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Update: Two Green Interviews, A New Film, and A Bigger Film

Posted on Oct 17, 2015

Hello, friends!

Time — well past time, in fact — for a biggish update.

As you may know, the Green Interview team devoted the first nine months of this year largely to the GreenRights Maritimes project which ultimately became Defenders of the Dawn: Green Rights in the Maritimes, and was broadcast by CBC Atlantic on September 5. If you didn’t see it, the 50-second trailer is here: https://youtu.be/3SvdCehamY0 is and the whole show can be streamed here:http://www.cbc.ca/player/Kids/Kids/ID/2674978131/ That site is “geo-blocked,” and accessible only in Canada. If you need to send a link to someone outside Canada, this link will work from anywhere in the world:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xdkoCFdeHE

 

The show drew a lot of attention, and some very positive comments. Also, an interview I did with the Nature Conservancy of Canada has just been published here: bit.ly/1fEZkKz You know that’s an old interview because it refers to 60 interviews at TheGreenInterview.com. Today there are actually almost 80 — including two exciting new ones with Larry Kowalchuk, the incisive lawyer from Saskatchewan who appeared in Defenders of the Dawn, and with Amy Larkin, founder of Greenpeace Solutions and author of a stimulating new book on business and the environment called Environmental Debt.

With Defenders of the Dawn completed, we’re turning our attention back to the full-length GreenRights documentary.

As you know, we have the material in hand to tell great environmental-rights stories from Argentina, Ecuador, the Philippines and the Maritimes, and we have important one-off interviews with influential figures from Australia, Scotland, the United States and South Africa. We had hoped to include a major story from India, and we feel a real need for a first-rate story from Europe.

India doesn’t seem possible, but a fabulous story turned up just recently in the Netherlands, where 900 citizens and the Urgenda Foundation sued the Dutch government for failing to act with sufficient urgency on climate change. Urgenda won, and their victory has sent shock waves around the world; activists in other countries from Norway to Australia are looking at the possibility of similar actions in their own countries. To get a taste of the reaction, take a look here: http://www.urgenda.nl/en/

As a result, Chris Beckett and I will travel to the Netherlands in late November to interview the leading figures in the case. Short excerpts will appear in the GreenRights show, but five will appear as Green Interviews. I’m particularly looking forward to meeting Roger Cox, the visionary lead lawyer in the Urgenda case, whose book Revolution Justified (http://www.revolutionjustified.org/) inspired the lawsuit.

We’ll also interview Marjan Minnesma,the executive director of the Urgenda Foundation. Here’s an interview with her about the Urgenda case — http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/jun/25/hague-climate-change-verdict-marjan-minnesma

Another lawyer, Femke Wijdekop, was a litigant in the Urgenda case, and is making a specialty of protecting environmental activists around the world. (It’s a dangerous business especially in the developing world; she says two eco-activists are killed every day.) You can see her in a TEDx talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKt2DlZWH7k Femke has been inspired by Polly Higgins (pollyhiggins.com) a Scottish lawyer who has devoted her life to Eradicating Ecocide, which is the name of one of her books. Polly acts as a consulting attorney in environmental cases all over the world, and we’ll also be interviewing her in the Netherlands.

Finally, we will interview Jan van de Venis, a lawyer and unofficial Dutch Ombudsman for Future Generations. He’s an expert on the human right to a clean environment, and a director of an international NGO called WaterLex, which works at the intersection of human rights and sustainable water supplies. We’ll interview several secondary figures as well, and accumulate as much background footage as possible.

Financing the trip will be a bit of a challenge, and if you’re willing and able to donate, we’d appreciate it. Just go to www.GreenRights.com and click on the Donate button. We are, of course, still eager to find a major sponsor, but we simply haven’t had time to pursue that matter while doing the CBC production.

After this trip, however, we’ll be in a position to create an excellent film that gives a vivid picture of the global spread of environmental rights, using inspiring stories from four continents and voices from two more. Defenders of the Dawn, which provides a taste of the material, was described as “compelling,”  “really riveting” and “one of the best and most important documentaries I’ve ever seen.” Still, Defenders is a short film, just 45 minutes long, and focussed on Canada’s Maritime Provinces. GreenRights, by contrast, will sweep around the world, from great cities like Buenos Aires and Amsterdam to the rain forests of the Amazon and the tropical islands of the Philippines, from the smog of Sarnia to the Democracy Schools of New England  The story bristles with fascinating characters and dramatic stories. 

Stay tuned! The best is yet to come!

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