In our news-saturated world, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the thousands of tragedies and imminent threats we are bombarded with daily. And while it may seem easier to spend hours watching toddler beauty queens, the good people at Montana Environmental Information Center (MEIC) beg you to spend some time engaged in the real world. Through work with Montana legislation, educational campaigns and grassroots organizing, MEIC works toward a sustainable future for our environment. This year MEIC is sponsoring Last Call at the Oasis, a film that looks into the global water crisis. Jim Jensen, the executive director of MEIC, talks about the film, water, MEIC and all the reasons we should care.
BSDFF: MEIC does a lot of meaningful and essential work in Montana. How do you see your sponsorship of the film festival working into your organizations goals?
Jim Jensen: Since the 1970’s MEIC has been working to preserve Montana’s water resources – both surface and ground water - from unnecessary depletion. We believe in the power of film to educate and motivate people to act to protect their natural environment. We are aggressively pursuing a future for Montana, the nation and the world that is carbon neutral. It is essential that we transition from a coal dependent system to renewable energy systems. The coal strip in southeastern Montana is the sixth largest producer of carbon dioxide in the United States. We are working in collaboration with organizations in Montana and Washington State to get the oldest of these coal strips cleaned-up or closed.
BSDFF: So it sounds like MEIC does a lot of work around energy issues; why did you choose to sponsor Last Call at the Oasis?
JJ: Energy and water are directly connected. Generating energy from fossil fuels requires massive amounts of water. We cannot continue to use water for this purpose – pulling water out of rivers as we did in the past. These practices change the way that water is distributed on the earth. We can see it in Montana, when we have less snowfall, it changes the river’s flow, which in turn has an impact on agriculture. We cannot divorce these issues.
BSDFF: What do you hope that the audience gets from this film?
JJ: I hope that they learn more about the threats to water, that they become educated and motivated to act. I also hope that they join MEIC, so that, along with 3,000 other Montanans, they can help promote sound policies in Montana. There is also an inherent value in knowledge and learning more about nature.
BSDFF: If you could leave audiences with one thought about the environment, what would it be?
JJ: Montana is a headwaters state for the United States. The Missouri and Columbia rivers both arise here. So we have more of a responsibility than other states to protect these rivers.
Last Call at The Oasis plays Wednesday, February 22 at 7:00 pm in Wilma 1.
Article by BSDFF Promo Team writer Laurel Nakanishi