Environmental issues addressed in The Carbon Rush

On Thursday, May 22, the Geeksboro Coffeehouse Cinema will present a special free screening of filmmaker Amy Miller’s highlytopical and highlyincendiary documentary feature The Carbon Rush, an in-depth examination of how carbon offset projects impact the local populations where they take place.

Whether it’s hydroelectric dams in Panama, garbage-burning incinerators in India, bio-gas extracted from Honduran palm oil or Brazilian eucalyptus forests harvested for charcoal, Miller and her cameras were there. Each of these projects are receiving carbon credits for offsetting pollution created somewhere else, but the focus of The Carbon Rush is on the indigenous population of these regions, and how these projects affect their daily lives. These are the people who tend to be least heard when discussing the emerging “green gold” multi-billion dollar carbon industry.

“The film was developed to bring as critical look to what is being billed as the ‘solution’ to the climate crisis – that being the carbon market and offset projects,” explains writer/producer/director Miller. “For me, it was important to beg the question of ‘solution for whom?’ and ‘why?’ The carbon market removed autonomy from already-disempowered communities and I thought offering a documentary from the (perspective) of the people most impacted by these projects would be a worthwhile endeavor and is my continued attempt of engaging in media that is based in social justice and solidarity.”

In addition to being a filmmaker, the Montreal-based Miller is also devoted to social justice and human issues. She previously made the documentary featurette Myths for Profit: Canada’s Role in Industries of War and Peace, which won the People’s Choice award at the Bay Street Film Festival in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and her first documentary, Outside of Europe, revealed the exclusionary nature of immigration and border policies. She has recently completed her latest documentary, No Land No Food No Life, which delves into agricultural land grabs and its impact on farmers around the world, and is currently working on a documentary about Canada’s military industrial complex.

With The Carbon Rush, “the development of the film came about in early 2010,” Miller says. “We shot the majority of the film in 2011 and it was released in Rio Brazil at the United Nations’ Rio +20 conference in July 2012. Since then, it has been screened at over 75 film festivals around the world, expanded to include an interactive game (on the film’s website) and a book published by Red Deer Press. There are versions in five languages and, most importantly, it is being used the world over as a popular educational tool by communities struggling with imposed offset projects.”

From Miller’s perspective, “climate change/chaos affects everyone all over the world, so I don’t see it as a ‘cause.’ It’s our planet. Wanting to bring forward solutions to reduce our carbon emissions that are just and equitable for all people is something I would hope people would be down with.

“If you’re asking what are people in North America capable of doing, the answer is to start taking the issue seriously and engaging on a community level to discuss and take action on climate change. There are climate justice groups springing up all over the place, and it is important to get involved and support these initiatives now.”

Miller and members of her filmmaking team are scheduled to attend the May 22 nd Geeksboro screening and participate in a post-screening panel discussion. !