Oscar the Green

27 02 2007

By Jill Ettinger

Life is like a movie. The longer I live, the more I feel this to be true. Perhaps it’s because I watch more and more movies as time goes on, or perhaps my own story just continues to unfold with suspenseful, dramatic and comedic plots. Whichever way it happened – life imitating art or art imitating life – we are all inseparable from our personal movies. The nascent overlap reshapes the diaspora of our human culture, snapping us into a diverse collective of progressive artists and dreamers. Art itself is a fractal formation of inspired exploration, the very expression of our layers and limits as we continue to reach and move past them. As we go deeper into our possibilities, we touch others, and where we meet, projects and collaborations are born that indeed change the world. Though the polished entertainment industry imparts a craft of glamour and glitz, all of our output, in one way or another, is art. Everything we’ve conceived and designed in order to move civilization forward sparks from a creative seed. From the new kitchen sink all the way to banks that finance it.

One of the greatest modern examples of incorporating art (natural and man-made) with utility is architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water. Wright’s use of the organic landscape, not only as structure but also design, was revolutionary. A strong nod to working with our environment (rather than against it), boulders serve as walls, trees as centerpieces and the view opens to the remarkable world we have inherited. Falling Water is an astonishing achievement to behold. It’s majesty and simplicity makes it all too apparent to visitors just over 75 years since its construction that everything, like John Muir suggested, is connected to everything else.

A big night on Sunday for Hollywood’s finest as the 79th Academy Awards took place. One of the greatest directors of all time, Martin Scorsese, won his first Oscar (if it weren’t for the inspiration of his outstanding 1997 flick Kundun, I’d probably not be writing this), proving that time tested theory that slow and steady wins the race. Like Scorsese’s prolific career, the Academy recognized another deserving artist: you. For the first time, this year the Oscars went green. What that means for this and the many generations ahead is that we need to collaborate on more than just output. What we take in is just as critical. The air we breathe, foods we eat and water we drink are inhospitable in some regions. Jerry Seinfeld poked fun at the movie theater food we know is not good for us to eat just moments after the announcement about the “greening” of the gala. Hopefully some CEO in the theater business will make the connection. Maybe soon enough we’ll go to see a film in a theater that serves organic, healthy food, using recycled papers while cooling the building with solar power.

Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth, took the award for best documentary, and as Melissa Etheridge accepted an Oscar for her song contribution to the film stated, “We can be the generation that woke up and did something.” Considering that most of the millions of viewers have probably no idea what “going green” or the environmental crisis meant before the show aired, I’d say it looks like we are well on are way. Do we really have a choice?

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