The Power of One: A Lesson in Leadership and Ironically, Knowing When to Let Go of Power

This title best describes the conversation at the second night of the Green Screen Environmental Film Festival. A well-filled Centenary Hall at St. Mary’s College was host to many stalwarts of environmental conscientiousness, who came to hear the enlightening words of the feature cast. This was the first in a series of panel discussions taking place during Green Screen The Environmental Film festival. At the head, Bobbi Hunter, former treasurer and founding member of Greenpeace, led an honest call to the ever-salient cause of conservation.

Along with her, a decorated group of local veterans, each residing somewhere along the spectrum of revolutionary. From self-professed, recovering polluter and Project Officer of the ASA Wright Nature Centre, Peter O’Connor, to humble Rastafarian woman in the bush (as she calls it) and director of the Fondes Amandes Community Reforestation Project, Akilah Jaramogi, this ensemble could only be completed by gracious Hummingbird Medal Gold awardee and Matron of the Wild Fowl Trust Molly Gaskin, whose track record of environmental activism is only overshadowed by her charisma on a stage.

A myriad of issues were discussed, from the need to adopt conservation as a lifestyle, to the notable prevalence of strong female leadership throughout the Green Revolution. The panel did not hesitate to address the issues. Also shared were nostalgic anecdotes of valiant escapades in earth-saving, including stories about lobbying against the transportation of toxic nuclear waste through Caribbean waters, which would’ve been Greenpeace’s first instance of interaction with Trinidadian environmentalists, and Molly’s repetitive hints at an incident in which she and an associate were put in danger after being led deep into the forest under false pretense. Underlying all experiences shared, each panelist made one thing clear that evening; saving the world isn’t about your ego, it’s about a mutual desire to effect change.

The otherwise unassuming Ms. Hunter was quick to point out, from her own exploits at Greenpeace, that when things became less about the missions to conserve and more about the laurels of their moral pursuit, they had to rein in each other, to prevent destructive prideful behaviour, and maintain a focus on the results of their cause. She lamented that the effort is only worth it, and only yields a good result when those who give to the cause give not of their own self-serving interests, but rather to see that their cause is no longer a struggle. The mythos of altruism is at the very heart of activism, and must be preserved to see its end.

The evening was certainly well received by the audience, with a number of them wanting to contribute to the discussion, boding well for SustainTT’s efforts. Green Screen The Environmental Film Festival was designed to exploit the influential and pervasive medium of cinema, to effect long-term behaviour change.  It also provides a means for local filmmakers who wish to be a part of the discourse to market their properties. Complimentary discussions such as these offer welcomed insight and always serve to expound the values within the films that come before them, further enabling the change. FilmTT is proud to be a leading sponsor of this worthy initiative.

Photo:- From l-r: Panel Discussion Moderator with Peter O’Connor (Project Officer, Asa Wright Nature Centre), Bobbi Hunter (Co-founder of Greenpeace), Molly Gaskin (President & Founding Member of Pointe-a-Pierre Wild Fowl Trust), Akilah Jaramogi (Managing Director, Fondes Amandes Community Reforestation Project)