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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Working on a Documentary

I'm going to make a documentary... Why?  Here's why.

When I first heard Guy McPherson's lecture on Near Term Human Extinction I was overwhelmed with a flood of emotions and thoughts.  Here I was, a mom, a teacher, an artist, and an activist trying to do the right thing, trying to turn the tides for all beings, being involved in numerous activities, protests, actions and organizations, especially lately in the Transition Town movement, and then discovering, to my deep chagrin, putting it lightly, than perhaps I should be spending more time playing with my family... Since our days are, most likely, numbered.  And soon. Like in maybe even seven years...

What does one do with such news? How does one process information that one is terminal?
I think of my mother who lost her battle with breast cancer 23 years ago.  I remember her fight and how many times I wished she could have spoken with me about death and dying.  I offered her my ear, my shoulder, my strength but she courageously refused to discuss the possibility that she might actually die. It wasn't an option for her.  Apparently the cancer gods thought otherwise and took away my best friend, who died with many secrets and stories untold.  She died without sharing her story, the good and the bad of it, because she refused to believe she was going to die.

It's been five months since hearing Guy's lecture and the first was the hardest for me and my friends who also heard Guy's lecture in Mt Kisco, NY. There were many tears and hugs and more tears, and discussions, and connecting and sharing, and more tears.  I can imagine the first month of knowing would be hard for any terminal patient, but then you shift and either accept the truth or live in denial, which I hear is not just a river in Egypt. (ba-da-boom, ching! roars of laughter and some hisses from comedy snobs)  We went though the K├╝bler Ross stages of grief and most of us came through the other side to acceptance. Acceptance isn't always an easy stage to be in, however, and it comes with its own variety of crises and emotional turmoil.  Also, we tend to shift back to bargaining and anger when we are feeling weak, or frustrated.

Yes, I know some came away with the reaction "That's all crap. No one knows what the future holds."
And even, "He shouldn't be allowed to share that information. It's too terrible and it could be wrong." However, for those of us who have been in the environmental trenches and fighting the good fight and are paying attention, we see the truth of the evidence that Guy displayed for us.  We see the connections and the lack of will in the leaders of this nation and the world at large to reverse the trajectory we are on.  We see the lost time, the missed opportunities and we see the growing crisis in the global climate, and in the quest for more energy at any cost, even the entire planet.

I keep hoping that a miracle will happen and something we haven't thought of will save us humans or some of the "us" of this beautiful planet, i.e. the billions of creatures that live here alongside us humans.  I keep hoping that there are gods, angels, saints or bodhisattvas to guide and protect us, but it seems they've all gone on vacation to another dimension and left us to wallow in our insanity.

There are those who have embraced the techno-miracle rescue-at-the-last-minute, because, well, you know, over the last 30 years of knowing we were burning up the planet no one bothered to come up with any techno-fantasy miracles.... So of course "they," whoever "they" are, will certainly come up with it now in the eleventh hour... Sadly, the only big techno-fantasy solution being bantered about now by the IPCC is Geo-engineering, a terrifying prospect that has obviously never been tried and has potentially more catastrophic results than just leaving everything alone... Because, from the little history I know as a history teacher, anytime humans tried to fix something, they only made it worse... It's wiser to follow Hippocrates' advice and first, do no harm, aka, slowly put it down, and step away from your techno-fantasy toys, boys...

Short of a miracle, what we do have left on our journey into the abyss is each other and what Dr Guy McPherson refers to as the opportunity to live lives of excellence and authenticity, compassion and empathy for all living things, not just us humans.  It is this path of excellence, authenticity, empathetic action and courageous acceptance of the mostly inevitable abyss that awaits us that I am keenly interested in and want to document to share with others.   Of the many hats that I wear as a human at her mid century age mark, one of them is as a photographer and TV producer. I hold a degree in Radio and TV production, worked for ABC for four years, and directed, produced and developed several Cable access shows here in NY.  I have re-donned this hat and have been closely (sort of) following Dr McPherson on his journeys to present this message of living a life of excellence in the face of catastrophe.  My journeys have taken me to his fabled Mud Hut in New Mexico, to Taos NM, To Mt Shasta CA where I met another documentarian, Michael Sosebee, who made a film about Guy, "Somewhere in New Mexico, Before the End of Time," and most recently De Pauw University in Indiana, where Guy's presentation that I am editing together, was held.

Thus far I have traveled and worked on my own dime, and singly without assistance, relying on my savings.  I use a Canon XA10 to film, and a Canon Rebel DSLR to photograph and shoot some video. These are light cameras, both with 1080dpi,  easy to cary into the field and easy on the pocketbook. I have a Rhode camera mic with shot gun capability, and a lavaliere mic which makes all the difference in sound quality.  The next journey I am contemplating on joining Dr McPherson on is to a workshop at an agroforestry center, Frutas del Mundo, in Guatemala at the  Next Step Seminar.
 Such a journey will require considerably more equipment and an assistant to help me. The flight alone for two people will cost approx $2000 round trip.  That's what I'm hoping to raise since it will mean time away from home, children, pets, jobs (if we have them), and will require support systems at home as well for both my assistant and me.


Any donation amount helps, no amount is too small.  Except for negative amounts.  ;)
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You can check out my Vimeo page where I have some videos of Guy posted from previous journeys.
And more to come soon.

Thank you for your support.

Pauline