On Friday, February 22, the Center for Community Growth launched the beginning of the 2013 Film Series: A New Economy with The Economics of Happiness (2011) at the newly refurbished Indiana Theater. The film, written and directed by Helena Norberg-Hodge, calls for the creation of localized economies as a solution to problems caused by globalization and transnational corporations, suggesting that we create a system in which goods and services are produced to fulfill real human needs, rather than to generate more consumption and growth.
Over 100 people attended the event. During intermission a short panel was held on how to bring ideas of localization and sustainability to Indiana County and Southwestern PA. Panelists included Molly Rush of The Thomas Merton Center, Craig Stevens of The Three-Rivers Community Foundation, Ian Haffling of the IUP Environmentally Conscious Organization (E.C.O.), Jane Baumer, and Professor Susan Comfort of the IUP English Department, all spoke at the event. Audience members responded enthusiastically to Dr. Comfort’s words when she addressed the theater at large:
“I want us to recognize the wealth that we have in the people of Indiana county, and that there is real wealth here in this room.”
Even more ideas emerged during the group discussion following the film. The audience’s drive and creativity seemed to know no bounds as participants mentioned everything from the development of local currency, establishing a co-operative food market, and starting community supported agriculture (CSA), to building more community gardens and time-sharing plans.
The inspiration drawn from the discussion at the Center’s first screening demonstrated the strength and passion possessed by the people of Indiana, showing that our community is ready and willing to generate a local, sustainable economy through cooperation, commitment, continued education, and action.
The Center for Community Growth film series will continue for the next five months until late July. In March we will show the fracking documentary Triple Divide (2012) by Melissa Troutman and Joshua B. Pribanic, which focuses on the shortfalls of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection and the controversy surrounding natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale. Read more about this and all other upcoming films on our film series schedule.
We would like to thank our sponsors at the IUP English Department, the IUP Women’s Studies Department, the IUP Graduate Literature Program, and our co-sponsor, the Thomas Merton Center, for giving us your generous support and making this event possible.
We would also like to thank the organizations who took time out of their schedules to table before our event, including the Coalition for a Healthy County, IUP E.C.O., Indiana Community Gardens, and the Federation of Democratic Women.
Lastly we want to express gratitude to all those who helped to plan the film series, and everyone who attended our very first screening for making our vision of the 2013 Film Series a reality.
(Written by Colleen Donovan. Edited by Lindsey Quakenbush. Photos taken by Lindsey Quakenbush.)
Baker, C. (June, 2012). The economics of happiness: A film review by Carolyn Baker. In reviews at: The Economics of Happiness.org. http://www.theeconomicsofhappiness.org/reviews/nar-reviews