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Miami & the Beaches Environmental Film Festival Kicks Off April 15

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Miami, even more so than many other global locales, is about to feel the effects of environmental negligence. With climate change and sea level rise, the Magic City will be lucky to stick it out 'til 2020—especially given the mind-boggling denial of our state's leadership. 

Thankfully, the Miami and the Beaches Environmental Film Festival is here to open people's eyes. Run by ECOMB, the Environmental Coalition of Miami & the Beaches, the fest is now in its fourth installment, and will run from April 15 - 19 at various locales around town. 

There's an extensive lineup of events, but some highlights include a free screening of Happy Feet at the New World Symphony Wallcast, a kickoff party at Oolite Restaurant and lots of other screenings and gatherings. Films to see include Earth a New Wild: Oceans, The Great Frack Forward, Seeds of Permaculture and Bye Bye Car, among others.

"We have some really cool elements. The Prime Minister of Aruba is doing the opening night as a keynote speaker. It's a cool thing, he has made a personal commit to making Aruba the greenest nation in the world, to make it fossil fuel free by 2020, so it's really exciting," says festival co-founder Luis Rodrigues.
One of the most groundbreaking aspects of the festival is the youth forum on climate change, Rodrigues says. New this year, the idea is to get the next generation involved.

"You always find workshops and panels taking place throughout the county on climate change, and most of the time those workshops and meetings are attended by adults — engineers, scientists — they seldom see the youth involved. I felt they were not being included, and after all, it's their future that's in our hands."

The UN is involved, and a group of German students visiting the UN will even be Skyped in to chat with the students in Miami. The idea is to have an interactive forum where the youth can come up with their own ideas for change. "I didn't just want to have a debate, I wanted to have something more concrete."

At the end, the goal is to have the students prepare a document highlighting their ideas and suggestions.
In addition to the forum, the schedule includes a whole host of movies and documentaries, screened at locations including the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, Miami Beach Cinematheque, the Colony Theater and more.

"We have some great documentaries. All of them are very unique, and the overall arching theme is on climate change," says Rodrigues. "Due to the urgency of the matter we are focusing some of our efforts on this topic."

"I like them all," Rodrigues adds of his take on the different films. "I definitely like Pump, the opening night documentary which really talks about our addiction to oil and then the alternatives — what the options are."

The festival runs from Wednesday, April 14 through Sunday, April 19 at various locations throughout Miami. There's also a kickoff party this Wednesday, April 8 at Oolite. Tickets range in price for the different events. Visit mbenvironmentalfilmfestival.org.

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