Film Festival Aims To Boost Environmental Activism

Mar 6, 2018

Two local groups dedicated to cleaning up Pittsburgh are hosting a film festival that explores environmental issues around the country.

The nationally touring Wild & Scenic Film Festival comes to Chatham University on Thursday, with 11 short films about topics ranging from climate change to bat conservation.

This is the fourth year in Pittsburgh for the festival, which was founded in 2003 in California. The festival, which seeks to inspire environmental activism, is visiting 150 cities this year.

“This festival’s important whether you know a lot about the environmental movement or whether you just want to learn more,” said Mary Kate Ranii, program and outreach coordinator for the Pennsylvania Resources Council and Allegheny CleanWays, the two groups sponsoring the screening here. “It’s a great way to learn about issues that are important to Pittsburgh, and that are important in other parts of the country so you can get educated, and then you can afterwards get activated and make a difference here in Pittsburgh."

Issues spotlighted this year include river health in the Olympic Peninsula (in Washington state), environmental activism in Alaska and more.

“A lot of these issues are important nationwide,” said Ranii. “Light pollution is a big issue here. Water quality is huge in Pittsburgh, and one of [the films] focuses on bat conservation, which is a huge issue here in Southwestern Pennsylvania. And then there’s one about community activism in our neighboring state, West Virginia.”

The PRC, Pennsylvania’s oldest grass-roots environmental group, works to preserve the state’s resources by promoting recycling, composting and reuse. Allegheny CleanWays fights litter and pollution with initiatives like the Tireless Project, in which pontoon boats are used to fish tires and other trash from local waterways.

Proceeds from the Wild & Scenic festival benefit PRC and Allegheny CleanWays.

The screening begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 8, in the Eddy Theater on Chatham’s Shadyside campus. Tickets are $20 in advance and are available here. Organizers encourage buying tickets early because the event sold out last year.