Two things you should know about me that at first glance might have nothing in common: First, I love to watch movies and series – to dive into other worlds, to escape from reality, and just to have a good time. For me, there’s nothing better than going to the movies or lying on the couch on a rainy Sunday, watching a good movie, or binging a series. I even play a pivotal role in their creation as I work as an actor myself. Second, I consciously try to live sustainably because what we consume or do has a direct impact on the world’s ecosystems. I don’t eat meat, I don’t drive a car; instead, I use my bike or public transport. And I pay attention to labels to support companies dedicated to sustainable production and fair wages for laborers.
Two years ago, when I first read about the environmental impact of filmmaking in The Guardian, I was shocked. I hadn’t realized that my love for movies and for my job could seriously conflict with my dedication to the environment. Because the truth is: Blockbuster films with budgets of over $70 million produce an average of 2,840 tons of CO2 per production. That is equivalent to 11 one-way trips from the earth to the moon!
“Having the World Cup back on U.S. soil is very important in developing the sport of Ski Jumping in this country and across the world,” enthuses one ski jumping trainer about the return of the Men’s Ski Jumping World Cup to historical site Lake Placid, NY, after over three decades. As heart-warming as this news may be for North American winter sports aficionados, it’s hard to feel as optimistic about ‘developing’ the future of snow sports when climate change is already heavily impacting events even today.
This article has been started and scrapped time and time again. An American studies blog should run Native American stories regularly and most definitely for Native American Heritage Month this November. But then I, the author, am just another white European trying to share somebody else’s stories. So here’s what I decided to do: I’ll use this platform as a reminder to listen elsewhere, all year around.
What if a belief you deeply held and one that’s reciprocated by your entire social circle is actually wrong and harmful? In the spirit of my last blog, I want to tell the story of how I changed my mind on a major issue. The position I want to challenge is deeply engrained in the DNA of the mainstream environmental movement, especially here in Germany: the opposition to nuclear power.
Robin Wall Kimmerer’s presence is magnetic. Stepping out to the podium at the 2014 Bioneers Conference – an annual forum for topics like climate change and human rights – her silver hair hangs loosely, framing a pair of leather earrings decorated with small pink flowers. She greets the crowd with a large smile, and when she speaks, the room falls silent and the audience listens closely:
“Let us begin today with gratitude … of food to eat, of sweet air to breathe this morning, the preciousness of water, the companionship of clouds, and geese, and sugar maples. Gratitude for each other, for the privilege of our work together, and for the original peoples in whose homeland we meet, and for the more-than-human beings with whom we share the earth.”
Let’s just stop for a minute and reflect on a political, philosophical, or moral issue you’re wrong about. It ain’t that easy, right? But why not? The chance that you’re right on every topic you think and argue about is basically zero. Of course, if you knew you were wrong about something you wouldn’t hold that belief or even preach it. Whenever somebody utters an opinion we don’t agree with, our minds go:How dare you believe that?Of course, you can shield yourself from such thoughts by avoiding opinions that differ from yours. However, that’s a bad idea. It’s important to talk to people, so let me give you some practical advice on how to do it. Especially since the holidays are upon us, you’ll likely meet family members you haven’t seen in a while. So here comes an instruction manual on how to deal with that crazy aunt of yours who worships conspiracy theories.