On August 29, at 6:30pm, the UNCG Sustainability Film and Discussion Series kicked off their first event with a showing of ‘Paris to Pittsburgh’ in the Weatherspoon Art Museum.
After the pleasantly surprised host, Sarah Dorsey, greeted the large crowd and offered space for a few announcements, the viewing of ‘Paris to Pittsburgh’ began immediately.
The National Geographic documentary centers around President Trump’s decision to pull the United States from the Paris Agreement, whilst commenting that he, “was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” and the reaction of Pittsburgh itself.
‘Paris to Pittsburgh’ provided a multitude of reasons as to why our government needs to ignore the demands of certain businesses lobbying throughout congress, and instead look at the real data behind climate change.
The film argues that the biased climate change research presented by lobbyist with fossil fuel interests in mind, should not be what dictates our future.
Suggesting that our nation doesn’t have to sacrifice economic opportunity while implementing sustainable practices, the documentary travels to midwest America where sustainable innovation is on the rise, as well as to Pittsburgh, the city working to oppose President Trump’s statement.
Following the viewing of ‘Paris to Pittsburgh’, a discussion was held where many students and faculty voiced their personal likes and dislikes of the film. One viewer stated that he noticed how much emphasis was placed on the economic side of sustainability, saying, “the more we can speak that language to folks who are seeing that perspective, [the better]”.
A faculty member noted that she didn’t think the film touched enough on the environmental impacts of, “greenhouse gasses and pre production food wastes…”. She felt that they, “glamorized agriculture, and that was disappointing”. The discussion’s facilitator added that, “values around consumption didn’t seem to be discussed at all…what about the [personal] choices that we make?”.
One UNCG student added to the discussion about the lack of environmentalism in the film, by stating, “there was nothing on the production of clothing and how it is not sustainable in and of itself. A lot of our clothing is produced and wastes a lot of our water, specifically fresh water. So in turn, that’s also contributing to the climate issue, and I don’t think a lot of people know about that – that most companies don’t produce their clothes ethically and in a sustainable fashion.”
A major point of interest among the audience was brought to attention when another UNCG student stated, “[a quote from the film] that stuck out to me was ‘the only way to really push renewable energy resources was to raise taxes on things that diminished the carbon dioxide emissions’ and the problem with that in my mind is that effects the lower income community so much. They lose access to all of those resources because they can’t afford them. I think that’s one of the biggest problems we have to solve.”
If you are interested in watching documentaries like these, be sure to check out the events that UNCG Sustainability Film and Discussion Series has to offer.