Producers discuss ecological restoration at documentary viewing

Despite the large-scale damage, the Earth’s ecosystem is salvageable, students in a community service group on the Mount Vernon Campus were told Thursday night.

Thirty members of the Civic House Living and Learning Program viewed the documentary “Hope in a Changing Climate” as a presentation by the Center for Civic Engagement. The aim of the night was to demonstrate how ecological restoration improves opportunities for people trapped in generational and situational poverty.

The restoration of vegetation to China’s Loess Plateau was the focus of the movie. Engineers and locals of the area spent years reversing the damage on the lands that had been destroyed by several thousands of years of agricultural exploitation.

Countries like Ethiopia and Rwanda in Africa applied rehabilitation projects as a result of China’s success with the Loess Plateau. Ethiopia, which has experienced heavy ecological damage due to war, civil conflict and poor agricultural practices, has successfully restored riverbeds in areas that were once plagued with draught.

Producers from the Environmental Education Media Project, which sponsored the film viewing, were on hand to discuss their findings from working on the documentary.

“One thing that was really interesting is how water literally trickled down to the lives of affected people,” Lance Kramer, an associate from the organization, said. “For example, most of the ecological damage in Ethiopia was restored within six years.”

The film has been screened in over 30 countries internationally and was broadcast on the BBC after its release in 2009. Producers tour the documentary around the world in an effort to engage viewers in the discussion of ecology.

“It would be nice to have this film shown to high school students in China,” Jianyi Nie, a freshman from Beijing who attended the screening, said.

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