Mountainfilm Blogs: December 2011

A Thoughtful Conversation With Tim DeChristopher and Terry Tempest Williams

At Mountainfilm last May, two of our favorite people, activist Tim DeChristopher and author Terry Tempest Williams, sat down together in a hotel room in Telluride and talked for three hours. Orion Magazine has published the transcript of their engaging and thoughtful conversation.

From the moment I heard about Bidder #70 raising his paddle inside a BLM auction to outbid oil and gas companies in the leasing of Utah’s public lands, I recognized Tim DeChristopher as a brave, creative citizen-activist. That was on December 19, 2008, in Salt Lake City. Since that moment, Tim has become a thoughtful, dynamic leader of his generation in the climate change movement. While many of us talk about the importance of democracy, Tim has put his body on the line and is now paying the consequences.

Looking Back At The Beginning Of The Adrenaline Film Genre

Thirty years ago, the rad/extreme/adrenaline film genre was just getting going, and of course Mountainfilm was all over it. We premiered the film Gravity Never Sleeps by Telluride local (and former Mountainfilm board member) Ken Bailey in 1982. It's pretty impressive both what they pulled off way back then, and what filmmakers are doing now.

Failing States Determined Largely By A Population's Demographics

Each year, the Fund for Peace publishes a list of "failing states" that they catalog according to "their vulnerability to violent conflict and societal deterioration." They use twelve social, economic and political indicators - ranked 0-10 - so a combined score of 120 would mean a state is failing on every level. For instance, the top failed state in the world is Somalia with a score of 113.4, while Finland has the lowest score of only 19.7 (with the U.S. coming in at 34.8). What is particularly compelling, given the Mountainfilm focus on population is how much demographics impacts these scores. Almost all of the failing states have about 70% of their population under the age of thirty, compared to 35% or so for the stable countries.

Don't Forget DeChristopher: Mountainfilm's Own "Protester Of The Year"

Looking back at 2011, this has certainly been the year of the protester, something that Time Magazine crystalized with its Person of the Year issue. Of course the magazine rightly mentions the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street movements, but they neglected to write about one of the most significant protesters of the year: Tim DeChristopher. DeChristopher is currently serving two years in prison for disrupting a federal auction of land for natural gas and oil drilling.

From Festival Director David Holbrooke:

Attention Photography Buffs! Enter Mountain Lodge Telluride's Photo Contest

Mountain Lodge Telluride is running a terrific photo competition based on the theme of Mountainfilm's 2012 Moving Mountains Symposium: "Population". Enter the photo contest for a chance to win great prizes, including lodging and passes for Mountainfilm 2012! World renowned photographer Robert Glenn Ketchum is one of the esteemed judges...

Mountainfilm Regulars Are The First Up The NW Face Of Meru's Shark Fin In India

In 2008, Mountainfilm regulars Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk attempted to climb the NW Face of Meru's Shark Fin in India, which had stymied an all-star list of climbers including Anker's mentor, Mugs Stump. This team wasn't able to make it to the top either, but Samsara, an outstanding film directed by the ridiculously talented Ozturk that resulted from the expedition, won Mountainfilm's Charlie Fowler Prize at the 2009 festival. The three men reunited this year to take another shot at it and on October 2, made mountaineering history by being the first people to climb the North West Face of the peak. Chin sent photos from the expedition and Ozturk recently responded to questions from Mountainfilm Festival Director David Holbrooke.

To Watch: Murmuration

A murmuration is a large number of starlings, and this remarkable, short film tells you so much more about this phenomenon.

Moving Mountains Symposium Subject "Population" Is A Hot Topic

With the total population on the planet exceeding 7 Billion there have been a lot of articles on the issue, which works out well for us at Mountainfilm in Telluride since we are focusing our 2012 Moving Mountains Symposium on the subject. The NY Times produced a terrific reader-generated photo essay on population, and this website has a breakdown of some of the basic numbers such as the youngest and oldest countries on earth (Uganda's Median Age is 15, while Monaco's is 50).

Energy Rush Changing the Colorado Landscape

There is an energy rush across America, which you can see it for yourself as you drive through previously pristine lands not that far from Telluride, that are now filled with natural gas drills. Kirk Johnson, who covers the West for The New York Timesreports on the change in the Colorado landscape.

The pattern is clear in the oil and gas business: drilling fields are going into new places. North Dakota, better known for growing wheat, is now booming with rigs. Fort Worth has upward of 2,000 gas wells right in the city itself, with most of that growth within just the last five years. Pittsburgh, facing the prospect of urban drilling, forbade it last year by a vote of the City Council.

But few areas are facing the prospect of drilling’s new frontier more vividly than eastern Colorado...

Read More

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Inspiring Sustainability: Check Out This Living Bridge In Meghalaya, India

This lovely short piece is about a Living Bridge in Meghalaya, India. Don't know what a "living bridge" is? Then, check this out.

Sustainability is a concept with many meanings. To designers and architects it means one thing, to economists another, to businessmen something else, and to an ecologist completely something else. Even with diversity of definitions, sustainability comes down to practical elements and a time-line to sustain a process, a structure, an environment, or a business over a long period. To the people of Meghalaya State in northeast India, sustainability means something essential, generational in time, and amazing.

Jeremy Rifkin: The Third Industrial Revolution

The possibility of a Third Industrial Revolution is likely, argues Wharton Business School professor Jeremy Rifkin in this Huffington Post piece. He argues that the conditions needed for this historical shift - a new energy source and a new communication medium - are here, just like "steam-powered print technology became the communication medium to manage the coal-fired rail infrastructure" of the 19th century and "electronic communications - the telephone and later, radio and television - became the communication medium to manage and market the oil-powered auto age and the mass consumer culture of the Second Industrial Revolution."