“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi.
I found this quote on the website of the documentary Tomorrow, and I believe it sums up the intentions of Melanie and Cyril, the makers of this documentary.
Who wanted to secure a good tomorrow for their children, grandchildren and generations to come. But all Melanie, Cyril and their friends seemed to hear was just bad news about the environment - desertification and drought, flooding and rising sea levels, extinction of animal species and destruction of biodiversity. They decided that they had to do something to outweigh all of this news of environmental destruction and make a better tomorrow. So they gathered some of their friends from the film industry and started traveling the world for some good news - to seek out the people that take action into their own hands to try and make a change.
First, they traveled to Todmorden where the citizens have made what they call “Propaganda Gardens” around the city, en route to schools, and in forty public locations. All the vegetables and fruits that are grown in these gardens are free to pick and eat. As a village, Todmorden is nothing out of the extraordinary, but it is starting to attract vegetable tourists and create more awareness about growing vegetables and engaging the local community.
In San Francisco, they looked into recycling and composting waste. They met the passionated Robert Reed, the project manager of Recology, that shows how food waste and other organic material can be turned into compost and sold to farmer. This way, the nutrients do not go to waste by ending up in a landfill, but is returned to the earth and the soil. This was an old fashioned and simple way of managing waste but it is definitely still the way to sustain tomorrow and the future.
When Cyril, Melanie and their friends travel to Copenhagen, they have a look at how locals transport themselves by bike all around the city every day. They find out that around 4 out of 5 Copenhageners have a bike and that they bike daily to as their main way of getting around the city. Biking both makes you work out and not emit CO2. So If you can bike instead of going by car, it's a huge way to benefit the environment and ourselves.
Throughout the documentary, they collected stories from many inspiring people with different takes on how to build a better tomorrow.
To me, one of the most inspiring places Melanie, Cyril and their friends visited was a garden created by a couple, Perrine and Charles, on a piece of land in Normandy, France. This piece of land had earlier been depleted, but Perrine and Charles had worked hard for many years, nurturing the soil and made it into a luscious, permaculture garden with many different kinds of vegetables, fruits and berries. Permaculture is a system of agricultural centered around simulating the patterns of natural ecosystems.
Perrine, who was a lawyer before becoming a farmer, explains at one point in the film that her former work language in law could be pretty complicated to understand. But after becoming a farmer and working with plants it had become simpler - because a tomato is a tomato. But sometimes farming was as complicated as law because there are so many sorts of tomatoes and different ways to take care of them. A trick she mentions is that you should plant basil in between the tomato plant, because the basil plants like the shadow, and the scent of the basil plants make the bugs stay away from the tomato plants. This is also an example of permaculture thinking. Perrine and Charles sell the vegetables and fruit at a local market and straight from the farm.
After watching the documentary I wanted to grab a shovel and start making my own leafy mark on this earth where I can grow my own crops and feel closer to nature. Especially since spring is coming around and everything starts to blossom and the weather gets milder - that is when my longing for the outdoors makes me want to go out and sew some seeds, see them sprout and later on blossom.
We have to take good care of the planet and there is a lot of possibilities on how to do that. Begin with the things that are the easiest for you. You can reach out to your politicians, begin to eat less meat or buy less stuff. We can all help build a better tomorrow one way or the other. We have to be the change we want to see - to quote Mahatma Gandhi one more time.