Film nights: The Economics of Happiness and coming soon: Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change

In April we came together in the Abbot’s beautiful barn to watch what I felt was a powerful and thought provoking film. I came away from this film with a sense that the balance of power in the world is based upon the great myth that western culture and modern life is better than less intensive alternatives. It is a widely held belief that our capitalist, consumer culture is so special that everyone should have the opportunity to live like us and share our values. However, our mode of living is so intensive that Globalisation is necessary to feed it and the politics of trade so distorted that obscenely wasteful practices are used to implement it.

The film ably demonstrated that far from being our saviour, globalisation is unnecessarily laying waste to not only our planet but our culture and perhaps also our chances of achieving personal happiness. To illustrate this point the film introduces a people known as the Ladakh. Outsiders considered the Ladakh to be backward and their practises primitive yet they were/are a peaceful, harmonious, happy and (crucially) sustainable culture. Few capitalist consumer societies can claim some or indeed any of these qualities.

Personally, I fail to see what exactly it is that we have that is so much better than what the Ladakh have. In many ways I think that the richness of the Ladakh culture and their understanding of both themselves and their environment is superior to our own! Were we so wise, we might find a way to break free of our dependencies on cheap fossil fuels and endless (perhaps pointless) consumerism.

There was a lot of positivity in the film and the Transition movement is cited as one of several examples of Localisation and how it can help us to not only preserve/heal our planet, but also to achieve a sense of personal fulfilment and happiness that is so often lacking in today’s world. We have freedom of choice. We are free to wake up to what is going on and to do something about it. In the words of Bob Marley we can “emancipate ourselves form mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds”.(Redemption song).

Next Film Showing: Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change

When and Where: Friday 20th May, Bacons Farm, St Michael South Elmham, NR35 1NF at 7.30PM

“Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change” premiered in 2010. Nunavut-based director Zacharias Kunuk (Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner) and researcher and filmmaker Dr. Ian Mauro (Seeds of Change) have teamed up with Inuit communities to document their knowledge and experience regarding climate change. This new documentary, the world’s first Inuktitut language film on the topic, takes the viewer “on the land” with elders and hunters to explore the social and ecological impacts of a warming Arctic. This unforgettable film helps us to appreciate Inuit culture and expertise regarding environmental change and indigenous ways of adapting to it.”

The film documents Inuit people’s knowledge and experience of climate change. Interviews with elders and hunters explored the social and ecological impacts of a warming Arctic. The film sparked a lively discussion; oral history and ancient wisdom clashing with modern scientific methods of observing and measuring a mutating landscape. It was apparent to us all that a dramatically changing environment and lifestyle thousands of miles away will be something we will be facing ourselves before long.

by Eloise Wilkinson

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