With the Earth Day celebrations, clubs on campus tried to shed light on the topic of environment with Ian Connacher’s 90 minute feature length, award-winning documentary—“Addicted to Plastic.”
“We decided to put on this event because it is something different and we want people to be educated about the environment, what is harming it and how they can help,” said Karie Nicholson, freshman business administration major and chair of the Talks and Topics Committee of Union Activities Council.“We want to make students realize just how much plastic is used and encourage them to recycle more or use less plastic.”
“Addicted to Plastic” encompasses a specific topic: plastic pollution. Connacher spent more than two years filming and one year editing, and he traveled to 12 countries on five continents. He also took two trips to the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
“I have heard the plastic debris accumulated there, and I wanted to go there and find out the truth,” Connacher said.
After reading an article which reflected the pollution of North Pacific Central Gyer, which is one of five floating garbage patches in the world’s oceans, Connacher was shocked about the plastic flowage.
“The plastic in these water are six times more than plankton there,” Connacher said.
Disposability goes along with the idea of everything being very clean and neat and ordered.
“We are all so familiar with plastic ‘cause it is so relatable to our daily lives. But seldom in time we would look back to see and think about the consequences,” Connacher said.
This gave Connacher an inspiration to do something different. In 2005, he shot a short film named “Alphabet Soup,” which reflected what kind of role plastic plays in the whole food chain.
“I recorded the procedures of how it had gotten out of the ocean and made influence on food. It turned out to be not a happy ending,” Connacher said.
Connacher shared an attitude that as human beings, we do not own the power to clean up the whole ocean, but you can do something within your bounds of experiences and help to find the solutions.
“All the difficulties, getting no paid, living out of bags, coming across bad conditions, are not that hard to overcome,” Connacher said. “That is worthy of devoting two years on the story because truth should be told.”
Students were struck by Connacher’s message.
“I cannot imagine my life without plastic,” said Ray Deng, sophomore biology major. “The film makes me witness the accumulated amount of garbage in the ocean. After this glimpse I am shocked by the persistence of our daily-used synthetic materials.”
This habit-kicking documentary also tells the details about the historical path of plastic over the last 100 years and also records interviews with professional experts discussing the solutions to recycle-using and consistent biodegradability.
Connacher’s Environmental film provided viewers a message: there is always something you can do to combat plastic pollution.
“The film shows me two solutions to reduce plastic waste – recycle and find an alternative way,” Deng said.
Lacee Hanson, junior communication major, said that “there are ways that people can reduce their use of plastic and try to use alternatives or use materials that they know can be recycled. The documentary showed tonight offered alternatives for each of us to consider about that. ”
At the end of the documentary, the search for answers continued.
“I am not an anti-plastic,” Connacher said. “It is a great material and does contribute to the modern era, all up to the aspect we think about it and the way we use it.”
Connacher said he would work on to get his documentary into more schools and campuses.
“I am just a filmmaker and what I want to do mostly is tell truthful stories and hopefully it can make people inspired and motivated by every existing piece of plastic ever made,” Connacher said. “That is what we care (about).”