Sustainable cinema

Sarasota Film Festival Series Shows the Local Effects of Climate Change

The four mini-documentaries will premiere on the festival's website on Friday, April 30.

By Allison Forsyth April 29, 2021

A still from one of the films shows Eva Worden of Worden Farm.

The world's rising temperature doesn't just affect our sea level and the amount of rain we receive, but our agriculture, youth sports, coastal neighborhoods and historic communities, too. That's the message of a new four-part video series created by the Climate Council of Sarasota-Manatee and the City of Sarasota that will premiere virtually on Friday, April 30, as part of the Sarasota Film Festival. A virtual panel covering the films and related topics will take place at noon on Sunday, May 2.

"These stories are based on surveys of 35 local environmental organizations on what they thought we needed as far as local education," says City of Sarasota sustainability coordinator Jeffrey Vredenburg. "People wanted an approachable, easy resource from local people, different from the doom and gloom of other climate change resources."

The first video follows Eva Worden, cofounder of Worden Farm, and Jim Strickland, the founder of Blackbeard's Ranch, and explains how the food industry is affected by rising temperatures and more severe hurricane seasons. Sarah Bostick of UF/IFAS Sarasota County extension also explains the ways climate change can create food insecurity, and how closely connected we are to local farmers.

Livestock at Strickland Ranch.

The second video discusses youth sports and how climate change creates hotter summers each year, running risks of dehydration and heat stroke. The third and fourth videos highlight the coastal and historic neighborhoods of Sarasota and Manatee counties. In them, two locals share their experience with sea level rise while living on the coast, and former Sarasota city manager Tom Barwin and former city commissioners talk about flooding challenges in historic neighborhoods that lack proper water mitigation.

"There are little choices people can make, like buying local food at farmers' markets, drinking more water on hot days and helping children understand and avoid heat stress all can make a difference," says Vredenburg. The documentary series includes downloadable rack cards made with key takeaways for how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. The city itself has set a goal of using 100 percent renewable energy by the year 2045.

The series was funded with a $28,000 grant from the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium's Gulf of Mexico Climate and Resilience Community of Practice, with support from the Science and Environment Council of Southwest Florida. The four five-minute documentaries were filmed and produced by Mars Productions.

Sarasota and Manatee counties are expected to experience more intense storms and rainfall due to climate change.

"We hope these resources will inspire residents and organizations throughout our region to do even more to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and implement adaptation solutions," says Vredenburg.

To watch the video series, click here. A virtual panel with the producer and featured experts will allow guests to ask questions at noon on Sunday, May 2, on the Sarasota Film Festival website.

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