Boston Film Festival

The 29th annual Boston Film Festival took place this weekend at the Revere Hotel’s Theatre 1.  The festival usually has a feature film that pulls in a celebrity or two – Andy Garcia this year.  I am happy to see that organizers are allowing this event to be a platform for discussing environmental issues.  Last year there was a screening of a nearly-finished copy of Greedy Lying Bastards, a film that put the spotlight on climate change denial and those behind the PR campaign to confuse the public and prevent meaningful discussion on the topic.  This year journalist Angela Sun presented Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.  The documentary chronicles Sun’s journey to Midway Atoll to investigate the effects of the swirling mass of trash in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  Circulation is concentrating North American and East Asian trash, particularly plastics, here and enormous amounts of it wash up on shore at Midway.  Sea birds, albatross in particular, and other animals are at great risk – the contents of the stomachs of dead ones opened up reveal the extent to which they ingest plastic.  The only solution is to stop creating so much trash – refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle – and responsibly dispose of what we do create.

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A local film by Billerica-based Brian Dorrington made its debut on the last night of the festival.  George of the Center focused on the efforts of one man to preserve the historic town center of Billerica from a highway project.  While I think the film suffered a bit from a lack of context, it was more about the person of George Simoularis leading the fight against the town council than the issue itself.  The film suggests the board of selectmen were subverting democracy by purposely keeping the construction plans quiet and holding an unpublicized special election, essentially hoping public disinterest would allow the project to pass.  A large group of Billerica residents turned out for the screening.

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UMass Lowell and partners under the auspices of ScienceToGo will be putting up posters in T stations and trains for the next year in an effort to start local conversations about climate change.

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Review: Behind the Walls

Subscribers to Boston magazine received a copy this month of Behind the Walls, a new publication from 360Chestnut – an internet resource for sustainable and healthy home building – the stated purpose of which is to be a “source for ideas, conversation, and celebration for the rapidly changing world of environmentally sound and smart homes and living.”  If you are planning to build or remodel, the slim supplement probably contains some useful advertisements to help you find a “green” building supplier or service provider.  There are also two mildly interesting articles on sustainable pre-fab homes and geothermal home heating.  However, the publisher should probably abandon the “living” content because it exemplified two of the worst tendencies in the promotion of eco-friendly living: glorifying the green-washed lifestyle of some celebrities and stupid DIY ideas.  Why should Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady be pat on the back for throwing up a few solar panels to power their monstrous 22,000 sq. ft. home and conspicuous consumption?  The bit about their plans for a vegetable garden to reduce their carbon footprint was particularly humorous.  If Gisele really worries about the increasing concentration of atmospheric carbon and is such an “eco-mommy” she would do better to fly commercial and stop hawking clothing from irresponsible manufacturers.  Even more silly was the article about “repurposing” where the reader is encouraged to turn a discarded door into a bookshelf and cut off the arm of an old sweater to make a mug cozy.  Who wants an old door in their living room??  It does not make for a 19th-century style curiosity, it looks like a piece of junk taking up space!


Even on the off chance you might not find it completely awkward to grab your coffee cup with a dangerously slippery piece of old wool wrapped around it, who nurses their morning joe that long to need a warmer??


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