Tuesday, November 10, 2009

MILKING THE RHINO’s southern road show continues….
On Sunday, the Peace Center in Greenville, SC was the scene of a well-attended screening followed by a panel discussion. I was joined by Kristen Austin, Southern Blue Ridge Project Director at the Nature Conservancy; and also by Dr. Rob Baldwin, who teaches in the dept of Forestry and Natural Resources at Clemson. It’s great to share the stage with conservation folk, to whom I can deflect questions more in their purview. Kristen made the point in the discussion that we in the developed world tend to think of conservation as a peripheral luxury that we attend to once our basic needs are met. Whereas the film points to how natural resource conservation is inextricably bound to the life/death economics of a society. That may be more viscerally evident in rural Africa, but it will only become truer for us as climate and population pressures exacerbate environmental issues.
Monday brought me to Columbia, SC, an unofficial stop on the tour, at the invitation of David Whiteman, principal faculty of the Green Learning Center at the University of South Carolina. He’d shown the first 15 minutes of the film to his undergraduate class in Sustainable Futures, and had them write about it. It was fascinating to read their blogs, which summarized community conservation in a simple, straightforward way– and then to see how their understanding deepened after seeing the remainder of the film during my visit.
In other MILKING THE RHINO-related communications….
I got an email this morning from John Kasaona (our main character in Namibia). He extends his appreciation for the way in which MTR is making his world visible to the rest of the world, and adds, “This is not a movie, this is real; this is what is happening on the ground.
And… MTR originator and co-producer Jeannie Magill has brought to my attention a really exciting initiative at Penn State, inspired by the film: the inaugural MILKING THE RHINO Innovative Solutions Showcase: http://mtrsolutions.weebly.com/
We’re humbled and honored by this event. It’s so rewarding to see RHINO bearing fruit, or I should say planting seeds of new fruit, at universities.
Tomorrow I steer the car towards Auburn, AL; and I am told my arrival should coincide with that of tropical storm Ida. Shoulda packed that raincoat…
Til later….