Environmental health is our health too

IMG_1123.JPGA few weeks ago I may have spoken too soon, because NOW we are finally getting to see some beautiful Milwaukee spring  weather. It is incredible just how much my mood lifts when I wake up in the morning to warm air and sunshine in my windows. All I want to do is go outside and lie down in the grass.

Here in Milwaukee, we can be thankful to have at least some grass space, especially on Marquette’s campus. For such an urban area we are lucky to have so many parks and a preserved shoreline of Lake Michigan. Other urban areas are not so fortunate, though. We humans have managed to plow our way through nature in order to build our society. And don’t worry, I will not go all tree-hugger here on you, but we need to take the time to be grateful and conscious of the wildlife around us.

For this reason, Marquette’s Diederich College of Communication professional in residence Joe Brown has brought the Great Lakes Film Festival (GLEFF) back to Marquette for a second year. Brown once worked on a film festival during his time in Colorado and decided to throw a similar event in Milwaukee. The festival’s purpose is to bring people closer with the nature around them.

“The idea is really to inspire people to act. I think one of the big things is that film does have the ability to take you places, like rainforests, lakes and oceans. We can actually go there and see that with film,” he said.

This year the festival will take place this weekend, starting on Thursday and running through Sunday. The films presented range from locally to internationally based topics, such as Great Lakes footage, to fracking films, to climbing stories. “We also like to think globally and act locally,” Brown explained.

He mentioned that an environmental film festival may show many films that will be issue-based, but there will be some pieces that just celebrate nature. He and a group of volunteer students sorted and watched all of the GLEFF film submissions and also curated a few films from other film festivals over the past few months.

So… why do we care? Well, the earth we have is the only one we’ve got. And the environment plays a huge role in our wellness. Plus, GLEFF is free, runs all weekend and is located right here on campus. Taking the time to learn more about the world around us could help us keep our planet as healthy as possible, and in turn, keep us as healthy as possible as well.

Brown put it like this: “I hope that people see some of these films and are inspired to think about the natural world in a different way and are inspired to take action, whether it is going out on a river cleanup or getting involved in their nature center and teaching children about nature and learning more about nature themselves. I hope that people reconnect and appreciate nature, especially in this super mediated age.”

A full schedule for the festival can be found here on the GLEFF website. All students, staff, friends and family are welcome.

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