Grassroots Innovator


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Grassroots Innovator
"It's refreshing to see a film about people like this which shows them taking the lead and being very much in charge of their own destiny."

Grassroots Innovator is part of the See You In Copenhagen series of short films about climate change. However, it's notably different from the others. Whilst the focus at Copenhagen is on large scale political solutions, this film looks at what individuals can do to make a difference.

The individuals in question are fisherman living and working in China, whose massive programme of industrialisation threatens to massively increase worldwide carbon emissions. Although we might expect them to be traditionalists hostile to change, these fishermen have in fact always been keen to keep abreast of developing technology, especially where it can be good for business. In their eyes, the addition of wind turbines to their boats isn't just an investment in the planet's future, it's a direct investment in their own. Using these turbines can save each boat as much as two tons of coal per year. They can power their lights and equipment; maintenance costs are low and in the long term they can look to save a fortune.

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Naturally most people watching this film won't own fishing boats or be in a position to make lifestyle changes of precisely this type, but it's still inspiring to see such a positive approach being taken at an individual level. It also demonstrates that improving the quality of life of the world's poorest people doesn't need to be done at the expense of the environment, and it shows that such people can take the initiative in making such changes themselves. It's refreshing to see a film about people like this which shows them taking the lead and being very much in charge of their own destiny.

When filming fishermen it's easy to build in attractive imagery, but this film is also interesting because it allows plenty of visual focus on the down and dirty mechanics of getting the turbines into place, emphasising that these are not just dreamers but practical working people. This adds a more down to Earth edge to the politicking of Copenhagen. It's a fascinating glimpse into a different way of looking at the world.

See You in Copenhagen_Grassroots Innovator / Zhou Bo from See You in Copenhagen on Vimeo.

Reviewed on: 07 Dec 2009
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A look at how Chinese fishermen are investing in renewable energy technologies.

Director: Gabriel London

Year: 2009

Runtime: 4 minutes

Country: US, China


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