We loved building programming around the theme of food for the last symposium—so much so, that for five seconds, we thought about scheduling Food Part Two for 2010. For instance, we could have asked Mark Bittman to be a guest, who wrote this great article about fish. We could have done something about urban crops or even urban fruit picking.
But we can come back to food in a couple of years. In the meantime, we received many worthy and appreciated suggestions for themes from you all, such as health and wellness, Native Americans and population control.
These were all considered carefully, but the theme for 2010 is—drum roll, please—The Extinction Crisis. Scientists estimate that half of all existing species on the planet will be gone by the end of the twenty-first century. They say that we are currently living during what is called the Holocene Extinction, the sixth major extinction—but the first to be caused by humans.
This destruction of biodiversity is deeply alarming and considered by many scientists to be the paramount challenge facing the planet. E.O. Wilson has said that maintaining biodiversity—a word that did not exist twenty years ago—is the key to life continuing here.
Quite honestly, we struggle with what to call this theme, a problem we did not have with food. Many people are not clear about what “biodiversity” means, while “flora and fauna” seems a little soft. We’re concerned that “The Extinction Crisis” sounds too grim, but it is accurate because that is exactly what’s happening. That being said, however, there’s an enormous amount of exciting work being done to combat the crisis, much of which will be highlighted at Mountainfilm 2010.
This week I attended the Aspen Institute's Idea Festival, where I met several scientists who could be great for our symposium, but, as always, we'd love your suggestions because, as I like to say, it takes a village to make a Mountainfilm.
We will screen the terrific documentary Fire on the Mountain, which is about the exploits of the famed Tenth Mountain Division during World War II. The film, by Telluride locals Beth and George Gage, will play Monday, July 6, at the Sheridan Opera House. Members of the original group – and current enlisted members of the 10th - will be in town for the screening, and they will also march in Telluride’s July Fourth parade. See our website for more details on the event.
Tickets are $50, and there will be an auction for Mountainfilm passes, work by Mountainfilm artists, travel packages, fantastic gear and other great items. All proceeds benefit Mountainfilm, and we will also have a hospitality center on main street over the weekend at the corner of Colorado and Fir streets, where people can meet members of the Tenth, bid on auction items and learn more about next May’s festival.
Speaking of Chris Jordan, my goodness, he’s prolific. He creates new works more quickly than we produce issues of Pitch. His latest series looks at coal in America. Check it out below.
Starting close up, you see a bunch of one-pound chunks of coal, each about the size of an avocado:
And here is a portion of the five-foot square panel depicting 63,000 of these one-pound chunks of coal. This represents the amount of coal burned in the U.S. every second:
To show 24 hours of our coal consumption using the five-foot panels we would need a grid of these panels 3.6 miles wide by two miles tall. See below. The Empire State Building and the NY Skyline have been placed next to it for scale.
2008 guest Pico Iyer wrote a thoughtful piece about the simple life he leads in Kyoto.
Check out this index of Failed States that Foreign Policy Magazine compiled. Amazing how much of their world map is colored yellow (Borderline), orange (In Danger), or Red (Critical).
We welcome you to take part in one of the most interactive renewable energy events of the year in beautiful Aspen, Colorado. American Renewable Energy Day (AREDAY) brings leaders together to promote the rapid implementation of renewable energy and energy efficient strategies as practical solutions to the climate crisis through presentation, performance, film and dialogue. Special guests for AREDAY 2009 include: Bill Ritter, Governor, State of Colorado and Amory Lovins, Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute, Larry Schweiger, CEO, National Wildlife Federation among others. The forum takes place at the world renowned Aspen Meadows Resort. The AREDAY Expo is free to the public and takes place in the Aspen Cooper Street Mall and includes exhibits, music and fun for the family. For tickets to the forum please visit the AREDAY website at www.areday.net
Cover photo by Tim Vierling, Joy of Mountainfilm rainbow by Vance Howard, Symposium photos by Jennifer Koskinen, Gallery Walk photos by Jennifer Koskinen, Zero Emissions photo by Drew Ludwig