It is 60 degrees, cloudy and windy at times and I am listening to the National's new record surrounded by maple, oak and pine tress in my office. No more Tim Maia, Marisa Monte, funky carioca or forró. No more Os Mutantes. I will need to close my eyes really tight to remember what it was and felt like 5,000 miles further South, over in Brazil. Right now Barbara and Sven are on the West Coast receiving their Environmental Hero Award from NOAA and visiting Elias and his family while back here in NY we received this past week news of three broadcasts on Norwegian national television, NRK (which made Sven particularly happy), and of the screening at the DOXA Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver. The Vancouver Observer did a nice little piece about it that you can read here.
The penultimate screening was at the Cineclube Socioambiental Crisantempo in Vila Madalena. Vila Madalena fools you into thinking that the gigantic city that envelops it does not exist. It is a beautiful neighborhood with posh restaurants, bars with terraces, boutiques, artists' studios, bakeries. If you are rich in Sao Paulo, you want to hang out around Vila Madalena and forget about the traffic jams, the hectic Avenida Paulista, the putrid Pinheiros River, the more than 20 million people around. Crisantempo offers a fantastic space in which to host film, theatre, dance and music performances. It is all very well organized and cared for, all extremely professional. Everybody talks about the city being the engine of South America, more cosmopolitan, faster paced and wealthier than anywhere else in the continent and I guess it is true. For me it was a relief to have the last screenings being a little less stressful and unpredictable. In preparation for our night the organizers had contacted Leandra Gonçalves from Greenpeace Brasil to be present during the Q&A. That gave me the opportunity to not have to listen so much to myself again and learn some very interesting things about the attempts (or lack thereof) in Brazil to preserve coastal waters and marine ecosystems. Although I had already noticed how much meat is eaten everywhere, I was surprised to know that the average consumption per capita of fish in Brazil barely reaches 8 kilograms (it is 58 kilograms over in Spain, but we might only be beat by Japan in our dependency and love for fish). It is a bit of a paradox that a country so associated with sandy beaches and coconut groves, surfing, water and nature can literally have its back turned in another direction if we just look at their national policies and their diet. Ms Gonçalves was very keen to talk about whales (a symbol for Greenpeace), so took the opportunity to tell the audience that one of the possible future lines of research in regards to ocean acidification and marine life could be the impact a more acidic ocean will have on animals that communicate through sound underwater. One of the lesser known facts about acidification is that a decrease of 0.3 in the PH equals a 40% decrease in the sound absorption coefficient. Yes, there could be acoustic contamination in the oceans as well.
100 different types of fruit at the Municipal Market in Sao Paulo.
In a city like Sao Paulo some of the favelas are vertical. Outside the Municipal Market.
Then it was time to go back to Río, catch a few more waves on Ipanema beach, watch the city at sunset from Sugar Loaf, buy a kilo of powdered guaraná and go to the final screening, at the Solar da Imperatriz in the Jardim Botanico; no less!
The place was also known as Facenda dos Macacos, after the river that passes through it, but either macaques really liked the name or I want to believe their profusion had something to do with it as well. They run up and down electric wires, roll on roofs, feed along the fences, curious and nervous, mothers carrying several offspring on the backs. With those curled up tails, hanging at different heights, they looked like musical notes on a score to the Mata Atlântica.
The somewhat long drive up to this lush location in the outskirts of Rio did not prevent the screening form going really well. Cecilia Herzog from Inverde and her husband Alex (Amigos do Parque) were in charge of the whole thing and through their hard work, devotion and energy made sure that it all run smoothly, in a brilliant manner. The most positive thing about this trip has certainly been meeting people like them and like Fabiana Duarte de Paula, Eudaldo Guimaraes, Ana Arruda, Suzana Sattamini, Pedro Cavalcanti, Natalia Ribeiro, Andrea Palatnik, Luciano Mariz, Gina Boemer or so many other amazing folks that I am surely forgetting now and have shown to me such conviction and hope in change, such great generosity and will to help, sharing their energy and intelligence for this project. They have restored my at times damaged faith in human kind.
This time at the end we had a panel discussion with journalist Amélia Gonzales from O Globo and oceanographer David Zee from the University Veiga de Almeida and the collaboration from members of the audience, like Trajano Paiva, who runs a website devoted to the oceans called sosoceanos.org.
What a great aftertaste to six fantastic weeks in Brazil. And now for something completely different.
This post is dedicated to my good friend Miguel Gil, who helped me throughout the whole trip, shared the laughter, joys and miseries that come from traveling and just yesterday experienced the tragedy of his half of the cupuaçu cracking in the dry Granada air. We will go and get some more, Miguel.
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Dear blog readers,
During the next forty some days I will be in Brazil, screening the film around cities and representing the A Sea Change crew at an environmental film festival called FASAI, in the state of Bahía.
I will do my best to deliver updates of how things go in this wonderful South American country. Somehow I get the feeling I will be writing more than just about ocean acidification.
First stop (March 17th-22nd): Rio de Janeiro, a city with many layers
and in which streets you will find more than pigeons.
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Following a screening of A Sea Change at the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries, Barbara Ettinger and Sven Huseby answer questions about the film and ocean acidification. The plan was to receive tweeted questions and emails from other venues screening for World Oceans Day. Well, we couldn't get online: Verizon decided to test its cables during that one-hour period, alas. So no live webcast.
However, we did receive some questions from Spain. From Vilanova i la Geltrú, to be exact, in Catalonia. Outreach coordinator Angela Alston fielded those.
Moderating is Beacon Institute CEO John Cronin.
Our thanks to John and the Beacon Institute staff for making the screening and this video possible.
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It's official: A Sea Change premiers Saturday, Mar. 14 at the DC Environmental Film Festival, at 3:30 pm. In a fabulous venue: the Baird Auditorium at the National Museum of Natural History, in downtown Washington at the intersection of 10th Street and Constitution Ave., NW. And admission is free!
You'll get to meet director Barbara Ettinger, co-producer/star Sven Huseby and special guests Dr. Richard Spinrad, Assistant Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Dr. Richard Feely of NOAA and the University of Washington, and David Rockefeller, Jr., Co-Founder of Sailors for the Sea. Moderating is Brad Warren of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, whose knowledge of the issues and ability to speak clearly to a variety of audiences continue to awe us.
Look for us next at the 52nd San Francisco International Film Festival: we'll post details as soon as we get em.
A Sea Change is not yet available for sale. We hope to make it available on DVD by fall. Please check the website for updates.
Press inquires re DC & SF screenings: Adam J. Segal of The 2050 Group, +1 202-422-4673 or adam at the2050group.com.
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Plans are finalizing to screen an excerpt of A Sea Change at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting this December. We'll be part of a panel including Vicki Fabry, who first documented the effects of acidic seawater on pteropods.
The AGU expects at least 15,000 geophysicists from around the world to attend. Awesome.
The meeting's taking place in San Francisco. We hope the fog lifts long enough for us to see the bay. We're also hoping to see the new Maya Lin piece, Where the Land Meets the Sea, at the California Academy of Sciences. The piece highlights our ignorance of what's under the water. Is that starting to sound familiar?
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Great news: we're building up momentum and A Sea Change isn't out yet. We knew the public would care about ocean acidification once they knew about it. We're being proved right.
But that means we could use some help, especially with outreach.
And what the heck is outreach? Just letting our core audience know about A Sea Change and about the subject of ocean acidification. Going where they hang out, virtually and physically. Chatting. Exchanging info. You'll get to meet lots of interesting people.
The focus would be web-based: researching ocean acidification, contributing to our blog, driving traffic to and creating content in our various social networks. You'd need access to a computer of your own and work mostly virtually, with face meetings bi-weekly: our key crew members are based in Brooklyn, Germantown, and Philadelphia.
The possibility for non-virtual activities will emerge, as we develop partnerships with local organizations in connection with a number of 2009 events.
This internship is for you if you like to do research, to write, are interested in environmental issues and/or film distribution, are comfortable in the web 2.0 world and able to work independently.
This is a volunteer position, open to current students for credit and anyone interested in working with us.
If this sounds appealing or you'd like more information, please contact angela*at*aseachange dot net.
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We were delighted to be invited to participate in a web conference for marine educators on Monday. Sven was our intrepid pioneer into virtuality. The event was put together by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, as a lead-up to the Fishers Forum in Honolulu.
Moving forward, we're eager to create more opportunities for robust, virtual presence. A super way to lower our CO2 footprint and put our $ where our mouth is. Though (twist here) we wouldn't say no to the occasional jaunt to, say, Bora Bora, if we can optimize our carbon expenditure.
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