Ten Square Miles Documentary
The Ten Square Miles Project is a process oriented film & web series that will document local environmental advocates who are working to get the City of Ithaca and surrounding communities not only to divest from energy sources based on fossil fuels, but also to create publicly owned green energy cooperatives that pools the current power produced by local wind and solar farms, and invests in an infrastructure designed to produce and distribute 100% renewable energy to the entire local population. Given the Earth’s climate crisis, increases in environmental pollution, and a tragically diminished biosphere, a growing number of residents throughout Tompkins County are working hard to mitigate our environmentally destructive practices with the end goal of becoming a fully sustainable community. I am certain that The Ten Square Miles Project will be representative of the communities’ principal values and will seek to present a broad spectrum of perspectives as we move to overcome the challenges and obstacles of achieving these lofty goals in a timely manner. Not only does this project incorporate a highly collaborative, community-centered approach to achieving economic, social and environmental sustainability, it will also present a viable solution to providing a source of clean energy to every citizen in Tompkins County.
The inspiration for this important project is based on the work of many progressive movements around the world that have already established this model of community-owned and operated energy cooperatives. According to Naomi Klein, author of the book This Changes Everything: Capitalism VS The Climate, 98% of peer-reviewed climate scientists have come to the consensus that the industrialized human behavior is having a detrimental impact on global climate conditions. In short, rampant industrial development, and the externalities associated with this type of extractive human behavior is changing the climate so dramatically that we may soon end up eliminating our ability to inhabit the planet. As an environmentalist, a filmmaker, and a father of two incredible children, I must do everything in my power to educate, advocate and preserve what is left of the biodiversity that sustains all life on the planet. I’m convinced that the persuasive power of The Ten Square Miles Project will have a tremendous impact on the greater Ithaca community and will also be an invaluable educational tool for anyone who is interested in learning about concrete grass-roots solutions to the current climate crisis.
Consisting in part of interviews with individuals who have already transitioned to fossil free, clean energy sources, as well as observational footage of the people who are working toward a sustainable future, The Ten Square Miles Project will also work as an instructional model for any small community that wants to take the power back from privatized energy corporations. The initial research for this project has consisted of reading a collection of environmental texts including Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson, This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein, The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, and Gaviotas, A Village To Reinvent The World by Alan Weisman. I’ve also been screening as many environmental documentaries as I can get my hands on including A Fierce Green Fire, Last Call At The Oasis, Cowspiracy, The End of The Line and countless others. I’ve come to learn that while many of these individuals suggest concrete solutions that involve changing our personal behaviors, there are fewer actions that involve strategies for changing the way the dominant political and corporate systems are operating. Therefore, as Naomi Klein suggests, we need to make cohesive grass roots efforts to educate, instruct and work collaboratively within each of our communities to find immediate solutions to this human-caused climate crisis. I intend to do exactly that. My vision is to use a documentary film and web series to directly engage with the inspirational individuals who have already been working toward achieving local energy sovereignty and to interview the concerned citizens and public policy makers to discover the challenges and obstacles to the attainment of this vision. I will also interview the primary architects involved in the successful creation of the, already established, community owned energy cooperatives in North America, Europe and elsewhere.
Ideally, this project will result in the creation of a new publicly owned and operated, clean energy cooperative that can negotiate a fair market price for all energy produced by the wind, solar and geothermal power produced within Tompkins county. A modest investment in our clean energy infrastructure will produce a substantial gain for all citizens within this region; including at least, free electricity for everyone, and at most a surplus of clean energy that can be used to generate revenue to revitalize the local economy by creating jobs, and investing surplus energy revenues in subsidizing education, public transportation, art, and local agriculture. In addition, a documentary film will provide a valuable educational model for other progressive communities around the world who hope to divest from the fossil fuels that have so many detrimental effects on our already ailing planet.