Our daughter Emily (15) has been passionate about the environment for many years. In our travels, she’s seen some of the most pristine and beautiful natural wonders on this planet. She’s also seen beautiful places covered in trash, coral reefs destroyed, and glaciers receding due to increased temperature. Being strongly moved by this, she has dedicated herself to learning more about her own impact on the planet and how she can help.
Since we came back to Bali several months ago, Emily has been working on a documentary about the pollution problem that exists here, as well as some solutions that are in place and are making a difference. Through creating this film, she hoped to increase her sense of hope that things could get better, and to feel empowered herself to effectively contribute to the solutions.
This project has been an IMMENSE amount of work for her. Here is a quick list of what she did:
- She researched organizations in Bali working on the pollution problem.
- She contacted their leaders to schedule interviews.
- She met with them and recorded the interviews (I helped with this part, as her camera man – though I regret that my lav mic adaptor was broken, affecting interview audio quality. But Emily compensated well).
- She researched scientific studies, contacted universities, and verified sources.
- She scripted and recorded the film’s narration with her own voice.
- She wrote, orchestrated, and recorded the film’s entire music score from scratch.
- She created several hand-drawn animated sequences that appear in the film. (Her sister Marie also helped by creating a couple 3D animations).
- She edited the entire film in Final Cut Pro (amidst all the editing she does for her clients in her Crystal Cut Studios business).
- She created a logo for her new brand, Earth United, where this film will be housed.
With hours of footage to go through, it was no easy task for her to choose what to cut and how to make the story interesting, informative, and to flow well. But after months of work (and a couple of preview showings to her parents for feedback), she has whittled this down to about a 20-minute short documentary film, which she has now released for free on her new Earth United YouTube channel!
Unlike many environment-related films that leave me feeling a bit depressed about the state of the world and our future, this one left me with a sense of hope and empowerment, as well as a stronger desire to do my part moving forward, knowing I’m not alone in my efforts.
If you can spare 20 minutes this week, I invite you to watch this film, and also share it if the message resonates, so more people can be inspired to take better care of our planetary home.
I’ve learned a lot through watching Emily do this. First, our planet is facing big environmental problems that require big solutions, and our individual efforts can feel like a drop in the bucket. But there are solutions out there in various stages, and we can contribute in various ways, starting with reducing our own impact. Second, Emily sometimes tends to push herself too hard, in ways that aren’t good for her (such as staying up until 4am to achieve a self-imposed deadline, or getting only 4 hours of sleep for several nights in a row). But I can also see ways that sometimes my own work ethic can get out of balance, and I’m reminded of the importance of perspective in this and being aware of the impacts of our choices on ourselves and others. How can you become more aware this week of how your choices are affecting you, your family, and the world? And what is one thing you can do to make that affect more positive?