We started and ended last week with youth screenings. On Monday, we drove to San Rafael, where the Mill Valley Film Festival's Environmental Youth Forum was screening Worse Than Poop!
Vanessa and Elliot onstage with "Racing with Copepods" Producer Barbara McVeigh
On Friday, we attended a screening as part of Los Altos High School's annual "History Week" - which had an environmental theme this year.
Vanessa and Elliot answer questions at a Los Altos High School screening of Worse Than Poop!
As you might imagine, the elementary and middle school audience on Monday was a bit more engaged than the high school students - most of whom agreed that the film was most appropriate for a k-8 audience. Still, when I asked the high school students if they thought it might be appropriate for 9th and 10th graders, a few shyly raised their hands. And the parent volunteer who introduced us (a middle-aged surgeon) spared no effort in finding scatological references for his introduction ("I think you'll find it's a moving experience", etc.).... Proof, yet again, that you're never too old for poop jokes.
Elliot receives an award from the Green Kids Conference for his role in Worse Than Poop!
The Green Kids Conference was really impressive - a massive undertaking, with two floors of information booths and activities on all things green and kid-friendly. Most impressive is the fact that the event is the brainchild of Pavan Raj Gowda, who founded Green Kids four years ago at the ripe old age of 12!
Mountains of poop for the Silicon Valley Electric Auto Association!
We also received a warm welcome back from the Silicon Valley chapter of the Electric Auto Association. They hosted us during our Kickstarter campaign, which many of their members supported. It was satisfying to be back to share with them the completed film!
Hard to believe - but somehow, until today, we had never made it to Maker Faire: the incredible two-day festival of delirious DIY-engineering-crafting-creativity that happens every year a short 30 minute drive from our home in Palo Alto.
You know you're going to see cool stuff when the car across from you in the parking lot is an electric Fisker. (Note the solar-paneled roof.)
This year, our friend Christopher invited us to help at his booth: LEDlabs makes an iOS app that drives LED displays - using anything from live video, to shadow puppetry, to photos of the world's youngest climate scientist:
Elliot up in LED lights at the Bay Area Maker Faire 2014
We had been warned in advance that Maker Faire was huge, and crowded, and overwhelming. It was all true. We decided early on to treat it like New York City: to accept that we'd never be able to see it all, and that whatever we saw would probably be pretty cool. Overall, the approach seemed to work.
Grace from Bare Conductive helped Elliot do some mixology on a paper DIY turntable
My personal favorite: scooter-powered spirograph!
I got really inspired at a talk by designer/builder/educator Emily Pilloton, of Project H. She shared several projects in which she had worked with teenagers to design and build meaningful, useful structures for their communities - building not only community resources but also resilience and self-esteem. SO COOL!
Emily Pilloton from Project H, sharing incredible stories of what she calls "love and audacity".
Elliot meets a random wandering robot at Maker Faire 2014.
Jon Sarriugarte of Form & Reform let Elliot ride his electric trilobite (and wear his cool leather helmet)
Maker Faire can be overwhelming - the noise, the crowds, the lights, the constant stimulation. But towards the end of the afternoon, I found the perfect antidote at the SJSU interactive media booth: a biofeedback station that tracks your brainwaves, and allows you to control images of rocks on a screen by making your mind clear and focused. Who knew it would be possible to meditate right next to a Tesla coil powered by the sound of grinding guitars? And that it would feel so great?
Meditation Biofeedback, courtesy of SJSU.
Worse Than Poop!
Why is carbon dioxide worse than poop? Find out with the help of an 8-year-old science expert, the Green Ninja, and a fleet of pooping cars!
Today, humans are creating more than 38 billion tons of carbon pollution every year - in fact, over 2 million pounds of it gets spewed into the air every second. This massive amount of pollution is now threatening the climate that all life depends on, and in the US, almost a third of that pollution comes from transportation. But the problem with CO2 is that you can’t see it, you can’t smell it, you can’t taste it - and that makes it hard for people to take it seriously. But what if you could see it? What if the 19 pounds of crap coming out of your car’s tailpipe was... crap?
Elliot Ingle, a bespectacled 8-year old wearing a necktie and lab coat, takes us on a short journey to imagine just such a reality. Using a combination of live action video and animation, “Worse than Poop” will illustrate basic scientific facts (why DOES a gallon of gas produce 19 pounds of CO2? How is that possible - and where does it go?). It will also work to undermine some outmoded cultural norms (what’s a better status symbol - a poo-spattered Lexus or a spiffy clean Tesla - or a fun shiny bike with a cool sidecar?). Featuring mom’s minivan (one pound of poo per mile!), the lumbering Suburban (19 pounds of poop in only 10 miles!), the Tesla S (faster than a speeding Captain Underpants!), the Nissan Leaf, the Mitsubishi i, and a flotilla of electric and people-powered bicycles and scooters, “Worse than Poop” will engage children ages 5-12 in the most important issue of our time: rejection of the fossil fuel lifestyle.
It’s bound to make a difference. I mean, what kid doesn’t love talking about poop?
Climate change facts, what is climate change, climate change definition.