Free Film Screening of ‘Hope in a Changing Climate’

Posted: November 30, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, 2009 at 9:28 am

Mason’s Center for Climate and Society joins with the Environmental Education Media Project and a global network of organizations to host a free on-campus screening on Dec. 3 of a new film, “Hope in a Changing Climate.” The film was recently produced for the BBC and the COP15 United Nations Climate Change Summit.

The film tells the story of how large-scale ecosystem restoration projects in China, Rwanda and Ethiopia are changing the course of history for millions of people. By fully engaging and embracing local culture and tradition, people are contributing to repairing deeply distressed and dysfunctional ecosystems so that water is once again absorbed into the soil, plants are able to grow, environmentally destructive practices are curtailed and people can lift themselves out of entrenched poverty.

The screening will take place at 7:30 p.m.  on  Thursday, Dec. 3, in Innovation Hall, Room 103, on the Fairfax Campus.  Tickets are not required and space will be available to the Mason community and public on a first-come, first-served basis. Refreshments will be provided.

The film also aired on BBC World on Nov. 27 and will be screened by the World Bank and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at COP15 in early December.

“We are honored to be part of the solution, to be bringing a wide range of our citizens together here in Northern Virginia alongside the global effort to learn, teach, and act to repair and restore our planet,” says Paul Schopf, associate dean for research in the College of Science and director of the Center for Climate and Society at Mason.

“Much has been said about the role of the tropical rain forests in the climate change crisis, but few are aware of the large role that ecosystem disruption across the agricultural sector has had, or how large-scale restoration can be a large part of the solution.”

Grounded firmly in science, the film documents how the power of natural systems – carbon, water and nutrient cycling – can be restored to capture carbon and support economic and human development within a healthy and robust ecosystem.

Mason’s Center for Climate and Society is an official partner with the Environmental Education Media Project (EEMP), the U.S. and China-based nonprofit that has produced “Hope in a Changing Climate.” Both John D. Liu, founder of the EEMP, and Jonathan J. Halperin, executive director of the EEMP, are research professors at Mason.

Liu, an on-screen presenter in this latest film, notes, “We urgently need to address climate change, desertification, food insecurity, biodiversity loss and poverty. What we have seen during the documentation of the Loess Plateau restoration and subsequent research is that we can address our immediate problems and ensure future generations will be able to live in harmony with nature. We know that large-scale integrated poverty eradication and ecosystem restoration works. We know what we need to do and now we must act.”

Financial support for the project has been provided to the EEMP by the IUCN-The Netherlands, Open University, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture and the World Bank.

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