EMPOWERED: No power plant required!
Sure, you’d love to power at least part of your home on renewable energy, but the local infrastructure isn’t there yet: no nearby wind farm, no solar or geothermal installers. And, besides, it really isn’t that windy where you live.
That’s the kind of mindset that fossil fuels have given us: we really can’t go out and drill our own oil and gas, or mine our own coal, so we’ve assumed largely that energy is something that others have to provide for us. But part of the beauty of renewables is their availability: we all get some sun, wind, or geothermal heat, and with a little elbow grease, we can harvest that energy – no power company or massive centralized plant needed.
That’s the the theme underlying EMPOWERED: POWER FROM THE PEOPLE, an independent documentary produced in the Ithaca, New York area. Director Shira Golding Evergreen, one half of queer vegan multimedia production and community organizing company Shirari Industries, and producer Suzanne McMannis (a full-time farmer) were originally drawn to the topic of natural gas fracking, but really wanted to make a film that was for something positive. That “something” turned out to be the community of energy DIYers in the area: folks using the sun, wind, biofuels, energy efficiency upgrades, and more to power their lives. EMPOWERED debuted at last year’s Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, and has since screened at various locations in the Ithaca area.
Energy’s not the only thing that doesn’t need massive infrastructure and money behind it: the creators of EMPOWERED demonstrate that professional film making can come from a small-scale, DIY approach. Don’t expect this one to come to the local multiplex; you can, however, watch the film online for a mere $4.95, or order a DVD.
If you’ve seen this one, or know of other projects like it, do share.
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Image credit: Screen capture from EMPOWERED trailer.