Quantcast

Must See Documentary: TRASHED

Climate

Moms Clean Air Force

by Marcia G. Yerman

is a documentary featuring its executive producer, actor Jeremy Irons. It examines the encroaching problem of global waste.

Director Candida Brady, who describes herself as a childhood asthmatic and a concerned mother, builds a trajectory that illustrates the impact of waste on land, air and water. We see how marine life is impacted after ingesting toxins from billions of plastic items that do not breakdown after being discarded. Humans, in turn, eat the fish—retaining these contaminants in their systems.

Landfill and incineration emissions accelerate global warming. Referencing the philosophy of Barry Commoner, one expert notes that 150 years ago, waste was comprised of natural elements like wool, paper and wood. Nature was able to break them down. Now, we are left with poisons that get into the food chain. Incinerators spew bottom ash and fly ash. The Arctic is revealed as one of the most polluted places on earth. Iceland has been criticized by its neighbors for being lax with their incinerator standards. It is with justified consternation that Irons observes, “We are at the tipping point.”

Featured is an assessment of the effects of dioxins and how they are transmitted from a mother to her fetus. It takes six generations before toxins are eliminated from the human system. Perhaps the most devastating sequence shows images of the dire ramifications of Agent Orange—sprayed on the South Vietnamese landscape by the U.S. military. The population has suffered ongoing birth defects.

Watch the trailer to learn more:

I reached out to Brady with questions about the documentary:

Why did you get involved in this project?

My interest in waste as an issue was cumulative. It happened over a long period of time and for many reasons—from being influenced by my grandparents’ generation who made everything last, nothing was wasted—to looking into incineration and its effects on communities, ultimately learning about the staggering amount of rubbish in the North Pacific gyre and the work of Captain Charles Moore.

Can you speak to how the effects of having asthma as a child and being a mother have impacted your concern with the issue of global waste?

I think anyone who has spent time battling to regain good health can not help but be profoundly affected by it. When I was a child, my parents were told by one specialist I would be lucky to make it to being a teenager [because] my asthma was so chronic. My father often had to carry me from my bed to the bathroom, and I was a regular at Hospital A & E. I wanted to do everything I could to prevent my children [from] having the kind of experiences I have had. I have said this before, but I am shocked by the amount of kids who now have asthma. I knew one other kid who had asthma when I was growing up.

Like the thousands of scientists, including Nobel Prize winners who signed the Paris Appeal—an international statement on the dangers and effects of chemical pollution—along with hundreds of thousands of other signatories, I am also shocked by the rise in autism and cancer. I see families struggling to cope with so many different health issues, ones that I never encountered growing up. The experts say that we need to address the causes of these illnesses, not just try and belatedly find cures.

You include simple steps to change the trash equation. Do you think a bottom up shift in attitudes can be achieved?

Yes. I completely believe in a bottom up shift, I think we underestimate the power we have as communities and consumers. We all have the power to say, "NO." Grassroots, zero waste, [and] recycling organizations all over the world have been leading the way for years, defeating plans for new incinerators and landfills and so on—showing us how we can all change. People on the ground can also empower the politicians. There are many significant changes happening all over the world. Concord, Massachusetts has just banned the sale of bottled water in units smaller than one liter to reduce waste. Ireland has had tremendous success by not banning plastic bags, but by taxing them instead. Within weeks, bag use had fallen by 95 percent. Encouraging shoppers to provide their own bags, rather than offering them alternatives, makes disposable bags in any form a thing of the past.

At the screening I attended, where Irons was present, he clarified how he wanted to go beyond the problem … to the solution. He hopes the information the film imparts will be an impetus for change on an individual level. He is showing Trashed to legislators in Washington in February. “I think we can change habits,” he said. “It’s just a mental attitude.” He pointed to the fact that New York City recycles only 15 percent of its trash, while San Francisco just reached the 80 percent mark. The key mantra for Irons was, “If each of us does something small … ”

Visit EcoWatch’s BIODIVERSITY page for more related news on this topic.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signs the so-called Affordable Clean Energy rule on June 19, replacing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan that would have reduced coal-fired plant carbon emissions. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency / Twitter

By Elliott Negin

On July 8, President Trump hosted a White House event to unabashedly tout his truly abysmal environmental record. The following day, coincidentally, marked the one-year anniversary of Andrew Wheeler at the helm of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), first as acting administrator and then as administrator after the Senate confirmed him in late February.

Read More Show Less
A timber sale in the Kaibab National Forest. Dyan Bone / Forest Service / Southwestern Region / Kaibab National Forest

By Tara Lohan

If you're a lover of wilderness, wildlife, the American West and the public lands on which they all depend, then journalist Christopher Ketcham's new book is required — if depressing — reading.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
Somalians fight against hunger and lack of water due to drought as Turkish Ambassador to Somalia, Olgan Bekar (not seen) visits the a camp near the Mogadishu's rural side in Somalia on March 25, 2017. Sadak Mohamed / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

World hunger is on the rise for the third consecutive year after decades of decline, a new United Nations (UN) report says. The climate crisis ranks alongside conflict as the top cause of food shortages that force more than 821 million people worldwide to experience chronic hunger. That number includes more than 150 million children whose growth is stunted due to a lack of food.

Read More Show Less
Eduardo Velev cools off in the spray of a fire hydrant during a heatwave on July 1, 2018 in Philadelphia. Jessica Kourkounis / Getty Images

By Adrienne L. Hollis

Because extreme heat is one of the deadliest weather hazards we currently face, Union of Concerned Scientist's Killer Heat Report for the U.S. is the most important document I have read. It is a veritable wake up call for all of us. It is timely, eye-opening, transparent and factual and it deals with the stark reality of our future if we do not make changes quickly (think yesterday). It is important to ensure that we all understand it. Here are 10 terms that really help drive home the messages in the heat report and help us understand the ramifications of inaction.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Senator Graham returns after playing a round of golf with Trump on Oct. 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. Ron Sachs – Pool / Getty Images

Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Senate Republican who has been a close ally of Donald Trump, did not mince words last week on the climate crisis and what he thinks the president needs to do about it.

Read More Show Less
A small Bermuda cedar tree sits atop a rock overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. todaycouldbe / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Marlene Cimons

Kyle Rosenblad was hiking a steep mountain on the island of Maui in the summer of 2015 when he noticed a ruggedly beautiful tree species scattered around the landscape. Curious, and wondering what they were, he took some photographs and showed them to a friend. They were Bermuda cedars, a species native to the island of Bermuda, first planted on Maui in the early 1900s.

Read More Show Less
krisanapong detraphiphat / Moment / Getty Images

By Grace Francese

You may know that many conventional oat cereals contain troubling amounts of the carcinogenic pesticide glyphosate. But another toxic pesticide may be contaminating your kids' breakfast. A new study by the Organic Center shows that almost 60 percent of the non-organic milk sampled contains residues of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide scientists say is unsafe at any concentration.

Read More Show Less