"Resilience means more than just preparing for climate change," says Toronto-based filmmaker Gregory Greene. "It means looking ahead to other shocks, such as peak oil, and using them as opportunities to create something better."
I ran into Greene, who is working on a follow-up to his previous films The End of Suburbia and Escape from Suburbia, at the Ecocity World Summit last week in Istanbul. Here's what he told me about his new film...Urban Solutions
"The End of Suburbia exposed urban truths in a new way. That's what we want to do again with this new film. But rather than focus on the problems, we want to explore solutions. There are way too many films out there dwelling on the problems, including ours."
Greene's new film, to be called Resilient City, will be about urban solutions - especially the innovative approaches being tried out in three particular cities: Detroit, Mumbai and Tianjin in China.
"Master planning is happening, good master planning, across China," Greene says. "Simultaneously, grassroots initiatives, such as the transition towns movement, are looking to effect change from the bottom up. We're looking to connect the top-down with the bottom-up in this project."
Focusing on Cities
According to Greene, the future of mankind is to be found in cities, not in a return to the countryside. "In the developing world, the issue is going to be urban migration. Two billion people are projected to move into cities over the next 25 years." This massive migration to cities around the world, he says, means that humanity's response to climate change and other environmental shocks will effectively be decided in cities.
Despite this, says Greene, "the media and the UN are focused on the nation-state level. They recognize the importance of cities, but may not realize that that's where we can get the most traction. International treaties are important, but implementation of these things is obviously going to have to be at the municipal level."
"Understanding the principles of good urbanism, working together toward urban sustainability - this seems to be missing in the big discussions on climate change and the environment, including in Copenhagen."
Tying in New Media
The film's website is planned to become an open source collaborative site, featuring an interactive video-sharing element focusing on urban sustainability issues. "Our idea is to tie media to education," says Greene.
Greene and his team began shooting for the new film several weeks ago, and are on the lookout for additional sources of funding. The film will be part of a larger online project called ResilientPlanet.com.