The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
This Must-See Documentary Shows the Future of Solar Power Is Here Today
Filmmaker Shalini Kantayya set out to show that climate change isn't all gloom and doom. The result, Catching the Sun, ably makes that case, but may still leave you inspired and infuriated in equal parts.
This fast-paced and compelling documentary, which premieres today in New York City and in cities nationwide during April, follows a diverse group of job-seekers, activists, politicians and entrepreneurs as they tap into the world's growing solar power economy.
Kantayya jumps between nations that have unequivocally adopted policies to speed up adoption of renewables and more fitful efforts here in the U.S. to expand solar energy—from a program in Richmond training unemployed men and women to become solar panel installers, to a “Green Tea Party" member and energy independence advocate working both sides of the halls of power in Georgia.
The sharpest contrast comes in the paralled stories of two young visionaries: American activist Van Jones and Chinese entrepreneur Zhongwei “Wally" Jiang.
Jones, the founder of the group behind the Richmond solar jobs training program, finds himself recruited by the Obama administration in 2009 to take similar efforts nationwide. We follow him across the country and into the White House, where his work—and a potentially revolutionary climate and clean energy bill in Congress—attract powerful right-wing attacks that leave Jones bewildered and politically vulnerable.
Jiang, meanwhile, describes how he has risen from rural poverty to running a solar business employing thousands. He travels the world making enormous solar power deals and has set his sights on a "dream" project: a vast solar park in rural Texas. Jiang's ambitions never seem unrealistic, because they are fueled by something just as powerful as his personal vision and drive: the regulatory certainties in nations like China and Germany, which have unequivocally set ambitious goals for adopting renewable energy.
The mixed government signals on clean energy in the U.S. don't seem to overcome Jiang's personality or, perhaps more importantly, his professional resources: By the film's end he is closing in on his Texas solar dream.
But they leave some of the newly-trained solar power technicians in Richmond grappling with an uncertain job market and still fighting the centrifugal force of chronic poverty.
The impacts of continuing to burn fossil fuels—from shrinking ice at both ends of the Earth, to month-on-month record-breaking temperature highs worldwide—are accelerating. The need to expand renewable energy couldn't be clearer. Catching the Sun shows that the technologies to make that happen are proven, but the political will remains in doubt.
Watch the trailer here:
This article was reposted with permission from our media associate TakePart.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."