Monday, 19 January 2009

Documentary making

I've been interviewed today by these people: CSL stands for the Centre for Sustainability Leadership and is an NGO based in Melbourne, Australia. They are attempting to train young people to be sustainability leaders and have come over to interview 30 British sustainability leaders for a documentary film to be used to train 15-25 year olds in Australia.

They contacted me with the aim of making a short segment about a young(ish) person who is trying to live sustainably in a big city, hopefully I fit the bill! After some brainstorming and short introductory clips at The School of Life we headed off to the Romanian orphans charity shop on Lamb's Conduit street to film a clip on buying things second hand. Of the clothes I buy, I'd guess around 50% come from charity shops, the rest are mainly hand me downs from my Dad's 80s wardrobe and I get the odd item brand new when I can't find a second hand alternative. In charity shops I mostly buy books and the odd film. I love the sense of not knowing what you will find in a charity - there is gold amoungst the clutter! After the charity shop I stood outside French Connection in Russell Square where I stated that 'Places like this are not really part of my life, I do not really feel connected to them at all'. I think I also said something about the wastefulness associated with this sort of high street shopping and how I can do without the queues and high prices!

After the talks about shopping we jumped on a packed 55 bus back to my flat in Hackney Road. On the bus I was filmed for a short segment on how I travel in an everyday sense and my thoughts on travel in a holiday sense. The main point I wanted to make about travel is that we need to consider not only where and how we travel, but also why. The more thought we put into the why, the more likely we are to have a really positive and fulfilling time. When planning it is also important to ask ourselves questions like: if I want to spend some time with my friends, do we all really need to get on a cheap flight to Eastern Europe or whatever, or could we have just as good a time in the UK or the near continent in a place we can get to overland? Travel is usually such a rewarding thing to do and it is the hardest thing to discourage people from doing, for the sake of the environment. When we feel the urge to travel it is possible however to take our sustainability principles with us and enjoy the journey as much as the destination - look up slow travel for more on this.

On arriving in lovely Bethnal Green I gave the CSL guys a tour of the flat, pointing out things like the Veg Box, our Ecotricity, the recycling box, our reclaimed furniture and so on. We then settled down for a more in depth interview during which I talked about the problems of a consumer society, life without a TV, the joy of cooking meals from scratch with Emma, plural rationalities, the knowledge-action gap and so on. Before they left I also sung a couple of songs, which may or may not be used, but hopefully I'll get a copy of them to put on YouTube at some point!

All that for what is likely to be a 5 minute section of their film, still it was a great experience and I really hope it turns out well and is useful! In terms of being a sustainability leader, I hope most of all to set a good example, if we don't any messages we send out lose all of their credibility!

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