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Why is sustainability important?

Watch nine-year-old Eve from Tinkers Bubble, one of the oldest off-grid communities in the UK, passionately address a crowd at a sustainability rally.
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Hello everybody, I hope you’re enjoying the course so far and you’re making the most of all of the activities, and getting stuck into the discussions with your fellow learners on the course. We are very, very lucky today to be joined by three of our contributors on the course. So, my name is Alexia, I’m the training manager at Into Film and the-, one of the writers on this course, and joining us we have Lucy Jane, one of the directors of the short film Eve that you’ll find on this course. And we have Bryony Bromley, the education manager at Keep Wales Tidy, which manages the Eco-Schools programme. And Flora Richards, a teacher and one of our lovely ambassadors at Into Film.
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So, we have just a couple of questions today, so I will get stuck in. So, this first question is to everybody. Why is it important to explore the topic of sustainability with young people? So, if we go to Bryony first. So, we’re, we’re living in a, a critical time at the moment in terms of the sustainability of our planet. So, it’s so incredibly important that we understand the situation, as well as the role that we play in, in helping to, to find a solution and make things better. Nature is vital to life on Earth, so to be able to experience it, we’re then able to understand it and learn how to protect it and restore it. And over to Flora.
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Learning about sustainability is really important for our young people in terms of safeguarding the world and making the planet’s resources last in the long term. We’re aiming to educate our young people to live in a world where we all help our planet to survive for us, and for others who come after us. In our PSHE lessons and in tutor time, we talk about the problems of fast fashion and how we can avoid plastic, and why we might wanna do this. I try to role model being as plastic-free as possible, making swaps to live more sustainably, and encouraging everyone to take more responsibility for our waste. And over to Lucy.
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I think that it’s so important that young people are involved in the conversation surrounding sustainability because they are the future stewards of this planet. And if we normalise the idea of sustainability, and it becomes something that we think about and that plays into every daily decision we make, then the movement towards protecting the planet will be a lot stronger, and ripple effect a lot more naturally throughout different communities. And I think it’s not only about teaching young people about sustainability, but it’s also about having inter-generational conversations where we’re able to talk about it with people who are much older than us, or much younger than us.
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Because that’s where we’re gonna be getting lots of different perspectives and coming at it from lots of different angles, and that’s what we need. We need a, a united and varied vision towards how we can protect the planet. Okay, so moving onto the second question, and this is to Flora and Bryony, how do you work with sustainability in schools, and have you ever used any film or filmmaking to explore this? Let’s go with Flora. We’ve been involved with Eco-Schools in our primary school, and we talk about the three Rs of reduce, reuse and recycle.
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At our secondary school, we have an eco-garden where we plant fruit and vegetables, and we have a student group who work on making our community more environmentally conscious. In the religious studies GCSE which I teach, we talk about sustainable development in terms of the religious concept of stewardship, the idea that in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, God gives us a special responsibility to care for the environment. In terms of use of film and television to teach sustainability issues, we’ve used sections of the documentary An Inconvenient Truth, the amazing ’90s cartoon Captain Planet, and sections of the film I Am Legend, starring Will Smith, to give a sense of how nature always finds a way.
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Okay, so we support teachers and young people to implement the Eco-Schools programme, which is very much a bottom-up approach to environmental change where they need to look at things that, that could be made better within the school environment and the local area, and take that positive action. We also provide live events, live streaming, resources to help inspire involvement and, and increase understanding around environmental issues. In terms of the use of video, we use videos to share
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stories from other people of, of things that have been done well, and increasingly the young people from schools that are using videos to get those critical messages that they’ve got across to their audience, and inspire action in other people. Okay, and so the final question is for Lucy only, and I would love for you to tell us a little bit more about how your film Eve was made sustainably.
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Yeah, so Eve is probably the first carbon neutral short documentary to be made and recorded. And we knew that we wanted it to be carbon neutral from the very beginning, so we had to think about how we could mitigate our impact throughout the entire production. Which means things like sharing cars where possible, getting public transport, being clever in the way that we sourced our technology and our props, making sure that we were renting things from other people rather than buying, and repurposing.
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And obviously, we were filming in an off-grid community, so whilst we were actually on shoot, we weren’t-, the, the community we were filming it haven’t burnt fossil fuels for 25 years, so while we were there, our-, naturally, our impact was very low. But of course, when you’re making a film and you come back into the real world and you have to edit it and send emails and-, there’s, there’s the impact, carbon footprint that you just can’t not create. So, we created a log throughout the whole process, and at the end, even including the film festivals and us travelling to film festivals, we added that entire carbon footprint up of the production and offset it.
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So, we put some of the budget into carbon offsetting schemes, and we were really careful in the way that we chose what those schemes were. Because we wanted to choose schemes which were relevant to the story of the film, and also ones which we-, which we could 100% with our whole hearts say they were good, really good for the planet and, like, and just very trusting offsetting schemes. So, and something we learnt was that you really do have to think about the carbon footprint of a film from the very beginning. So, trying to make a project sustainable is something that comes into scheduling and budgeting, which are the first things that you do.
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So, it’s something that you, you, kind of-, you create from the very seed of the idea, is the sustainable approach.
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Wow, that’s amazing, thank you so much. Thank you all of you for joining us today, I feel very, very grateful for your invaluable contributions to the whole course, and to this conversation as well, and towards sustainability in general. And for you, the learners at home taking this course with us, we hope you found that useful, and enjoy taking the rest of the course with us. Thank you.

Throughout this course, we’ll keep coming back to a wonderful and hot-off-the-press short film called Eve, the first carbon neutral documentary on record.

In the extract above, we see nine-year-old Eve from Tinkers Bubble, one of the oldest off-grid communities in the UK, passionately addressing a crowd at a sustainability rally in London. Like the young people we consulted when creating this course, she shares her concerns for future generations who will take on our planet when we are long gone. Reminiscent of young Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, it’s hard to listen to her speak and not feel stirred into action.

Watch the highlight and consider her points. Reflect on your own thoughts before answering the following question in the Comments section:

Why do you feel sustainability is important?

In Week Two we’ll hear from Lucy Jane, one of the directors of Eve, about how the film was made sustainably. You and your learners can watch this beautiful short film in full here.

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Sustainability Through Film

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