Visionnaires Planetaires @ Nouveau Cinema

This documentary feature follows Mikael Rioux, local eco-activist and founder of Echofete Trois Pistoles, the first environmental festival in Quebec. Anxious about the future for his young son on this planet, Mikael speaks to his mentor Christian de Laet, legendary president of the largest NGO of alternative development in the world. In many ways he also pioneered the environmental movement in Canada by getting all the provincial and federal ministers to work together. In this film, Christian introduces Mikael to a world of pioneers who have implemented innovative projects that can create a more sustainable future for our planet and the people on it.

As Mikael travels the world to meet and speak with Christian de Laet's colleagues, we get introduced to practical solutions for the ecological challenges that this generation has created. We also learn that long before sustainability was a household term, pioneering intellectuals and activists were already on the same band wagon.

Former director of UNEP Ashok Koshla from New Delhi speaks about how he met Christian in Stockholm at the 1972 UN conference on the human environment. Later, they would together collaborate in the growth of the Society for Development Alternatives (NGO), now one of the premier private development agencies of the world.

In this film we do not hear doom and gloom, instead it offers concrete solutions to environmental problems. For example, Canadian ecological designer John Todd, talks about how he met the challenge of cleaning up canals of raw sewage in Fuzhou, China. Now it is an urban landscape where long absent birds and butterflies have returned. His ongoing work on ecological waste treatment has resulted in him being named by MIT as one of the 35 greatest inventors of the 21st century.

Long before her Nobel Peace prize for the environment, Wangari Maathai of Kenya speaks about how she founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977 with just a very small handful of people. The Queen of Green herself is a testament of what people can accomplish in the face of adversity and determination.

Cancer scientist Karl-Henrik Robert founded Natural Step in 1989 after researching damage to human cells led him to consider environmental questions. With the backing of King Gustaf of Sweden every school and household was distributed a handbook on the Natural Step framework. Today eco-municipalities have been created around the world and have adopted Natural Step's framework for sustainability that provides principles grounded in science.

Participants in this film also addressed the premise of our global economic structure and how health and the economy are inextricably linked with a sustainable environment. To add to this, humanist economist Peter Koenig from Zurich (the world capital of finance) admits we can be sovereign but also collective in order to make positive change.

As another guest explains we have created linear solutions for universal problems that are not working. Nobel Peace prize laureate Wangari Maathai explains this best, stating that we have lost our connection with nature, even though we ourselves are a part of nature. The solution as John Todd explains, is that we should let nature be our mentor. Instead of sleepwalking into the future, we need to decode nature's operating instructions because the forests and coral reefs are smarter than we are.

After viewing this film, one will understand that technological innovation in tandem with environmental sustainability can be a friend to all especially when integrated with social equity of economic activity and ecologic security. Unsustainable working practices on so many levels decreases the prosperity of life. Contrary to popular belief, sustainability is feasible and we have seen examples of this in action. As Christian de Laet once stated ,"it is time to move from science to conscience" and " be ready to attempt the bridge between science and personal responsibility."

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