Global cultural festival in Istanbul focusing on climate change: Is this our last chance?

Published 29.11.2015 22:14
Updated 29.11.2015 22:17
Global cultural festival in Istanbul focusing on climate change: Is this our last chance?

In parallel with the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, SALT Beyoğlu has launched a film program that will run until Dec. 4 and encourage people to question mankind's impact on nature and global climate change

Museums and other cultural centers and institutions cannot stay silent while global climate change takes a disastrous turn. These institutions, which are considered to be the guardians of cultural heritage for future generations, have no choice but to become a part of the discussions regarding the future of our blue planet. Since museums and cultural institutions can influence people and encourage creative and inspiring ideas, they are in crucial position to save the Earth.

Now through Dec. 11, the United Nations (BM) will host the 2015 Paris Climate Conference with representatives from 190 different countries to discuss new global efforts to stop climate change. The aim of this major meeting is to come to an agreement on the ways to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions before the current commitments expire in 2020. The conference is regarded as the "last chance" to stop our planet from taking a downward turn in global climate change that cannot be reversed.

SALT launched a film program on ecological approaches in parallel with the conference in Paris to exemplify museums and cultural institutions as well as to initiate a change in individual and corporate policies. SALT believes that research and other projects designed to raise awareness about global climate change are not effective in reaching the masses. Within this scope, SALT aims to act as a platform for debate to help generate new knowledge, which in turn can lead to the reshaping of institutional policy and patterns of individual behavior.

As a part of the film program which will continue until Dec.4, SALT Beyoğlu will screen eight documentaries which explore a range of actions and inquiries into environmental issues that are directly related to global climate change.

On the other hand, the L'Internationale museum confederation – of which SALT is a member – continues its collaborations to establish a mutually agreed upon response to the topic of climate change. This initially involves commissioning a series of publications on these issues for the online platform of the confederation and, in time, formulating a climate change charter that will act as a reference for the confederation and its partner institutions. In September 2015, SALT announced that it will not accept any sponsorship from petroleum, coal or gas companies.

Here are the documentary films that will be screened at SALT Beyoğlu Open-air Theatre:

Big Men (2013)

The 2013 production "Big Men" will be screened tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. at SALT Beyoğlu. Written and directed by Rachel Boynton, the documentary film was premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film explores an American oil company and Ghana's first commercial oil field. The two-man crew for the film managed to get insider access to the oil company and witnessed the huge success achieved by the company between 2007 and 2011. Meanwhile, the film crew also shoots footage in the swamps of Nigeria's Niger Delta, following the exploitative efforts of a militant gang to reveal the dark side of the oil economy: people trying to profit in any way possible. The film questions what will happen if the poor people of undeveloped countries discover that they have been living on a "gold mine" the entire time.

Merchants of Doubt (2015)

Robert Kenner's 2015 film "Merchants of Doubt" will be screened tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. Adapted from Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway's namesake novel, the film focuses on public relations tactics that tobacco companies use to avoid potential negative reactions to research exposing the health risks of smoking. Tobacco companies use a sort of magic to divert public attention to other issues while the scientific world emphasizes the health risks caused by smoking. In the second part of the film, the director reveals how manufacturers of flame retardants worked to protect their sales after the toxic effects of these were discovered.

Cowspiracy (2014)

Written and directed by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, "Cowspiracy" will be the last film of SALT's film program to be screened on Dec. 4 at 7:00 p.m. The film investigates the disastrous effects of animal farming on the environment and the stances taken by environmental organizations on the matter. Throughout the documentary, the audience has a chance to take a close look at the policies of many environmental organizations including Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation and the Rainforest Action Network.

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