I began this film when I walked by a table on a Brooklyn sidewalk, and a young man asked me if I wanted to switch to clean power. He showed me pretty photos of wind farms upstate, but when I asked how the wind power gets to my apartment, he couldn’t explain. I wondered if it was greenwashing, and decided to look into it. It was not, and I switched my power source. And started a film. It has evolved from a “101” type look at how cool new technology can actually work, to a deeper look at our energy systems and the people leading all aspects of the clean energy revolution.
The stakes are high if the U.S. does not switch to clean energy. There are entrenched issues like pollution, high asthma, and environmental damage caused by fracking, drilling, and mining, compounded by complex issues like environmental justice and the need for the U.S. to take responsibility for its CO2 production. There are practical issues like the floods, hurricanes, and blackouts such as depicted in the work sample, which are related to climate change and the aging electrical grid. Technically, the U.S. is an advanced nation with the capacity to create clean energy and fix its infrastructure. The pertinent issue — and main story — is that a surprising number of consumers and some entire cities are actively changing their power sources, despite challenges from inertia to bureaucratic red tape to federal attacks.
The withdrawal from the Paris Agreement was a setback and a gauntlet. It put energy back in the headlines. But many everyday leaders refuse to let a federal decision stop progress in their hometown. Their stories need to be shared.