Last week saw the launch of the third and final film in the “think” trilogy. This time the team concentrated on energy consumption and climate change and the film was titled “EcoLogic”.
Whereas in previous films, the first about food and farming and the second looking at marine conservation, I felt perfectly within my comfort zone with the subject, this time I was not the lead in script development. The strong partnership between East Devon District Council and Exmouth Community College was pivotal in providing the financial backing for the project and the brains of the operation came in the form of Exmouth’s Head of Geography, Dan Eynon.
In case his students read this column, or I make him blush, I will hold back on the eulogy this chap deserves. However, I will go so far as to say few other teachers would have put themselves out to the same extent or done so much to make the project a success than Dan.
The preamble before the film screening put the project in context with regard to the Geography curriculum; most importantly the following passage from the Geography curriculum was quoted, and I would like to share it with you now:
Geography inspires pupils to become global citizens by exploring their own place in the world, their values and their responsibilities to other people, to the environment and to the sustainability of the planet.
This short summary did more to sum up the ambitions and aims of this film, and the previous two, than I could have hoped for. It also leaves me baffled as to why such a pivotal and forward-looking subject is not a compulsory part of a student’s timetable.
None of the films we have made to date have tried to tell young people what to do, or what to think. EcoLogic is no exception. The issues of climate change, energy consumption and sustainability are explored by three student presenters and local case studies used to illustrate some possible solutions to the pressures we are facing. So often the messages given about environmental issues are doom-laden and preachy. By putting the students in the driving seat, EcoLogic aimed to make a serious subject inspiring and enlightening to the intended audience.
Of course, just because the film was made primarily for teenagers, doesn’t mean it has no impact for other people. Think Deep, a recent Green Apple Award-winner for Environmental Best Practice, was shown by the Exmouth Transition Towns movement to an adult audience and everyone seemed fittingly pleased with its content and style of production. I hope EcoLogic will have the same impact.
Most importantly the film does not try to be “yoof”. You know, and I shudder to use the word as it is now something of an oxymoron, “trendy”. The shooting style is stright documentary, the production score so middle of the road as to have cats eyes. There’s no machine gun edits or strobing effects and thank goodness, no skinny jeans or expressive eye make up. Its a grown up film that just happens to be fronted by young people.
Now we have given the film its premier at the Community College there are a few loose ends to tie-up before the master copy is duplicated and distributed, with this one heading to all Secondary Schools in the South West of England. Taking messages of environmentalism here in East Devon, all over the region.
Its a small drop in a massive ocean, but if it has an impact for a handful of students within its shelf-life, I feel it will be a positive success. There’s no single means of appealing to everyone, no magic silver bullet, so this is one of many educational tools out there for teachers, interest groups and the world in general to dip into and use as they see fit. It will be available for free in hard copy to South West schools, and online for the rest of the world. Here’s hoping that a little bit of Exmouth common sense rubs off!
My favourite bit of the film comes at the end of a magical animation sequence, I’ll paraphrase as I don’t have the script here in front of me on my day off:
“We can either sit around and wait for the big people to make big decisions, or the billions of us can make simple small changes that add up to one MASSIVE change worldwide.”