Nine-year-old Evanston resident William Skin said he considers himself an avid filmmaker. Encouraged by his father, who is a science teacher, Skin recently made a 10-second film on his iPad to explore projections of what human lives might look like in the wake of major climate change events.
“My video was trying to say we can’t live on another planet, and the alternative is to live on this dry, terrible planet,” Skin said. “That’s not what we want, so we have to protect [the earth].”
His film was screened along with more than 50 other clips — all filmed and edited by District 65 students — Friday at One Rotary Center, the world headquarters of Rotary International. The event, the 10 Second Film Festival, highlights children’s perspectives on climate change and action for climate justice.
Friday’s event was Evanston’s third attempt to hold the festival after it has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was co-hosted by District 65 Climate Action Teams and Citizens’ Greener Evanston.
Marie Cabiya, a District 65 parent and climate action team organizer, said the film festival was meant to provide children with a way to channel their feelings about climate change.
“Climate action is the antidote to climate anxiety,” Cabiya said. “This festival is a party. It gives children an easy way to get over their grief and a channel to express their anxiety or anger. It helps them find their little ways to add value to their lives.
Although Cabiya has noticed that many adults she knows feel powerless to prevent the climate crisis on an individual basis, she said the event aims to highlight how children can bring new ideas, emotions and hope to the world. table.
The District 65 Climate Action Team helped the district officially hire its first sustainability coordinator in 2022 and is currently working to persuade schools to implement a climate justice program.
Its mission is closely linked to Evanston’s climate action and resilience plan, a broad policy plan that aims to promote sustainable infrastructure and bring city operations to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The event also featured a drumming circle following the screening of the film, led by John Carroll, music teacher at Evanston Township High School. and Arthur Fuerte. Participants were given recycled instruments such as buckets and Tupperware and instructed to bang or scratch them to create musical patterns while chanting “climate action right now.”
The festival also held a raffle to reward young filmmakers for their work. Prizes included family passes to the Museum of Science and Industry, professional photo ops and the opportunity to shadow the mayor and the sustainability team for a day. Skin won a month-long training session at the School of Rock.
At the event, Mayor Daniel Biss delivered a speech. Biss submitted a film he created, and he expressed his gratitude to the community for coming together and communicating through films to spread the word about climate action.
“We need our lives to be a series of 10-second videos about this issue, what we can do, and why it matters,” Bliss said.
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