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Scarecrow on Seattle: EDENS: LOST & FOUHND: SEATTLE- THE FUTURE IS NOW

For the past few years, Scarecrow Video has been contributing reviews of movies made in the Pacific Northwest to the Seattle Office of Film + Music's e-newsletter. We're now proud to be able to share these reviews on our site as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Edens: Lost & Found: Seattle-The Future is Now (2007)

I wasn't sure what to expect from this PBS-produced documentary. Was it a celebration of our region's natural beauty? A spotlight on Seattle's green spaces? A propaganda piece touting us as a model of eco-conscious living? It turned out to be a bit of all three. It's narrated and hosted by former governor Gary Locke, who we meet standing at Kerry Park with a sunny Seattle skyline in the background. "People here aren't just waiting for the future, we're living it!" he says, but our innovation and growth are a big threat to the environment. He starts with a major bellwether of that threat: salmon. We're introduced to Billy Frank Jr., member of the Nisqually tribe, longtime activist for Native fishing rights, and chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, who strolls along the Sound as he talks about stewardship and preservation. Our then-Mayor Greg Nickels about the city's neighborhood programs to clean up runoff water before it reaches Puget Sound.

Edens next segment focuses on sustainable building practices with a tour of an environmentally-friendly home, complete with a two-flush toilet. (Side note: If nature calls while you're dining at our neighbor's Chaco Canyon Café, you'll see one up close and personal). Eco-friendly buildings come up later in the program with a spotlight on the High Point neighborhood redevelopment, combining green housing and a watershed protection project around Longfellow Creek. There's a nice moment when a resident walks through the skeleton structure of her future home, a "breathe-easy" dwelling that will greatly help her asthmatic son.

We then shift from houses to headaches: namely, what to do with the Viaduct. At Pier 57 we meet Cary Moon and Grant Cogswell (wearing what I think is a Victrola Coffee shirt) from the anti-tunnel People's Waterfront Coalition, who advocate a surface/transit option. Joining them alongside the old Streetcar tracks is urban designer Julie Parrett, who is forced to shout over the traffic noise as she describes her idyllic vision of a post-Viaduct waterfront.

We move on to another unrealized progressive transit solution: the Seattle Monorail Project. Taxi driver-turned-"nut-job" activist Dick Fauklenbury drives down 15th past Ballard High School while he talks about his initial inspiration for an extended monorail and the early days of the project. "Poet-activist" Cogswell reappears as co-author of the original monorail initiative. Lovely aerial shots of downtown and the current monorail tracks on 5th Avenue ease the pain of reliving this frustrating time in our city's history. In the segment's postscript, Locke says Cogswell is working on a movie. That's Cthulhu, which Spenser Hoyt reviewed in a previous Scarecrow on Seattle.

Transit frustration caused many Seattle commuters to take matters in to their own hands, or in this case, wheels. Bike commuters describe their daily ride as a good way to decompress from a stressful workday. We also follow a biodiesel homebrewer as he heads to the Central District's Moonlight Café to collect used cooking grease so he can whip up a fresh batch of fuel in his garage. Edens ends as it began with salmon, with students from Stevens Elementary heading to Lake Washington to release salmon fry raised in their classroom. Mayor Nickels reminds us that it will be the next generation who make our environmental idealism into reality. I do hope those kids build a monorail someday.

-Jen Koogler

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