It was a Peak Moment Conversation destined to be, and the angels must’ve worked overtime to bring it together.
It started last week when I “just happened” to see an email message for the filmmakers group on the Transitionus.ning website — a list I check maybe once a month if that. There was one message from someone videotaping a documentary who needed a place for two guys to stay overnight in San Francisco. I forwarded his request to friends there, and then transmitted to positive response to the filmmaker, Dave Gardner.
Dave replied with thanks, and to my surprise added:
“I’ve actually tried to email you a few times about this trip – was thinking you might be interested in interviewing me about this film project while I’m out there. Regardless of whether you’re interested or not, and whether you could even put the shoot together in our time-frame, I’d love to meet and visit if you have time.”
I checked out his website, growthbusters.org which had information about Dave’s documentary work-in-progress titled Hooked on Growth: Our Misguided Quest for Prosperity. Dave had a superb in-depth review of Bill McKibben’s new book Eaarth (yes, that’s spelled right) and a video interview with McKibben. We were on the same page. I said yes, I’d like to tape a conversation.
Turns out Dave was coming from Portland and would be taping a quick few shots at Oroville dam — which is basically in our bigger backyard. Couldn’t be more perfect: no long drive and a new place to discover.
So on Wednesday Cinco de Mayo, Robyn and I arrived at the dam and met up with Dave and his colleague Jason, and quickly found a good location overlooking the reservoir. As Robyn and I started setup, I was horrified to realize I’d forgotten the second tripod for this two-camera shoot. But hey, this guest is a videographer (our first) and had a tripod we could use. Angel assistance number two.
Just as we neared the final stages of setup, a park ranger drove up. Officer Carlson stepped out, calm and polite, and asked what we were doing. Dave and I quickly explained about my interview of him, the documentary filmmaker. Officer Carlson nodded and then asked to see our Film Permit.
Film permit!? My jaw dropped. Never heard of it. Never needed one. Officer Carlson explained that any filming on public property required a permit.
Robyn paused from setup work, thinking it might be curtains. Dave and I answered Officer Carlson’s questions. No, this taping wasn’t for commercial purposes, we said. We don’t make money from Peak Moment shows, we don’t have advertising.
By now you can be sure my mind was racing to figure where we could tape and still try to fit into Dave’s very, very tight schedule that day.
“Are you media?” Officer Carlson asked, and explained that journalists (media) can tape without permits. Yes, our work is journalism. But then, “if you’re media, he asked, “Do you have a press pass?”
No, I didn’t have a press pass, but I whipped out my Peak Moment business card, while Dave explained that Peak Moment distribution was through the internet, not the normal media outlets, but was certainly journalism.
There must have been several angel wings flapping really hard about then, because somehow, Officer Carlson seemed satisfied that our online video series qualified as media, and he let us proceed.
Taking a collective deep breath, we rapidly finished setup and began taping. I could see why we got some help from the Universe for this conversation. Dave is articulate, passionate, well-informed about the predicament we’re in, and the need to take action.
Dave’s a storyteller. He talked about the “looney” way we’re living as the limits to growth are staring us in the face. Economic growth. Urban growth. Over-consumption. Dave also fearlessly named population overshoot as a symptom of the limits, but admits to no easy answers.
Dave had just come from a De-Growth Conference in Vancouver, B.C., where it was noted that humanity is now using 130% of the planet’s resources. We’re borrowing from future generations. He wants a world worth living in for his kids and grandkids. And he isn’t expecting the entrenched political and corporate institutions to take effective action anytime soon: his trust is in local communities and local action.
Look forward to a fast-paced and engaging conversation that’ll give you a flavor for an upcoming non-profit documentary film that’s being “crowd-funded, crowd-produced and crowd-distributed” by a worldwide network of growthbusters supporters (more wanted, of course. Join him).
Watch Hooked on Growth – Meet the Filmmaker (episode 177).