Premiering at the Sarasota Film Festival: New “Climate Stories” short film series localizes climate change impacts to health, food, and neighborhoods with solutions for Sarasota-Manatee area residents to reduce risk
Sarasota, Fla. — A new locally produced short film series screening at the Sarasota Film Festival helps bring the issues and solutions surrounding climate change closer to home. The series of four Climate Stories shows how increasing temperatures, sea level rise, and changes in rainfall have and will continue to affect agriculture, youth sports, coastal neighborhoods, and historic communities. Each story demonstrates first-hand local climate change experiences and highlights what individuals and communities can do to adapt and reduce impacts.
A livestreaming panel discussion featuring the film’s Producer and the experts appearing in the films is scheduled Sunday May 2 at noon as part of the Sarasota Film Festival program.
Over the past year and a half, the Climate Council of Sarasota-Manatee and the City of Sarasota, along with many local partners, collected climate stories and solutions specific to those who live, work, and play in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. One of the goals of the project was to help bridge the gap between the global and national climate change conversation and what that means specifically for local residents.
The short films offer a look into the roles that different sectors of the community are playing in the larger climate picture. “Ranchers want to be part of the solution, but It can be hard for ranchers to get our story across,” said Jim Strickland, owner of Strickland Ranch and Managing Partner of Blackbeard’s Ranch who will be appearing at the film festival as part of the livestreaming panel discussion. “The City of Sarasota is a proud partner in the Climate Stories project and understands the importance of sharing our community members’ lived experiences related to climate change,” Said Jeff Vredenburg, the City of Sarasota’s Sustainability Coordinator.
Communicating climate change stories offers an opportunity to look at local solutions. “It’s important to recognize the benefits of a passive piece of agricultural land in terms of trees, carbon sequestration, wildlife corridors, habitat for endangered species, water filtration and storage. We use and need more scientific data quantifying what agricultural land is accomplishing related to climate change and why it’s essential for Florida to fund conservation programs for agricultural lands,” said Strickland.
A past Climate Council survey of 34 local environmental organizations showed that there was a need for more localized resources to help educate the public. Furthermore, 35% of organizations surveyed reported that they did not have ongoing funding for climate education. These climate videos and media, funded through a Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium’s Gulf of Mexico Climate and Resilience Community of Practice grant with support from the Science and Environment Council of Southwest Florida, aim to support organizations already talking about climate change as well as offer a starting place for those who may not have broached the topic due to a lack of resources. “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,” said Jeff Vredenburg.
The films and companion educational materials are available to share and download from www.scienceandenvironment.org/climate.
- Agriculture – Jim Strickland, Dr. Eva Worden, and Sarah Bostick explore changes in the ranching and food industry and demonstrate how we all are directly connected to food, land, and climate.
- Sports – Coach Steve Weeks and Dr. Mona Mangat discuss how hotter temperatures can increase health risks in youth athletes and the steps coaches and parents can take to keep kids safe.
- Coastal Neighborhoods – Rusty Chinnis and Ally Wood share personal sea level rise observations over a lifetime of living in their neighborhoods, and former Sarasota City Manager, Tom Barwin, explains how cities and communities can be at the forefront of solutions to slow the rise.
- Historic Neighborhoods – Former City of Sarasota Commissioner Fredd Atkins, Walter Gilbert, and Mollie Holland talk about the flooding challenges and retrofit options for low lying neighborhoods built before modern day water mitigation design.
About the Climate Council of Sarasota-Manatee
The Climate Council is a facilitated network of experts and practitioners working on climate change issues in the Sarasota Manatee Region. The Council works collaboratively to advance regional understandings of climate change through science and education and to help translate those understandings into planning and projects. It connects organizations working on climate issues to support information sharing and collaboration. By working closely with local, regional, state and federal partners, the Council facilitates collaborative and coordinated cross-boundary responses to opportunities and challenges related to climate change.