Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Trashed, the film

I was fortunate to get a ticket to this showing of Trashed at the Houses of Parliament. I went along in my capacity as Secretary for the Stop The Incinerator.

Review of the film: 

This film exceeded my expectations, partly because having been fighting the proposed incinerator on the borders of Sutton and Croydon for nearly five years, I know first hand how difficult it is to get the public excited about safe disposal of rubbish. I was expecting a low budget affair with occasional narration from a distant sound booth from Academy Award winning actor Jeremy Irons. This wasn't the case. Jeremy Irons was front and centre in nearly every scene, and the film was beautifully shot in several different locations all around the world. 

The film covered the impact of rubbish on land, sea and air in an easy to comprehend style. I was of course particularly interested in the section on incinerators.

The section on dioxins, especially on how dioxins are transferred to new born babies, was at times quite harrowing.

Maybe it  is my interest in the subject matter but I found this a lot more visually stimulating than An Inconvenient Truth, which ultimately is a glorified powerpoint presentation. I would put it on a par with Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine in terms of its ability to move and shock its audience.

Post Film Discussion

The panel consisted of, Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, who hosted the screening, Jeremy Irons (narrator), Candida Brady (the director), we are pictured with her at the the end of the footage, and Professor Vyvyan Howard. Much of the comment came from the audience. I put my hand up early on and suggested that elected politicians are weak, and the time had come to target the waste contractors, in our case Viridor. I cited the UK Uncut campaign which had resulted in Starbucks reversing, at least in part, its position on tax evasion.

In short, nearly everyone agreed, including Zac Goldsmith, that politicians had not shown leadership, that simple changes to design out waste could easily be adopted; that councils were simply opting for off the shelf solutions to their ever-mounting waste problems; that council officers came from engineering and not ecological backgrounds; and the power of the waste contractors, including the plastics lobby was preventing sustainable best practice. 

Zac Goldmsith took a few hits from the audience, which was fair, yet unfair, given that thanks to him we were all there in the Attlee Room watching the film! I do wonder what he is doing in the Conservative party.

After the discussion, there was a chance to mingle. We had a good chat with the producers, Blenheim Films, with a view to showing the film in Croydon, and anti-incinerator groups from Newport, Coventry and Kings Lynn.
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