Sustainability Media Critiques

Sustainability Media Critiques

The Cove (2009)

Ric O’Berry, a former trainer of the “Flipper” dolphins is out for redemption in this extremely suspenseful documentary. The film starts in the small town of Taiji, Japan where 23,000 dolphins are slaughtered annually. The film exposes the fishermen of this town and the ecological espionage that leads to a frighting domino effect of imperialism, political corruption and environmental disregard.

The Cove is effective in raising awareness of this tragedy in many ways. Fist by showing the dolphin auctions, where the intelligent creatures are sorted and sold to the highest bidder. The winners are then sent to live in captivity in various aquariums and water parks – the losers are sent to “the cove” where they are mercicley slaughtered. The auctions are conducted in full view of the public, the slaughter that happens in “the cove” is not.

Ric gathers a team of daredevils and activists to secretly plant cameras and successfully exposes this tragic crime against nature. What they discover is hard to watch – A literal bloodbath and slaughter of intelligent self aware mammals.

Also exposed is the mercury present in the dolphin meat – which is mandatory lunchmeat at the local japanese schools. This serious issue which can cause deformities is not only ignored by the locals, but naively fed to their children.

Along with the political corruption that keeps this industry going, the film presents the chilling evidence that unfolds in a hard-to-watch conclusion that is extremely unsettling. The film succeeds most by creating a ripple effect. The fact that this movie was made proves that humans are empathetic when educated. Through the heroism of its makers, “The Cove” raises awareness to the evil that money and greed can create in the hearts of men. But the film ultimately proves the importance of protecting these intelligent beings.

The dolphin’s screams are heard long after the credits have rolled.

Gasland (2010)

After amateur film-maker Josh Fox is offered $100,000 from the government for drilling rights on his Pennsylvania property, he decides to do some investigating. He sets out on a journey that takes him to 25 states where hydraulic fracturing is practiced. The results that Josh discovers are horrifying – large scale environmental damage, contaminated water supplies, people suffering from a wide range of illnesses, and tap water that literally catches fire.

The documentary effectively exposes the Bush/Cheney Energy policy act that was fast tracked for approval by our government.  This policy exempts gas drilling from the Safe Water Drinking Act and attempts to escape America’s dependency on foreign oil. But at what price? By forcing our own natural gas resources,  the film proves that we are creating a devastating cost to both human life and the environment.

The film has many memorable scenes, one of which demonstrates how tap water can be made to catch fire. At first it is almost humorous seeing a kitchen sink on fire – but the humor quickly passes once it is revealed that this tainted drinking water is a distressingly common side-effect of fracking.

Fox is an engaging central figure and his personal involvement in the story adds to the sincerity of the message being presented. He develops personal relationships with many residents throughout the country who are effected by hydraulic fracturing. Through his journey we learn firsthand how blind governments can be when drilling for oil.

Both shocking and deeply unsetting, Gasalnd is a powerful eco-documentary that carries  vital messages about the oil/gas industry, corrupt politics, and the importance of clean water.

DU Solar

A new organization at the University of Denver aims to bring a large solar array to the historic campus. “The goal is to bring real tangible progress of of solar transformation of the school into an environmentally sustainable location.” The group believes that this transformation would not only aid the community, but also create a high level of sustainability for the University that could give the school a competitive edge and hopefully inspire its competitors to adapt the same practices.

The project, led by DU student Kyle Sundman aims to create a feasible plan for the University of Denver to build a solar array on top of the Gates building. “The proposed 480kW solar array would produce 700,000kWh annually over 25 years, offsetting roughly 14,000 tons of CO2. That amount of carbon save is equivalent to removing a whopping 45 million miles of driving, or planting 250 acres of trees.”

Another solar array proposal is currently being created by the Sustainable Design class taught by Timothy Weaver in the EDP program at Denver University. A collaberation with DU solar,  this project would create a solar array on top of the Shwayder Art building as well as some solar sculptures, trees and charging stations in front of the building.

The University of Denver is committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050 and this project could help those efforts come to fruition. This project also gives the University an opportunity to “rebrand” itself as a leader in sustainability.


UnitedWind Turbine Rentals

Wind Turbines are crucial to a sustainable future. They are efficient, sleek, quiet, and most importantly produce clean energy. Renewable energy sources like wind and solar continue to improve but remain costly in comparison to oil, coal, and natural gas.

UnitedWind points out that, “Colorado currently requires large utilities have renewable energy make up 30% of their energy use by 2020, despite attempts at a rollback.  However, it’s difficult to transport and store the cleanly produced energy, so localized programs work best. Solar panels on your own roof or a wind turbine in your yard would be ideal!”

Unfortunately the price of these technologies are not cost-effective for residents and small businesses – however one company is working to bring a alternate option when attempting to create clean energy… Wind Turbines for rent!

UnitedWind, a Brooklyn-based company is working with national banks to provide financing for “everyday people that want to harvest the power of wind.” This company works with farms, businesses, and homeowners to help establish an affordable alternative to clean energy.

Most people recognize wind energy as efficient, have the resource, and simply want a cheaper way to harvest that energy. United Wind will come out to your property with their wind assessment tools and instruments, and determine if your property is a candidate for a wind turbine rental.

United Wind has established itself as the first wind turbine rental company and although they are ready for business in Colorado, they hope to expand the business throughout the country.