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Time to wave the green-spangled banner

Written by Peter Byck on .


The best way to promote clean energy is to ignore climate change and focus on things like jobs, money and national security

IN THE 1970s everyone thought environmentalism meant granola, which meant health food stores, which meant carob, a horrible substance the health-foodies told us we should eat instead of chocolate. In the same decade, US president Jimmy Carter reduced the speed limit on interstates from 70 miles per hour to 55 mph to save energy. Carter got kicked out and carob made it feel like "doing the right thing" was akin to taking medicine: the environmental movement was saddled with pseudo-chocolate and painfully slow driving.

Now motoring is going electric, not because of its moral compass - it's just that the engines perform much better. I took a ride with Elon Musk behind the wheel of his company's new Tesla Roadster electric sports car. He floored it, and the g-force made my headphones rotate swiftly around my head. Goodbye carob, hello delicious chocolate!

I'm a whiny liberal film-maker who has spent the past four years making Carbon Nation, a documentary about climate change solutions that doesn't even care if you believe in climate change. I know climate change is real and happening, but you don't have to agree with me to see the benefits of clean energy. A low-carbon economy is also a national security issue, a great business opportunity, even just a way to keep families together. As The New York Times writer Thomas Freedman says in the movie: "It's the most patriotic thing you can be, do, think or feel today. Green is the new red, white and blue."

This is exactly where I have found great areas of common ground with knuckle-dragging conservatives. Finding common ground isn't supposed to be possible in the US - our lost, polarised land. But I'm here to tell you we're not polarised, and we're far from lost. We're being told we're polarised to keep political pundits in business. Problem is, that story is being bought by most in Congress, so our march to a clean energy economy has been stymied, to say the least.


Written by Chrisna on .

Carbon Nation on Netflix

Praise for carbon nation

Written by Chrisna on .

"The excellent documentary "Carbon Nation" is an... inspiring... positive, proactive and gingerly apolitical... look at the many recent advances in clean energy and green technologies." - Los Angeles Times

“Dealing with climate change in a lively and fun way ... adding to the dialogue in a way that's not as likely to make opposing opinionators rip out each others' throats.” - Seattle Times

" Entertaining ... endearing ... and exceptional. This is not just a film worth seeing, but it is one that is well worth sharing—as widely as possible." - Huffington Post

“Save Big Bucks, Help The Planet.” - Bloomberg

"The film gives good reasons for hope." - Onearth.org

“Excellent - Inspirational Eco-Documentary Advocates Grassroots Solutions for Global Warming...A sobering documentary which makes a convincing case that climate change is a national security issue." - Kam Williams, Syndicated Columnist

"This is a truly inspiring film- documenting how going green can actually help or even save our economy. It showcases some innovators that will have you marveling at their creativity. You’ll wonder why government and industry isn’t championing their lead. "- Q104- Clear Channel

“I hope everyone gets a chance to see this film.” - Mother Earth News

Quotes from carbon nation:

“Do I think man is causing global warming? No, but that doesn’t make any difference. I want clean water and I want clean air. And that’s so simple.” THE WILD ALASKAN

“Climate change in fact is a national security issue. This is no longer the purview of Birkenstock-wearing tree huggers. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” THE ARMY COLONEL

“So if you don’t give a damn about the environment, do it because you’re a greedy bastard and you just want cheap power.” THE BIOCHEMICAL ENGINEER

Los Angeles Times Review by Gary Goldstein

Written by Gary Goldstein on .

Movie review: 'Carbon Nation'

By Gary Goldstein
February 17, 2011

Although it contains its moments of doom and gloom about the potential effects of climate change, the excellent documentary "Carbon Nation" is an inspiring look at the many recent advances in clean energy and green technologies.

Director Peter Byck covers an impressively wide range of ground within his film's compact running time as he introduces us to a stirring cross-section of pioneers, researchers and innovators committed to helping the world reduce its carbon footprint.

Byck hopscotches across America and beyond interviewing such notables as Richard Branson, former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, Earth Day founder Denis Hayes and charismatic environmental advocate Van Jones, among many others, who weigh in on the issues, problems and solutions surrounding the climate change phenomenon.

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The world's largest wind farm, a refrigerator recycling plant and a green initiative project for low-income neighborhoods are just a few of the many ecology boosters — and job creators — that get a big-screen close-up here.

That Byck's script (written with Eric Driscoll, Matt Weinhold and Karen Weigert) and journalist-TV host Bill Kurtis' narration remain positive, proactive and gingerly apolitical should help widen the film's viewership tent. As New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman so aptly puts it here, "Green is the new red, white and blue."

"Carbon Nation." No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 22 minutes. At Laemmle's Sunset 5, West Hollywood.
Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times

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