Megafires: Investigating a global threat

All over the globe, catastrophic wildfires are threatening not only our homes and our lives, but also the climate and our future. This documentary travels to the US, Canada, Europe and Asia to follow the work of a dedicated global community of scientists, firefighters and fire experts as they light experimental fires in laboratories, study the history of our forests and put under scrutiny the escalating range and impact of the blazes, from hidden smoldering fires deep inside the soil to smoke clouds reaching all the way up into the stratosphere.

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Des-Extincion (De-Extinction)

Spanish comedian Patricia Sornosa takes a trip across the planet with world-famous archaeologist and ecology enthusiast Eudald Carbonel to explore the possibilities of De-Extinction. Experts in De-Extinction from Siberia to Spain share their knowledge and offer us meetings with previously extinct animals in this hopeful and fascinating documentary.

 

A Hard Rain

This is a documentary that had to be made! Twice Academy award nominee and five times AFI winner David Bradbury’s latest contribution, A Hard Rain, explores the ‘other side’ of the nuclear debate.

Governments and most mainstream media are promoting that nuclear is now an attractive alternative to fossil fuels – the magic fix that will save us all from global warming. Nuclear power has taken on a clean and green spin from the low point 20 years ago which saw the Chernobyl meltdown.

Traversing five countries – China, France, UK, Japan and Australia, and using what Bradbury learnt from his previous three nuclear documentaries (Public Enemy Number One, Jabiluka and Blowin’ in the Wind), A Hard Rain takes a closer look at the global nuclear industry in its entirety – from the mining of uranium through to the nuclear power plant to the radioactive waste and weapons manufacturing. It exposes the hidden agendas behind this latest push for Australia to go nuclear.

Included are interviews with some of the world’s top scientists and environmentalists on the subject such as Dr Rosalie Bertell from Canada, Dr Chris Busby from the UK, and from Australia, Dr Mark Diesendorf (Ex CSIRO) from the Environmental Institute at the University of NSW, Prof. Ian Lowe, President of the Australian Conservation Foundation, and Dr Gavin Mudd from the Monash University Engineering Department.

Interviews with traditional owners who have been locked out of genuine consultation with what is happening on their country is also included in this film.

By looking at the experience of countries overseas that have gone nuclear, A Hard Rain debunks some of the myths of the nuclear industry: that nuclear is safe, cheap, health and green with little chance of another Chernobyl happening.

If you want vital and factual information to debate the issue intelligently and overthrow the myths that the nuclear and pro uranium mining lobby has so successfully implanted in the media, in the government and the Labor Party, then this documentary is a must see.

Jabiluka

The struggle of the Mirrar Aboriginal people against the Jabiluka uranium mine, in the Northern Territory…. Jabiluka is about us, blackfellas, whitefellas together… and our belief in the future of our nation…

Currently Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) is pushing to open a new uranium mine that is surrounded by the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park. The traditional Aboriginal owners have told the company and the government that they do not want this mine. They are concerned about its effects on their country and culture. Environment groups and many others are also working to stop Jabiluka and other new uranium mines.

Many Australians are asking how can we threaten the cultural and environmental values of our most famous world heritage listed national park… Kakadu? How can we put at risk the culture and the lives of the indigenous people of Kakadu with a new uranium mine at Jabiluka?

The Federal Government of Australia, the government of the Northern Territory, mining company Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) and the Northern Land Council all want uranium mining to go ahead at Jabiluka… but the Mirrar people are saying ‘No’.

Since the Ranger mine at Jabiru was given approval in 1978 Mirrar opposition to the proposed Jabiluka mine has strengthened… 19 years on. Living and social conditions amongst Kakadu’s indigenous population have worsened and the people are deeply concerned about the impact of mining on their lives and the unknown consequences of storing crushed and pulverised radioactive wastes on their land.

In the culture of the Mirrar. Jabiluka is so sacred not even traditional owner Yvonne Margarula can speak about it. And yet knowing this the Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has given the green light to the Jabiluka mine… despite the negative findings of a Social Impact Study and warnings from his own departmental bureaucrats that the mining company’s Environmental Impact Statement was deficient in key areas.

Jabiluka is the first of 26 proposed new uranium mines the Howard Government has before it for approval. In this important new film twice Academy Award nominated director David Bradbury captures the controversy over Jabiluka.

The Jabiluka mine will be underground, below the flood plain in an area infamous for it’s big wet season… and beside Kakadu’s famous wetland. ERA plans to clear a mine site and bulldoze a road 22.5 kilometres long to truck the ore to the Ranger mine where it will be processed into yellowcake and then exported.

ERA’s Philip Shirvington (CEO sees management of the mine as a simple matter a job they do well: ‘We don’t add any radioactivity to what’s already there naturally.’ he says. But ‘not so’ say the traditional owners, scientists and environmentalists… who are concerned that the tailings will remain radioactive for the next 250.000 years.

The film Jabiluka clearly shows how the Mirrar were given no choice over the Ranger mine, how they were caught in a misleading process to consent to a lease over Jabiluka… and how today they are resisting those same pressures to allow mining to proceed.

The story of Jabiluka is also significant because it raises questions about the real value of ‘Land Rights’… the Mirrar people now own their land but are wondering whether that actually means anything. On December 16 as part of her steadfast campaign Yvonne Margarula will take her case to the Federal Court of Australia to prevent the Federal Government granting ERA approval to export uranium from Jabiluka.

She must continue the fight first taken up by her father Toby Gangale… for the right of her people to live in harmony with 40,000 years of cultural tradition. “We know we own the country” she says. “We know. We born the country, and we live the country. It is our country… black country… not white country.”

In 1978 Professor Manning Clark visited the ‘Top End’ and was left with an enduring impression of its abundant cultural treasures, of its pristine wetlands and majestic escarpments. Following that visit he stated clearly his opposition to mining Kakadu.

“It would be an evil day in the history of this country if the white man once again showed the black man that nothing else mattered except material grandeur.

Is it too much to hope that the natural paradise of Kakadu National Park might be a setting not so much for a human paradise but at least a place where the white man and the black man can at last live in harmony with each other?”

When the Dust Settles

When the Dust Settles combines comedy and serious content to explain the dangers of uranium mining, the nuclear fuel cycle and the use of depleted nuclear materials – much of which originates in Australian uranium mines – in weapons production. It is presented on location at the Olympic Dam and Ranger uranium mines and Roxby Downs, by veteran Australian actor, and former electrician, Tony Barry. Academy Award nominee and internationally-respected Australian filmmaker, David Bradbury, of Frontline Films, was director. Other participants include Canadian nun, Dr Rosalie Bertell (who led an international team into Chernobyl), Dr Helen Caldicott (paediatrician and high-profile anti-nuclear campaigner), Dr Peter Karamoskos (nuclear radiologist and specialist in the health effects of radiation, including low level radiation), and a representative of the uranium mining industry. The film is based around a family, the Sparkies – played by Austen Tayshus, Mandy Nolan, Zoe Hutchence and Dylan Bradbury – who consider taking the big money on offer for electricians in the uranium mining industry until their son confronts them with the health and environmental risks.

Arc of Fire

They call it ‘Arc of Fire’. It’s the biggest operation against illegal logging in Brazil’s history. And its mission is to save the Amazon. Since April 2008, Federal Police, National Security Force Agents and the Environmental Protection Agency have been conducting joint operations against the timber mafia. It’s been dubbed the first ecological war of the 21st century. Hundreds of armed policemen scour the Amazon by helicopter, looking for signs of illegal deforestation. Already, they’ve imposed millions of Euros in fines, dismantled illegal sawmills and razed thousands of charcoal ovens to the ground. But locals, who rely on the lumber industry, claim Operation Arc of Fire is driving them to destitution. Director: Alexander Bouchet.

Sons of the Land

Between 400 and 800 French farmers commit suicide every year. In 1999, the father of director Edouard Bergeon became one of them. Decades later, Bergeon returns to his roots in Southwest France to follow the Itards, a family of farmers, for 14 months. Their story provides a microcosm of the crisis engulfing farmers across Europe today. While telling their story, Bergoen tells his own. Directed by Edouard Bergeon.

Living in a Minefield

Cambodia is one of the most heavily landmined countries in the world. In many rural areas, virtually all the fields and forest are full of mines. After her husband was killed, An Vi and her eight daughters were left with no choice but to risk their lives cultivating a mine-infested plot of land. “I just dig very shallow and don’t dare to hack,” Vi explains. “If there are deep mines then maybe we won’t reach them”. This is their story. Directed by Marit Gjertsen.

Return to Virunga: The Battle to Save the Mountain Gorillas

In the heart of tropical Africa, at the epicenter of a brutal civil war, lies a refuge for one of Earth’s greatest species. More than half the world’s remaining 720 mountain gorillas live in the Virunga National Park. For decades, armies, militias, and poachers fought over this land with the mountain gorillas stuck in the firing line. In 2007, their only protectors, a small but dedicated force of forest rangers, were forced to flee after rebels took over the park. Now the rangers have returned after striking a deal with the rebels. What will they find upon their return? Can the great mountain gorillas still be saved? Directed by Stefan Lovgren.

Low Carbon: The Economics of Climate Change

The Earth is warming, oil reserves are running out, our way of life is unsustainable. For years, environmentalists have been lecturing us to reduce our carbon footprint or suffer the consequences. A survey commissioned by the British government concluded that climate change will account for a 5 to 20% loss in Gross World Product within the next 30 years. But reducing our use of carbon doesn’t have to mean a rejection of capitalism or turning our backs on the niceties of modern life. From driving electric cars to producing ethanol from waste products, controlling carbon change is in fact creating new economic opportunities. In the words of Jeremy Rifkin, author of “The Hydrogen Economy”, a move to a low carbon economy is ‘the biggest extension of capitalism in history, empowering people’. One of the countries leading the way is Spain. From utilizing solar and wind energy to thoughtful government schemes promoting the use of bikes, Spain is embracing the challenges of climate change. What can be learned from their example? We investigate. DIRECTORS: PEDRO BARBADILLO