Environmental Film Festival inspires community

Last Saturday Augustana hosted the 12th annual Environmental Film Festival, sponsored by the local chapter of the Sierra Club. This film festival sought to inspire and educate Augustana students and the general public about the growing ecological crisis.

The film festival is organized and hosted by the local chapter of the Sierra Club, known as the Eagle View Group. As a member of the Sierra Club, the group advocates for various environmental causes. Originally, the Sierra Club’s focus was on the preservation of national parks, but in current times, the group finds itself advocating for much more.

“The Sierra Club has taken on the role of being the voice for the earth,” said Kathryn Allen, the Political and Environmental Film Fest Chair of the Eagle View Group. “The lands and airs and waters are in great peril.”

This year, the Eagle View Group decided on a theme of environmental activism for the documentaries shown. The four films shown this year were “Love Thy Nature,” “The Future of Energy,” “Disobedience,” and “62 Years”. Allen hopes that the films inspired those who attended to ask more questions about environmental activism and get involved.

“We’ve been at work for twelve years now in an effort to bring information to people, to provide educational opportunities, and inspirational opportunities,” said Allen. “When they see the films, we can recapture why we are doing this: because the earth is so beautiful.”

Students in attendance also felt that the films motivated them to think deeper about the environment. “The film we saw really struck my interest because it was trying to explain why people love nature, and why we should connect back with it,” said first year student Morgan Anderson.

The film festival also boasted two speakers to present on current ecological issues. The Sage Sisters of Solidarity spoke on the Dakota Access Pipeline, and Ken Brower, son of the Sierra Club’s founder, spoke on the history of environmental activism and his father’s work.

“We are truly privileged to have him as our speaker this year,” said Kathryn Allen. “He watched this movement come of age.”

Students inspired by the films or speakers at the event can find more opportunities for environmental activism through a variety of groups, particularly the Quad City’s local Sierra Club chapter, the Eagle View Group. Those seeking to contribute their voice to these issues can join the Sierra Club on March 29th in Davenport for a sister rally to the national People’s Climate March.

Other activities sponsored by the Eagle View Group in the area include training community members in environmental activism, helping clean up a local river, taking quarterly hikes through national and state parks, and monthly meetings. More information can be found on the group’s website.