The film Carbon Nation, a project rich with Hampshire talent, had its New York premiere on February 10, 2011. This premiere marked the start of a nationwide tour that runs through March. The film is directed by Peter Byck.
Byck’s sister-in-law, Deanna Byck 82F, introduced him to Artemis Joukowsky 81F, and the pair saw the screening of An Inconvenient Truth together at Sundance in 2006. In the conversations that followed, the idea was born for a film that could solve the problems posed by Al Gore’s film. The pair then recruited friends far and wide to the project, including Hampshire alums and friends Josh Goldman 81F, Jonathan Friedland 77F, former President Adele Simmons, Paula Crown (wife of Jim Crown 71F), and Craig Sieben 77F, who signed on as producer with Joukowsky.
While this was Sieben’s first foray into filmmaking, his focus on energy issues stretches back to his student days. At Hampshire he was involved in building the first Enfield solar greenhouse, was a member of the Board Building and Grounds Committee, and helped develop and implement the first energy study of the College in 1979.
Since graduation, Sieben has worked tirelessly in the energy field. As Founder and CEO of Sieben Energy Associates for the last 20 years, he is a pioneer in energy efficiency and sustainability.
Artemis Joukowsky, too, has long been interested in the renewable energy movement. At Hampshire he lived in the greenhouse mod and studied low-income communities in New York and their use of renewable technologies to address local control of their economies.
Since graduation he has been heavily involved in sustainable business, and started both the Econergy (which went public on the London Stock Exchange) and Highland Energy (which was sold to EUA Cogenex) companies with Tom Stoner 78F. “My wish to do this film came out of my desire to address the issue of carbon in a positive, upbeat way on a larger, more public level,” he says.
Calling itself “a climate change solutions movie that doesn’t even care if you believe in climate change,” the film offers a bi-partisan, pro-business view of climate issues through its profiles of New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, former CIA director R. James Woolsey, wind and cotton farmer Cliff Etheredge, Stonyfield Farm CE-YO Gary Hirshberg 72F (who also helped support the marketing of the film), and a host of others. According to Joukowsky, “government can do a lot to help regulate but really it’s going to be business that creates the opportunities around climate change.” The message is that not only is carbon reduction a good idea for the environment, but it also creates jobs, increases national pride and national security, reduces oil dependence, and benefits local and national economic development. As Sieben says, “the film fills a key gap in providing our fellow citizens with solutions, and does so by inspiring them.”
Upon the film’s completion, Deanna Byck hosted screenings in Utah at venues including the Tower Theater, the Swaner EcoCenter, and her own home. Craig Sieben and Adele Simmons organized a 4,000 person screening in Chicago’s Millennium Park. The film has been screened at Hampshire several times at different stages, and a preview screening was held in London in January.
For more information about the film, visit http://www.carbonnationmovie.com