My Films

Monday, October 19, 2009

Off to Bangladesh!

On Monday, I'm headed to Bangladesh for two weeks to do a story about how the local people are affected by climate change. On our warming planet, Bangladesh is considered to be one of the 12 highest climate-risk countries. It has all of the five main threats that arise from climate change: droughts, floods, storms, rising sea levels, and greater uncertainty in agriculture. (World Bank) In particular, Bangladesh will lead in flood disasters due to its geography: ie. situated between Himalayan glaciers which are melting and the sea of Bengal.

It's sad to hear that Bangladesh, and many of the other countries on the high-risk list, is increasingly facing such threats when its contribution to the world wide carbon emissions is miniscule. On top of these climate impacts, Bangladesh is one of the most population dense countries in the world and ranks 147 out of 179 on UNDP's Human Development Index. A list which asses a countries achievement in terms of human development, ie. prosperity. 

The Bangladeshis, however, have not resigned to climate change doom but have become an active leader in trying to make adaptations both at home and abroad. In 2008, the Government of Bangladesh published the "Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan"

I have to admit that while it's very exciting to be going on this mission, I'm also a bit nervous about what I'm about to experience. Seeing and documenting the diminishing drift-ice in Hokkaido (see bottom video) is starting to feel small in comparison to meeting the men and women of Bangladesh who's homes have washed away and livelihoods destroyed to crop salination. While there, we will be working with UNU Researcher Tan Chun Knee and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature,
to document some of the efforts to create awareness and to help Bangladeshis adapt to the increasing environmental changes. 

Anyways, looking forward to my return to Tokyo and sharing my experiences with you. 'Till then.~<3

Monday, October 12, 2009

"The Cove" @ Tokyo International Film Festival

October certainly seems like the month of film festivals. With the always excellent UNHCR refugee film festival out of the way, Tokyoites now have the Tokyo International Film Festival to look forward to. Last year TIFF went eco-friendly: laying out a green carpet, using green energy for screenings, and holding a symposium on environmental issues. Adding on to that, this year, TIFF has started the Green Carpet Club, of which you can become a member:

I'll be away for most the entire duration of the film festival :( but I have one particularly film that I want to encourage you wholeheartedly to see- "The Cove."

While I feel this trailer speaks for itself, I have to say of all the amazing films I have seen recently (Burma VJ, Heart of Jenin, Age of Stupid) this by far trumps them all. 

"The Cove" is an inspirational story about an individual giving everything in order to bring awareness to not only the plight of this dolphin slaughter but the many issues related, such as mercury poisoning and the selling dolphin meat disguised as whale. Ric O'Barry, once the dolphin trainer of the beloved American TV show Flipper, now sees it as his mission to curb the ever expanding dolphin industry.  

While protecting dolphins is not necessarily my number one priority, the shear passion that Ric O'Barry emits is earth-shatteringly inspiring. I was shaking when I had the opportunity to meet him after the screening of the film at the Foreign Correspondent's Press Club in Tokyo.

The screening of the film at TIFF is on Wendesday the 21st at 10:50am. Pre-sale tickets are already sold out but if you line up early ( I would get there by 8, but Im just a film freak) I'm sure you can get a chance to catch this controversial yet well produced and incredibly moving story.