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Green Film Picks At The San Francisco International Film Festival 2012

Monday, April 16th, 2012
Last Call at the Oasis

Last Call at the Oasis

With the San Francisco International Film Festival 2012 just around the corner, we wanted to offer a Green/Sustainable  sneak at some of the Green themed films on the festival plate.

Most of the Green themed films come in the form of documentaries such as Bitter Seeds, which delves into a story of how genetically modified seeds in India continue to make farmers desperately poor. This film could be particularly relevant with several US states attempting to get GMO food labeling on the 2012 ballots.

We’ve seen water films in the past and we’re excited (and frightened) to see Last Call at the Oasis, which focuses on the ever-increasing global water crisis. This documentary from Oscar-winner and Palo Alto native Jessica Yu, shot by SF local Jon Else also features several Bay Area experts, deals with the impending worldwide fresh water shortage.

We also heard good things about a narrative film, called Valley of Saints, which deals with fisherman who battle water pollution  and shrinking water supply in Dal Lake in the Kashmir region of India.

Green films here we come.

The Light Thief Plugs Into Environmental and Social Justice

Friday, April 29th, 2011
Scene from The Light Thief

Scene from The Light Thief

Sometimes it takes seeing things from a different perspective to realize what the big picture is. In the case of “The Light Thief” which plays at the SFIFF later this week, this small deftly made film plugs into  social and environmental justice themes then  wraps the story around colorful characters and a stark backdrop.

Set in a remote village in Kyrgyzstan, “The Light Thief” spotlights a local electrician, who the locals refer to as Mr. Light.  His radiance shows through in the first scene where he monkeys with the wires in an old man’s house so that he doesn’t have to pay for electricity. In this case Mr. Light shows his benevolence and concern for the community as he helps them steal electricity that they can’t afford. He eventually gets caught but the villagers (as well as the audience) know that Mr. Light’s heart is in the right place.

Besides his role as a do-gooder, Mr. Light acts as an environmentalist of sorts. With his iconic energy producing windmill in his front yard, he constantly tinkers with his sustainable invention. The fact that others in his village consider him an eccentric electrician only frustrates him.

Things quickly change when a greedy developer who has his mind set to developing much of the village hires Mr. Light to not only work but expand on his windmill idea. Mr. Light soon finds himself in a dilemma – work for the greedy developer who he learns to dislike but who can make his windmill farm a reality or continue fighting the system.

This little allegory of big business and politics versus the community and the common man seems a little rough around the edges but the simple style that director  Aktan Arym Kubat (The Chimp) brings home his points. Perhaps small town villagers can use The Light Thief as a rallying point for those going up against the large energy companies of the world.  For those in the big cities, we just have to hope that The Light Thief sees the light of day in some movie theaters.

Screens at the SFIFF Sunday May 1

San Francisco Wants Everyone to Green Their Property

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

green ebergy sf green building sfWith many cities putting Green building on the back burner, while they try and help solve the distressed homeowner crises (equally important), San Francisco continues their progressive Green thinking. In a few years, when the distressed homeowners crisis hopefully wanes, people will start thinking about how important Green building looms in terms of not just energy and cost savings but the health of people who live their.

San Francisco recently developed an accessible financing program that allows residential and commercial property owners to finance sustainable building improvements. This effort coincides with efforts across California and the United States to establish similar financing programs.

Interested home and business owners to finance can utilize GreenFinanceSF privately owned energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation improvements.  The repayment obligation is attached to the property, rather than the individual, and is paid back through property taxes over the life of the financing.

All size residential and commercial buildings can use the program. Eligible projects include energy efficiency upgrades—such as adding insulation, replacing windows, and upgrading heating systems; and water efficiency upgrades—such as installing low flow toilets. Financing is also available for installation of renewable energy generation on buildings such as solar arrays – in conjunction with energy efficiency improvements.

Pretty simple, huh? We think so. It should be a win-win for everyone so we’re hoping that everyone will look long term (yes, we know that is hard for most Americans) and utilize this program.

(photo courtesy apartment therapy)

Whisky – Real Slow Food

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Before the recent Whisky Fest in San Francisco, a select group gathered for a whisky tasting of the Bowmore whisky which in itself should be deemed a special treat especially when sipping on the 25 year Bowmore single malt and the 44 year old (older than most us in the room) Bowmore Gold, which up until that moment had only been savored by a few ones in the U.S. Toss in the fact that we sampled this whiskey at the classic power lunch spot meets oh la la One Market and everything seemed to be going as smooth as the and Bowmore 12 and the Tombo Tuna (we hope wild caught).

But of course, being in San Fran, we struck up the whole Green thing as far as Bowmore and whisky production. The Bowmore crew being from Scotland aren’t exactly strangers when it comes to Green or sustainable practices. After all, we would have to say that whisky might be one of the ultimate slow foods. A few tastes later only spurred the spirited dialogue. The fact that Bowmore came in second in the Green Apple award a few years ago impressed us. We even liked the fact that they got downright innovative in the fact that they use the waste heat generated from the stills plant to not only dry the barley but heat the local public swimming pool as well. They also use the generated hot water to pre-heat the facility that works like a form of radiant heating.

Now we can’t over look the fact that the distillery runs on petroleum and they do emit healthy amounts of peat burning smoke into the air but each year they maintain stricter CO2 emissions than the government targets.

The mention of organics caused another stir. Not that organics represents the be all and end all of whisky ingredients but the topic opened up another barrel of whisky that we will post shortly. Where does the barrel wood originate? Are there GMOs in whisky?

We’re not going to mess with 200 plus years of tradition and think that whisky distilleries will change green overnight. Meanwhile, we got back to the task at hand. We need to savor the Bowmore Gold and the pear dumpling with brown butter caramel sauce.