Fixing the Future: Post Film Review

CONCORD – On Wednesday, July 18th, a host of local non-profits, including Global Awareness Local Action (G.A.L.A.) of Ossipee, as well as Green Concord and The Red River Theatre, both of Concord, held the premiere for Fixing the Future, a PBS documentary detailing the potential of localized economies’ ability to lead us into a bright future. The film was shown at The Red River Theatre in downtown Concord.  This was the film’s national premiere, with Concord being one of dozens of cities across the nation to show the film on the same night. Following the viewing, a panel of New Hampshire sustainable non-profit leaders led a public discussion about the film’s content.

The film’s host and editor, David Brancaccio, is the host of National Public Radio’s Market Place and NOW. Brancaccio traveled the United States in search of “economic innovation on Main Street”. Brancaccio explained how this innovation will lead us into the economy of the future. The business initiatives highlighted in the film include worker owned co-ops in Cleveland and Austin; a time bank in Portland, ME; community gardens near Philadelphia; citizen owned banks in North Dakota; local currency in Baltimore, and benefit corporations.

At the conclusion of the documentary, Brancaccio hosts a filmed discussion between leading environmental activists and entrepreneurs Bill McKibben of 350.org, Majora Carter, an Urban Revitalization Strategist, and the C.E.O. of the benefit corporation Greyston Bakery, Mike Brady. They discussed the realities of today’s economies, as well as optimistic views of how to move forward. The most evident resource for a better tomorrow, according the film, as well as this panel, is that everyone has some skill they can offer their community.

After the film, an in-person panel facilitated a conversation with the audience around the ideas presented in the film. The panel consisted of Josh Arnold, the director of Global Awareness Local Action, Jonathan Gregory of Green Concord, and Julia Dundorf, representing the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund. They introduced what their respective non-profits and businesses were doing for local New Hampshire communities, and fielded questions and comments from the audience.

In the end, the take away message from the documentary, post-film discussion and public input, was that we all have something unique to offer to our communities and that we can be productive producers, not just consumers. Each person has a skill that can be useful, vital, and shared with his or her greater community. Building and sharing personal capacity leads to localized economic recovery, prosperity, and resiliency. Brancaccio asks what you can do that is in your community’s economy long-term, best interest.

The film can be viewed free online at http://www.pbs.org/now/fixing-the-future/ and more information can be found at http://fixingthefuture.org/.