. In the past three years, more than 400 institutions worth $2.6 trillion have pledged to divest, including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a philanthropic organisation established by the family whose fortunes were built on oil.IN this film I travels from New York, London and the Garzweiler mine in Germany, where I met a new generation of young activists such as Danni Paffard from350.org, who says: "We know we can never bankrupt the fossil fuel industry financially, but what we can do is bankrupt them politically, bankrupt them socially, and bankrupt them morally - and that's what divestment is about."
earthrise - Restoring Elwha RiverI always wanted to visit the Olympic national park in Americas pacific northwest - so it was a very good day when my mate Daniel Nikolaison documentary filmmaker and Director at Landfall Media called to say the dust was finally settling after four years of blasting to complete the initial stages of what would be the largest Dam removal project in history.. we flew out to join Robert Ellofson - Lower Elwah Klallum tribal elder andthe driving force behind the project. He and a team of park rangers, engineers and biologists welcomed us to the park and let us get involved with habitat restoration. We got to try our hands at a spot of geomorphology and see how scientists are using state-of-the-art sonar to monitor the return of the mighty Chinook salmon… also I saw a NOAA scientist performing ”gastric lavage” on a live bull trout … (i.e making it throw up so you can see what he’s been eating).. quite amazing.. quite gross!
earthrise - Pesticide Free Farming· Another adventure with my favourite three Amigos Sylvia Rowley (Producer), Dave Aspinall (Camera man and co-Director) Daniel “Chu” Owen (Sound Recordist and beat-boxing astronomer) This time we were headed to the Indian state of Hyderabad to meet Dr. DV Raidu and a growing army of around 2 million incredible female farmers working in Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture (CMSA). They have formed a network of self-help groups that farm non GM crops without chemical pesticides or fertilisers which is better for the planet and for their profits. They introduced us to some of the effective low-tech solutions they have developed to stave off pests and disease and let me give them a hand harvesting some rice. We made some organic pesticide and fertilisers using leaves from their prized Neem tree together with other more unsavoury ingredients fresh from their family cow. Note to self: in future don’t attempt to spray crops with urine-based pesticide while standing up wind from your hosts…
Turning CO2 into stone in Iceland - earthriseIceland are leading the way in maximising geothermal efficiency while reducing environmental impact with promising new carbon-capture system that combines new technology with an ancient geological process.. We were filming all day at the largest geothermal plant in the country where they are pioneering a literally petrifying solution to air pollution - by disolving CO2 and S02 into water and injecting it into basalt they can litterally turn would-be climate warming air pollution into stone!
earthrise - AquapodsLast year I went to La Paz in Mexico with my friends Hugh and Anson of Banyak Films to shoot a film with marine biologist and inventor Steve Page. He is the mad scientist behind an incredible new kind of off-shore, deep water fish farm called the Aquapod. We got to join thousands of fish inside one of these crazy looking structures which he hopes will herald a new environmentally friendly future for fish farming. It looks like science fiction but these gigantic submerged geodesic pods promise to take the pressure off the wild populations while reducing the environmental impact caused by shallow water fish farms.
earthrise - A Liter of LightTapping the power of renewables can afford a cheep and clean source of electricity- but expensive set-up costs pushes green technology beyond the means of many people. Illac Diaz graduate of Harvard and MIT and is driving force behind “a Liter of Light” - a totally decentralised a grassroots solar power revolution that its–improving the lives of some of the planets poorest people using nothing more than a discarded plastic bottle and a little bleach.Hundreds of thousands of families living in dark and overcrowded informal settlements across the world have benefitted from this simple innovation and the numbers are growing every day.I spent an enlightening few days in Manila with Illac and Directing double-act Hugh Hartford and Dave Aspinall to see how the liter of light team are utilising social media and free walk-in workshops to grow this movement and switch people on to this a simple renewable technology… plus we got to see how plans are shaping up to launch a neat LED upgrade with a mini affordable solar cell so families can access sunlight throughout the night.
earthrise - Singapore: Asia's Greenest City Global trends indicate that by 2030 around two-thirds of the world population will be living in cities, driving up C02 levels and increasing competition for space and resourcesIn Singapore challenges from rapid urbanisation , Sea level rise and an increasingly chaotic climate is forcing planners, architects and policy makers to respond to critical questions about how cities of the future will deal with waste and cope with a growing demand for affordable housing, food and public transportation. I traveled to Singapore, to understand how one of the world’s most densely populated nations has been named “Asia’s greenest city”
earthrise - Birdman of LekurrukiLekuruki is a very special place. Not just because it is home to Tasia Lodge that sits Perched high on a cliff top looking out over thousands of miles of dense bush and not even because of the massive herds of wild elephant who wake the guests up with loud trumpeting every morning ... whats great about this place is there are no fences… Thanks to good land management there is allways food and water to attract the elephants- and they inturn attract the tourists .. it’s a great system that proves man and farmer and traditional land use can work in harmony without the need for fences. Birdman him self flies a paramotor high above the bush and is the eyes in they sky for the rangers. With overXXX thousand acres to coverhis support is a vital component to the whole tasia jigsaw puzzle. – I didn’t get to fly with him but tanks to Anson and Hugh’s expert film making- you really get a sense of what its like up there and how important it is to have that eagle eye in the sky
earthrise - Amazon AllianceWhen I heard of a Texan Rancher on a mission to save the amazon rainforest- like most people I was sceptical. But John Carter is no ordinary Rancher. After trying eco-tourism and politics and conventional conservation john had an epiphany when flying his Cessna over the burning amazon that the only way to save the forest was to turn the amazons no1 enemy into its greatest ally… So he has created Alianca da Terra (AT) a kind of agricultural A-team of disciplined and committed soil scientists, biologists and ecologists together with a unit of wild-land fire fighters (who look like a bunch of camo-clad badass eco-mercenaries). They are helping park rangers do their jobs in a hostile environment of violence, intimidation and lawless corruption… and give advice and support to ranchers who are struggling to stay within the law . By creating a “rainforest –friendly” seal, John antd his team are rewarding farmers for their environmental service by allowing consumers to exercise their power to make ethical choice in the market place in effect supporting a cleaner supply chain.
earthrise - Barbados goes greenLast year we attended the world environment day celebration on Barbados - the small island developing state that is punching above its weight when it comes to developing a green economy... we avoided the press tours and made our own itinerary-which meant meeting young entrepreneur and aquaponics enthusiast Damien Hinkson - he’s got a vision to help islanders be more food secure with his designs for modular back-yard food production which yeild fresh fruit, veggies and fish as a bonus crop. We got to join in with a sea turtle conservation initiative spearheaded by Darren Brown and his team at the Barbados sea Turtle Project (Meanwhile on the other side of the island James Husbands- known as the grandfather of solar thermal movement has developed a business that puts Barbados fourth in the world per capita for solar thermal take-up - thanks in part to a generous subsidy by the progressive government. (I was honoured to meet the prime minister for a chinwag about how a combination of the right political policies and private enterprise is a potent combination for stimulating green growth.. he seemed like a really nice man… but wow.. I thought I could talk!) .
The Cure - On The Trail of Sleeping Sickness: Democratic Republic of Congo (SPECIAL)After shooting “Ugastoves” for earthrise in Uganda with Dan Nicholiasson the two of us headed to the Democratic Republic of Congo to shoot an episode of Al Jazeera’s Medical show called THE CURE with our friend and colleague Dr Javid Abdelmoneim - (when he’s not busy saving peoples lives as an emergency doctor in London he’s working in a war zone or containing an ebola outbreak as a MSF medic – #true hero!) after an unforgettable cesna flight through lighting storm over the Congo we spent an incredible few days in the jungle filming Javid and head of Mission Marie Claret and her dedicated MSF crew in their efforts to eradicate sleeping sickness... we wentfrom 4x4 to motorbike to dugout canoe to reach some veryremote communities to set up field hospitals and conduct trials so that the team could identify those in need of attention. the fatal disease is passed on in a bite of the tsese fly and a tell-tale sign of infection is logorrhea (i.e talking too much) .. maybe I should have got a test myself!
earthrise - Green goodbyesDeath can be a messy business- cremation can be polluting and energy intensive and while conventional burial with all the chemicals and metal coffins is incredibly resource hungry (apparently every year Americans bury enough steel to build the golden gate bridge!) . There are other simple, inexpensive and ecologically sound alternatives that use trees instead of tombstones and eschew the use of toxic chemical preservatives and cement liners but in Massachusetts these “green burials” are actually illegal. So it was a great privilege to meet Ruth Faas and Edith Moseley who are part of a growing community campaigning for the legalisation of green burials in Boston. We met Ruth at her showroom called Mourning Dove where I got to try out a cardboard coffin for size before Eva and i took a road trip to Seven Oaks natural cemetery. We had a very pleasant stroll around in the forested grounds where it was almost impossible to tell that anyone was buried there at all.I did Lanscape design and Ecology as my first degree and chose to focus on green burial practices for my final project so was really keen to do this film when my mate Matan Rochlitz came up with the idea. Unfortunately he was unavailable to Direct since he was Kenya shooting “Pink Horned Rhinos” – another film for (Al Jazeera’s earthrise series) so that meant another collaboration with producer/ director double-act Hugh and Anson Hartford… I often do the writing and some producing in the edit for earthrise but this was really Anson’s baby.. I think he’s done a great job on it and it remains one of my favourite wee films.
earthrise - Forest Friendly Fires: Tackling Deforestation in Uganda
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