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Carbo2n Nation-Finally the Convenient Solutions Movie I’ve been Waiting for

Boyd Cohen | Friday February 11th, 2011 | 2 Comments

By Boyd Cohen, CO2 IMPACT

I remember going to a screening of Inconvenient Truth with Vancouver’s ex-mayor back in 2006, feeling a bit disappointed. While I am no climate scientist, I had been aware for some time of the scientific evidence that the climate is changing and humans are partially to blame. I was happy to see that such a high profile U.S. politician was making a clear statement but I was left wanting more.  Al Gore accomplished an amazing feat by bringing climate change into the consciousness of Americans and others around the globe.  But he and the movie came up short by not providing hope around the fact that solutions exist today to help us thwart the worst of the climate crisis.

I then had the opportunity to see Al Gore speak at a large gathering in Vancouver about a year later, and once again, the focus was on the doom and gloom.  I kept thinking when is he or someone going to help show the world that there are viable solutions that are profitable too.  Tired of waiting, and completely lacking in any ability to produce, develop or direct a Convenient Solutions movie, I reached out to Hunter Lovins to see if she would write the sequel to Natural Capitalism, entitled Climate Capitalism.  She agreed and it will be out soon.

However it turns out I was not alone in seeing this void left by Inconvenient Truth. 

And luckily, Peter Byck, the Director of Carbo2n Nation, has the skills and the courage to complete what Mr. Gore started.  We finally have a documentary, made for a mainstream audience, that presents the solutions to the climate crisis.

Carbo2n Nation addresses a range of high and low-tech solutions across several sectors from renewables and energy efficiency to transportation and agriculture.  Peter managed to get some of the highest profile thought leaders in these sectors from Van Jones and Amory Lovins to Richard Branson to Joel Makower and Lester Brown.  Sadly, he didn’t interview my favorite Lovins, Hunter that is.  However the interviews that are probably the most interesting are from the “everyday” people who are finding opportunity in the transition to the low carbon economy.

There is the self-described “pro development s.o.b.”, Bernie Karl, an Alaskan who found a way to generate geothermal energy from Cherna Hot Springs.  Cliff Etheridge, a former farmer turned wind-farmer “magnate”, has helped turn Roscoe, Texas into a world leader in wind energy.

There is Wayne Gatlin, Jr. participating in a Van Jones program that trains unemployed, low-income individuals to install solar panels on low-income homes. Jones believes that the U.S. can turn things around by investing in retrofitting America and to convert the U.S. from “being the world leader in pollution to the world leader in solutions.”

Perhaps my favorite quote in the movie comes from another thought leader, Thomas Friedman. “My approach is to make America the country that gets respected, rich, secure, entrepreneurial and competitive by leading the world in clean power and energy efficiency, the next great global industry. This is geo-strategic, geo-economic, it is the most patriotic thing you can be, do, think or feel today. Green baby is the new red white and blue.”

Thus, Carbo2n Nation, is an inspirational tale of how the U.S. can get back on track, growing its economy and its jobs, by committing to a low carbon economy.  There are a handful of stories that should raise the attention of even the Rush Limbaugh’s of the world.

One of those stories I found compelling referred to the U.S. military effort to reduce fuel consumption in desert combat.  Fuel in desert combat provides energy to power things like air conditioning in 120 degree tents. It costs the military a lot of money and risks the lives of American soldiers transporting the fuel. They are now switching to spray foam tents for insulation which allows them to significantly reduce the size of A/C units, providing a 10 month payback from fuel savings alone. Eric Gardner, a Logistics Specialist for the military, said it best: “We are saving soldiers lives, giving them a more comfortable place to stay, and saving money and saving the environment all in one fell swoop.”

Many of us have known for a long time that there are all kinds of reasons to make this switch and what we have been needing are more people like Thomas Friedman in Hot, Flat and Crowded and Peter Byck with Carbo2n Nation to change the dialog from do you “believe” in climate change to how can we avoid more military conflict, grow our economy and jobs and avoid our dependence on foreign oil.

While I am no Roger Ebert, I highly encourage you to watch Carbo2n Nation (selected screenings are taking place as we speak across the U.S.) and to get your friends and family, yes even those on the political right, to see it too.  By changing the dialog from climate science to climate capitalism we may just be able to right this ship in time. You can watch a trailer of the documentary here

One last quote from Carbo2n Nation worth repeating:

“This problem we can solve and there is no good reason not to.”

Boyd Cohen is the CEO of CO2 IMPACT, a carbon origination company based in Vancouver, Canada and Bogota, Colombia. Boyd is also the co-author of the forthcoming book, Climate Capitalism: Capitalism in the Age of Climate Change.

Twitter: boydcohen

This series will use the hashtag #climatcaptlsm


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  • Eion

    Anyone interested in seeing Carbon Nation may also be interested in Beyond The Brink a 40 minute documentary which includes interviews with Sir David Attenborough and Mark Lynas, among others. And it is free to view at http://www.beyondthebrink.org/

  • Bradley Short

    Well put. I’m very excited about this film, and I hope it is able to reach an audience that was distanced by “An Inconvenient Truth.” Don’t get me wrong, I think AIT was a very important film, but only insofar as it was able to expose the problem to a whole new audience. It never had a chance to bring “everyone” in, but this one seems to have a shot at doing just that.

    A solutions-based approach to climate change is necessary to get all of the people who need to be on board, on board. On my blog at http://www.businessearth.com/category/blog/ my colleagues and I talk about sustainability in a very similar way. Action-oriented, serious but optimistic discourse is what will lead to climate change solutions.