Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 22nd 2013 Contents B3
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For the last two years, Sustain T&T
has sensitised local audiences to envi-
ronmental and sustainability issues
through its film series, Green Screen.
Now, the non-profit organisation---
dedicated to education, information
exchange and promotion of sustainable
living and industry---is getting into the
production of its own content in a very
Since November 2012, the group has
been working on a climate change film.
The working title of the film is A Sea
Change. The project, funded by the
UNDP s Global Environment Fund,
focuses on climate change issues in Diego
Martin/Petit Valley, Mayaro and Toco.
Carver Bacchus, director at Sustain
T&T, is the producer of the documen-
tary, as well as its content manager and
interviewer. He explains the rationale
behind the project:
"T&T is feeling the effects of climate
change, whether we are ready to admit
it or not.
"Some communities, by their geo-
graphic location or main sources of
income, are more susceptible to those
"We wanted to hear from people in
these communities who are engaged in
sustainable activity; average people who
are affected by climate change, such as
fishermen, farmers, eco-tourism oper-
ators, school children, residents and
members of NGOs.
"For example, Mayaro is uniquely
positioned. It is still rural but also a
centre of industrial activity vis-à-vis oil
and gas operations. As we all now know,
the burning of fossil fuels affects the
global climate balance. Long term, these
communities and Trinidad and Tobago
at large will have to explore other options
for income generation."
Bacchus said the Diego Martin, Mar-
aval and Petit Valley areas were chosen
after residents there were hard-hit by
flooding last year. The "freak event"
typifies the unexpected climate-related
incidents that occur when unchecked
human activity, like littering and unreg-
ulated hillside construction combine
with natural forces.
"We wanted to document people s
experiences and find out what they are
doing to become more resilient in future
against events like that."
He said Toco, another fishing village,
has been experiencing depleted fish stock
and bleaching of reefs in a trend that
could see an end to their traditional way
of life within a generation. The film proj-
ect will suggest some ways that they
Bacchus says working on the Sea
Change project is a natural progression:
"Sustain T&T has always had an interest
in producing community communica-
tion vehicles and, just as with Green
Screen, we see film as an innovative way
to reach communities through edutain-
He notes that last year s film series
featured animated shorts produced by
the group about climate change issues,
with a local voice.
"Now, we re getting into more sub-
Sustain T&T Board member Dawn
Cumberbatch, of Doux Doux Darling
Productions, is the director of the film,
while Michele Matthews, who worked
on Green Screen last year, is project
The ultimate aims of the project, Bac-
chus says, go beyond just making the
We want to eventually exhibit the
environmental content we create and
use it to develop and execute behaviour
change, through community campaigns
related to sustainability and environ-
With this in mind, the project has
entailed going into the communities,
conducting the interviews, looking at
local realities, and suggesting some ame-
liorative techniques with the guidance
of environmental specialists.
Sustain T&T will engage in commu-
nity training on climate change issues,
using the film as a teaching tool. "We
hope to transform participants into
ambassadors of climate
change awareness, local
experts in their commu-
"Participants will also
gain the benefit of training
in the area of film pro-
duction, so they can go
on to tell their own envi-
ronmental stories through
the medium of documen-
"We will encourage
them to use the Green
Screen platform, to sub-
mit those works and be
part of our series."
The project is in post-
production and is expect-
ed be completed next
month. A Sea Change will
be screened at Green
Screen, a series of com-
munity outreach screen-
ings and at the launch of
the UNDP s Knowledge
Fair in June.
Bacchus says support
from communities has
been good, but notes:
"one of the more alarm-
ing things is that people
in general don t under-
stand the concept of cli-
mate change. They see
the negative effects but
are not able to make the
connection to climate
change, and as a result
they feel quite powerless."
Citing the example of
the Diego Martin floods,
he says: "None of it is
rocket science. Unchecked
development on hillsides,
slash and burn deforesta-
tion, improper waste dis-
posal---hese things have
an impact. Coupled with
unusual concentrated and
sustained rainfall, well, we
saw the result.
"There are big issues
that need to be tackled at
the policy level," he adds.
"In Mayaro and Toco, it s
clear that the local
economies need to be
can t depend on fishing
alone anymore. Residents
are realising it but haven t
gotten support to forge a
"Hopefully, armed with
the information from the
film and the training, they
may feel a bit more
empowered to do some-
thing to ensure the via-
bility of these important
communities in the
produces film on
Sustain T&T director Carver Bacchus, right, interviews Nicholas Baggy, left,
a resident of Unity Springs in Diego Martin, as part of Sustain T&T's new
documentary, A Sea Change. PHOTO COURTESY SUSTAIN T&T
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