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Interview: Friends of the Earth's Joe Jenkins on the legacy of the UK Green Film Festival

The third UK Green Film Festival came to an end yesterday, but although the organisers will be taking a well-earned break, for the rest of us, our work is only just beginning.
 
Over nine days, seven feature length films about everything from global warming to globalisation were accompanied by equally diverse shorts in 17 different cinemas up and down the country. On Saturday night, a ceremony was held to celebrate the most acclaimed and most popular of these films. 
 
Trashed, a documentary about the waste industry directed by Candida Brady and narrated by Jeremy Irons won the coveted Palme Verte prize voted for by the UKGFF jury. The Audience Award went to More Than Honey, Markus Imhoof's stunningly shot film about bees which opened this year's festival. And the Award for Best Short was given to Dan Childs and Nick Werber's Reynaldo, a six minute film about a man bringing agroforestry to the Peruvian rainforest, one family at a time.
 
All the films were inspiring, and the Q&A sessions held after some of the screenings were often even more so. But the festival also had the potential to be a bit overwhelming to people who want to make their lifestyle a little greener but don't know where to start.
 
To help you out a little, we caught up with Joe Jenkins, Director of Fundraising, Communications and Activism for Friends of the Earth (who sponsored the UKGFF) to ask what we can do to help.
 
 
Lauren Paxman: Which of the films at this year's UK Green Film Festival is the one which fits in most neatly with one of your campaigns?
 
Joe Jenkins: The great thing about both Friends of the Earth and the UKGFF is the sheer breadth and diversity of environmental issues we cover – and with a stronger line up than ever, it’s tricky to pick out any one film.
However, the most obvious fit would have to be the film More than Honey, a beautiful emotional journey into the world of bees, that has many parallels with our campaign The Bee Cause.  The film brings to life the complexity and interdependence between bees, people and nature at large – and strengthens our call for the Government here in the UK to take their decline seriously by creating a national bee action plan.
 
LP: What do you hope viewers take from a UKGFF screening?
 
JJ: What I love about the UKGFF is that it doesn’t just fire you up then leave you hanging – throughout the festival there have been lots of opportunities to do more than be informed or moved, but to translate inspiration into action.  So I hope that people not only leave the screenings feeling like they know more than they did when they arrived, but take with them a real desire to get involved and use that knowledge to best effect.
 
LP: Why do you think film works so well to get across green messages?
 
JJ: When you watch a film, you can find yourself immersed in a new experience that can change your entire perspective.  Film can take the latest challenges and translate the facts, science and evidence into a compelling story that brings issues vividly to life.
 Environmental messages too often feel abstract and distant: a problem happening “over there” that seems unconnected to people’s day to day lives.  The best environmental films break down those barriers and capture people’s imaginations. 
 
LP: How can people who go to UKGFF screenings be encouraged to actually act on the issues they have just watched a film about?
 
JJ: All the films at the UKGFF aim to do more than just inform and entertain – they hope to be the catalyst for change.  We’ve tried to then make it as easy as possible for people to pursue their passion.  There were Q&As at many of the screenings across the country, with some of our expert campaigners taking part, so people could interrogate the issues and find out ways to get involved.  And we have local groups taking action in their communities all over the UK (our Hackney and Tower Hamlets activists joined me at the Opening Gala in Hackney), providing a direct link between the issues raised in the films and ways to do something about them where you live.
 From the UKGFF website to our own at Friends of the Earth, there’s tons of information online that can get you started.  Or pick up the phone and give us a call on 020 7490 1555 and we’d be happy to point you in the right direction.
 
LP: To what extent has the recession had a negative impact on how we treat our surroundings? How can we be more green on the cheap?
 
JJ: Unfortunately the onset of austerity in the UK has led some (particularly in our government) to conclude that respecting and protecting our natural world is a nice-to-do rather than a need-to-do.  The reality is that a failure to take account of our environment results in far greater costs, as well as a far less nice planet to live on.
Of course, for many of us, the recession has had a huge impact on our living standards, and individually “doing the right thing” can seem tough.  So when tackling the challenge of living fairly within the limits of our environment, we always try to put people at the heart of the answer, campaigning for changes that can improve living standards as well as our environment.
There’s lots of ways people can contribute towards living more sustainably without incurring more cost (in fact, often by saving cash).  Check out our Tip of the Day, which you can sign up to on the Friends of the Earth website for free, for regular advice from us and many others on cost-effective planet-friendly living.
 
LP: Briefly, what is the most pressing environmental issue in the UK and how can Londoners help?
 
JJ: The truth is that we are facing many interdependent issues right now – climate change impacts on the richness of our wildlife and natural environment which makes fighting climate change harder; the way we extract minerals from the world and the way we dump our products back into the earth, contribute to climate change, the loss of species around the world and impact on our food and water cycles. 
It can all seem a bit overwhelming, but at Friends of the Earth we believe that people can bring about the changes we need for a more positive relationship with the environment.  This summer, we are bringing together thousands of people, companies and communities to do all we can to protect bees.  As I said at the UKGFF Opening Gala, the bee is the poster insect of the natural world: if we can save the bee, there’s hope for all of us.
So Londoners, do whatever you can. Add your voice to our call for a National Bee Action Plan that joins up answers to the many factors driving bee decline.  Plant wildflower seeds wherever possible to create spaces for bees to thrive.  Join your local London group and get your hands dirty campaigning for bees.  Every voice and every action really does count.
The third UK Green Film Festival came to an end yesterday, but although the organisers will be taking a well-earned break, for the rest of us, our work is only just beginning.
 
Over nine days, seven feature length films about everything from global warming to globalisation were accompanied by equally diverse shorts in 17 different cinemas up and down the country. On Saturday night, a ceremony was held to celebrate the most acclaimed and most popular of these films. 
 
Trashed, a documentary about the waste industry directed by Candida Brady and narrated by Jeremy Irons won the coveted Palme Verte prize voted for by the UKGFF jury. The Audience Award went to More Than Honey, Markus Imhoof's stunningly shot film about bees which opened this year's festival. And the Award for Best Short was given to Dan Childs and Nick Werber's Reynaldo, a six minute film about a man bringing agroforestry to the Peruvian rainforest, one family at a time.
 
All the films were inspiring, and the Q&A sessions held after some of the screenings were often even more so. But the festival also had the potential to be a bit overwhelming to people who want to make their lifestyle a little greener but don't know where to start.
 
To help you out a little, we caught up with Joe Jenkins, Director of Fundraising, Communications and Activism for Friends of the Earth (who sponsored the UKGFF) to ask what we can do to help.
 
 
Lauren Paxman: Which of the films at this year's UK Green Film Festival is the one which fits in most neatly with one of your campaigns?
 
Joe Jenkins: The great thing about both Friends of the Earth and the UKGFF is the sheer breadth and diversity of environmental issues we cover – and with a stronger line up than ever, it’s tricky to pick out any one film.
However, the most obvious fit would have to be the film More than Honey, a beautiful emotional journey into the world of bees, that has many parallels with our campaign The Bee Cause.  The film brings to life the complexity and interdependence between bees, people and nature at large – and strengthens our call for the Government here in the UK to take their decline seriously by creating a national bee action plan.
 
LP: What do you hope viewers take from a UKGFF screening?
 
JJ: What I love about the UKGFF is that it doesn’t just fire you up then leave you hanging – throughout the festival there have been lots of opportunities to do more than be informed or moved, but to translate inspiration into action.  So I hope that people not only leave the screenings feeling like they know more than they did when they arrived, but take with them a real desire to get involved and use that knowledge to best effect.
 
LP: Why do you think film works so well to get across green messages?
 
JJ: When you watch a film, you can find yourself immersed in a new experience that can change your entire perspective.  Film can take the latest challenges and translate the facts, science and evidence into a compelling story that brings issues vividly to life.
 Environmental messages too often feel abstract and distant: a problem happening “over there” that seems unconnected to people’s day to day lives.  The best environmental films break down those barriers and capture people’s imaginations. 
 
LP: How can people who go to UKGFF screenings be encouraged to actually act on the issues they have just watched a film about?
 
JJ: All the films at the UKGFF aim to do more than just inform and entertain – they hope to be the catalyst for change.  We’ve tried to then make it as easy as possible for people to pursue their passion.  There were Q&As at many of the screenings across the country, with some of our expert campaigners taking part, so people could interrogate the issues and find out ways to get involved.  And we have local groups taking action in their communities all over the UK (our Hackney and Tower Hamlets activists joined me at the Opening Gala in Hackney), providing a direct link between the issues raised in the films and ways to do something about them where you live.
 From the UKGFF website to our own at Friends of the Earth, there’s tons of information online that can get you started.  Or pick up the phone and give us a call on 020 7490 1555 and we’d be happy to point you in the right direction.
 
LP: To what extent has the recession had a negative impact on how we treat our surroundings? How can we be more green on the cheap?
 
JJ: Unfortunately the onset of austerity in the UK has led some (particularly in our government) to conclude that respecting and protecting our natural world is a nice-to-do rather than a need-to-do.  The reality is that a failure to take account of our environment results in far greater costs, as well as a far less nice planet to live on.
Of course, for many of us, the recession has had a huge impact on our living standards, and individually “doing the right thing” can seem tough.  So when tackling the challenge of living fairly within the limits of our environment, we always try to put people at the heart of the answer, campaigning for changes that can improve living standards as well as our environment.
There’s lots of ways people can contribute towards living more sustainably without incurring more cost (in fact, often by saving cash).  Check out our Tip of the Day, which you can sign up to on the Friends of the Earth website for free, for regular advice from us and many others on cost-effective planet-friendly living.
 
LP: Briefly, what is the most pressing environmental issue in the UK and how can Londoners help?
 
JJ: The truth is that we are facing many interdependent issues right now – climate change impacts on the richness of our wildlife and natural environment which makes fighting climate change harder; the way we extract minerals from the world and the way we dump our products back into the earth, contribute to climate change, the loss of species around the world and impact on our food and water cycles. 
It can all seem a bit overwhelming, but at Friends of the Earth we believe that people can bring about the changes we need for a more positive relationship with the environment.  This summer, we are bringing together thousands of people, companies and communities to do all we can to protect bees.  As I said at the UKGFF Opening Gala, the bee is the poster insect of the natural world: if we can save the bee, there’s hope for all of us.
So Londoners, do whatever you can. Add your voice to our call for a National Bee Action Plan that joins up answers to the many factors driving bee decline.  Plant wildflower seeds wherever possible to create spaces for bees to thrive.  Join your local London group and get your hands dirty campaigning for bees.  Every voice and every action really does count.
The third UK Green Film Festival came to an end yesterday, but although the organisers will be taking a well-earned break, for the rest of us, our work is only just beginning.
 
Over nine days, seven feature length films about everything from global warming to globalisation were accompanied by equally diverse shorts in 17 different cinemas up and down the country. On Saturday night, a ceremony was held to celebrate the most acclaimed and most popular of these films. 
 
Trashed, a documentary about the waste industry directed by Candida Brady and narrated by Jeremy Irons won the coveted Palme Verte prize voted for by the UKGFF jury. The Audience Award went to More Than Honey, Markus Imhoof's stunningly shot film about bees which opened this year's festival. And the Award for Best Short was given to Dan Childs and Nick Werber's Reynaldo, a six minute film about a man bringing agroforestry to the Peruvian rainforest, one family at a time.
 
All the films were inspiring, and the Q&A sessions held after some of the screenings were often even more so. But the festival also had the potential to be a bit overwhelming to people who want to make their lifestyle a little greener but don't know where to start.
 
To help you out a little, we caught up with Joe Jenkins, Director of Fundraising, Communications and Activism for Friends of the Earth (who sponsored the UKGFF) to ask what we can do to help.
 
 
Lauren Paxman: Which of the films at this year's UK Green Film Festival is the one which fits in most neatly with one of your campaigns?
 
Joe Jenkins: The great thing about both Friends of the Earth and the UKGFF is the sheer breadth and diversity of environmental issues we cover – and with a stronger line up than ever, it’s tricky to pick out any one film.
However, the most obvious fit would have to be the film More than Honey, a beautiful emotional journey into the world of bees, that has many parallels with our campaign The Bee Cause.  The film brings to life the complexity and interdependence between bees, people and nature at large – and strengthens our call for the Government here in the UK to take their decline seriously by creating a national bee action plan.
 
LP: What do you hope viewers take from a UKGFF screening?
 
JJ: What I love about the UKGFF is that it doesn’t just fire you up then leave you hanging – throughout the festival there have been lots of opportunities to do more than be informed or moved, but to translate inspiration into action.  So I hope that people not only leave the screenings feeling like they know more than they did when they arrived, but take with them a real desire to get involved and use that knowledge to best effect.
 
LP: Why do you think film works so well to get across green messages?
 
JJ: When you watch a film, you can find yourself immersed in a new experience that can change your entire perspective.  Film can take the latest challenges and translate the facts, science and evidence into a compelling story that brings issues vividly to life.
 Environmental messages too often feel abstract and distant: a problem happening “over there” that seems unconnected to people’s day to day lives.  The best environmental films break down those barriers and capture people’s imaginations. 
 
LP: How can people who go to UKGFF screenings be encouraged to actually act on the issues they have just watched a film about?
 
JJ: All the films at the UKGFF aim to do more than just inform and entertain – they hope to be the catalyst for change.  We’ve tried to then make it as easy as possible for people to pursue their passion.  There were Q&As at many of the screenings across the country, with some of our expert campaigners taking part, so people could interrogate the issues and find out ways to get involved.  And we have local groups taking action in their communities all over the UK (our Hackney and Tower Hamlets activists joined me at the Opening Gala in Hackney), providing a direct link between the issues raised in the films and ways to do something about them where you live.
 From the UKGFF website to our own at Friends of the Earth, there’s tons of information online that can get you started.  Or pick up the phone and give us a call on 020 7490 1555 and we’d be happy to point you in the right direction.
 
LP: To what extent has the recession had a negative impact on how we treat our surroundings? How can we be more green on the cheap?
 
JJ: Unfortunately the onset of austerity in the UK has led some (particularly in our government) to conclude that respecting and protecting our natural world is a nice-to-do rather than a need-to-do.  The reality is that a failure to take account of our environment results in far greater costs, as well as a far less nice planet to live on.
Of course, for many of us, the recession has had a huge impact on our living standards, and individually “doing the right thing” can seem tough.  So when tackling the challenge of living fairly within the limits of our environment, we always try to put people at the heart of the answer, campaigning for changes that can improve living standards as well as our environment.
There’s lots of ways people can contribute towards living more sustainably without incurring more cost (in fact, often by saving cash).  Check out our Tip of the Day, which you can sign up to on the Friends of the Earth website for free, for regular advice from us and many others on cost-effective planet-friendly living.
 
LP: Briefly, what is the most pressing environmental issue in the UK and how can Londoners help?
 
JJ: The truth is that we are facing many interdependent issues right now – climate change impacts on the richness of our wildlife and natural environment which makes fighting climate change harder; the way we extract minerals from the world and the way we dump our products back into the earth, contribute to climate change, the loss of species around the world and impact on our food and water cycles. 
It can all seem a bit overwhelming, but at Friends of the Earth we believe that people can bring about the changes we need for a more positive relationship with the environment.  This summer, we are bringing together thousands of people, companies and communities to do all we can to protect bees.  As I said at the UKGFF Opening Gala, the bee is the poster insect of the natural world: if we can save the bee, there’s hope for all of us.
So Londoners, do whatever you can. Add your voice to our call for a National Bee Action Plan that joins up answers to the many factors driving bee decline.  Plant wildflower seeds wherever possible to create spaces for bees to thrive.  Join your local London group and get your hands dirty campaigning for bees.  Every voice and every action really does count.
The third UK Green Film Festival came to an end yesterday, but although the organisers will be taking a well-earned break, for the rest of us, our work is only just beginning.

The third, annual UK Green Film Festival came to an end yesterday, but although the organisers will be taking a well-earned break, for the rest of us, our work is only just beginning.

Over nine days, seven feature length films about everything from global warming to globalisation were accompanied by equally diverse shorts in 17 different cinemas up and down the country. On Saturday night, a ceremony was held to celebrate the most acclaimed and most popular of these films.

Trashed, a documentary about the waste industry directed by Candida Brady and narrated by Jeremy Irons, won the coveted Palme Verte prize voted for by the UKGFF jury. The Audience Award went to More Than Honey, Markus Imhoof's stunningly shot film about bees which opened this year's festival. And the Award for Best Short was given to Dan Childs and Nick Werber's Reynaldo, a six minute film about a man bringing agroforestry to the Peruvian rainforest, one family at a time.

All the films were inspiring, and the Q&A sessions held after some of the screenings were often even more so. But the festival also had the potential to be a bit overwhelming to people who want to make their lifestyle a little greener but don't know where to start.

To help you out a little, we caught up with Joe Jenkins, Director of Fundraising, Communications and Activism for Friends of the Earth (who sponsored the UKGFF) to ask what we can do to help.

 

Run-Riot: Which of the films at this year's UK Green Film Festival is the one which fits in most neatly with one of your campaigns?

 Joe Jenkins: The great thing about both Friends of the Earth and the UKGFF is the sheer breadth and diversity of environmental issues we cover – and with a stronger line up than ever, it’s tricky to pick out any one film.

However, the most obvious fit would have to be the film More than Honey, a beautiful emotional journey into the world of bees, that has many parallels with our campaign The Bee Cause.  The film brings to life the complexity and interdependence between bees, people and nature at large – and strengthens our call for the Government here in the UK to take their decline seriously by creating a national bee action plan.

 RR: What do you hope viewers take from a UKGFF screening?

 JJ: What I love about the UKGFF is that it doesn’t just fire you up then leave you hanging – throughout the festival there have been lots of opportunities to do more than be informed or moved, but to translate inspiration into action.  So I hope that people not only leave the screenings feeling like they know more than they did when they arrived, but take with them a real desire to get involved and use that knowledge to best effect.

 RR: Why do you think film works so well to get across green messages?

 JJ: When you watch a film, you can find yourself immersed in a new experience that can change your entire perspective.  Film can take the latest challenges and translate the facts, science and evidence into a compelling story that brings issues vividly to life.

Environmental messages too often feel abstract and distant: a problem happening “over there” that seems unconnected to people’s day to day lives.  The best environmental films break down those barriers and capture people’s imaginations.  

RR: How can people who go to UKGFF screenings be encouraged to actually act on the issues they have just watched a film about?

 JJ: All the films at the UKGFF aim to do more than just inform and entertain – they hope to be the catalyst for change.  We’ve tried to then make it as easy as possible for people to pursue their passion.  There were Q&As at many of the screenings across the country, with some of our expert campaigners taking part, so people could interrogate the issues and find out ways to get involved.  And we have local groups taking action in their communities all over the UK (our Hackney and Tower Hamlets activists joined me at the Opening Gala in Hackney), providing a direct link between the issues raised in the films and ways to do something about them where you live.

From the UKGFF website to our own at Friends of the Earth, there’s tons of information online that can get you started. 

RR: To what extent has the recession had a negative impact on how we treat our surroundings? How can we be more green on the cheap? 

JJ: Unfortunately the onset of austerity in the UK has led some (particularly in our government) to conclude that respecting and protecting our natural world is a nice-to-do rather than a need-to-do.  The reality is that a failure to take account of our environment results in far greater costs, as well as a far less nice planet to live on.

Of course, for many of us, the recession has had a huge impact on our living standards, and individually “doing the right thing” can seem tough.  So when tackling the challenge of living fairly within the limits of our environment, we always try to put people at the heart of the answer, campaigning for changes that can improve living standards as well as our environment.

There’s lots of ways people can contribute towards living more sustainably without incurring more cost (in fact, often by saving cash).  Check out our Tip of the Day, which you can sign up to on the Friends of the Earth website for free, for regular advice from us and many others on cost-effective planet-friendly living.

RR: Briefly, what is the most pressing environmental issue in the UK and how can Londoners help?

JJ: The truth is that we are facing many interdependent issues right now – climate change impacts on the richness of our wildlife and natural environment which makes fighting climate change harder; the way we extract minerals from the world and the way we dump our products back into the earth, contribute to climate change, the loss of species around the world and impact on our food and water cycles. 

It can all seem a bit overwhelming, but at Friends of the Earth we believe that people can bring about the changes we need for a more positive relationship with the environment.  This summer, we are bringing together thousands of people, companies and communities to do all we can to protect bees.  As I said at the UKGFF Opening Gala, the bee is the poster insect of the natural world: if we can save the bee, there’s hope for all of us.

So Londoners, do whatever you can. Add your voice to our call for a National Bee Action Plan that joins up answers to the many factors driving bee decline.  Plant wildflower seeds wherever possible to create spaces for bees to thrive.  Join your local London group and get your hands dirty campaigning for bees.  Every voice and every action really does count.

Visit the UK Green Film Festival or Friends of the Earth websites for more information. Or pick up the phone and give Friends of the Earth  a call on 020 7490 1555 and they’d be happy to point you in the right direction.