Monday, March 4, 2019

We get mail! (from an American man very worried about climate change and his backstory)

Dear Dan,
I’ve been reading a lot about you lately.  I’m a fish biologist in Alaska who is gravely concerned over the implications of climate change, many of which are evident out my front door.
I haven’t always been concerned about climate change – originally it was just the fishes I care so much about.  And I wasn’t always concerned about them either.  Although an avid fisherman all my life – even as a toddler in the Lower 48 – I wanted to enjoy fishing all my life, so became a pseudo-environmentalist advocating for their protection. 
But after an early midlife crisis (mid 30’s) while working for the Forest Service in the Lower 48 as a surveyor, I decided to go back to college and become the fish biologist I am today.  I was looking for meaning in my life…I wanted to make a difference.  I wanted to help “save the native fishes” I knew were in trouble, not only in Wyoming – but throughout the world.  
However, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.  It was only when I moved to remote Idaho and dealt with the dwindling Chinook salmon, steelhead, and bull trout did I get intimately acquainted with the downside of human nature. 
Death threats were not uncommon among my colleagues; it was only because of my easing-going ways that I never got any serious ones from some of the cantankerous gold miners who were hiding out from the law…and Hell’s Angels.  
Depression, and another midlife crisis materialized, and I moved to Alaska to get away from it all.  But damn, if those same environmental concerns didn’t follow me up here!  And that human nature is just as vile up here as it was down in the lower 48.  Are you familiar with the proposed Pebble Mine that the Trump administration is fast-tracking?  It just might be the biggest environment/development conflict in the world.   
In one article you said, “I don’t have those kind of writerly skills”. 
Well, I don’t have a penchant for prose myself…and I actually have a learning difficulty or two.  
So, I need a PR person to help me pitch my message that I have a message worth listening to…even though I have great difficulty in concisely conveying what it is. 
What I envision is a non-linear full-length feature film with numerous threads, something akin to what Quentin Tarantino would produce or the late Robert Altman would have directed. 
Although the story I’m pitching might read like a sci-fi, or a fiction, it’s entirely 100% true.  There have been countless zany characters come into my life; of late, I honest-to-goodness lead a Northern Exposuresque life.     
Why non-linear?  Well, life and the many facets of environmental destruction aren’t linear; it’s got to depict the messy side of humanity and what it is we’re all up against. 
When it is all said and done, it’s a story about an unknown, and possibly delusional, fish biologist - living in the middle of nowhere - who thinks “his story” can make a difference…even greater than what Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring made.  He knows that if that difference isn’t made, the fate of mankind teeters on the brink of unimaginable calamity…not unlike a science fiction movie. 
I mentioned depression for a reason – psychology and mental illness would be threads…and important ones!  M. Scott Peck, a psychiatrist, had this to say in The Road Less Traveled:
Most of us are not so wise.  Fearing the pain involved, almost all of us, to a greater or lesser degree, attempt to avoid problems.  We procrastinate, hoping that they will go away.  We ignore them, forget them, pretend they do not exist……………..The tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering inherent in them is the primary basis of all human mental illness.  Since most of us have this tendency to a greater or lesser degree, most of us are mentally ill to a greater or lesser degree, lacking complete mental health.” 
Ultimately, it's a story about psychology and mental illness and the need for the human race to “get in charge of itself psychologically” and realize that each and every individual, in some way, is part of the impending environmental quandary…and the solution if mankind is to avert unimaginable widespread ecological and social calamity. 
The main theme is encapsulated in the words of Joseph Campbell: “We’re not on our journey to save the world, we’re on our journey to save ourselves.  In doing that, you save the world.” 
Like you, I’m not in this for personal gain; it’s a story that needs to be told for future generations.  I just need help from someone who is 1/10 as altruistic as I am to believe in my vision, and help me find influential people in the film industry that understand that the only thing that will make a difference these days…is something vastly different.  I may be delusional, but I think I have the foundation for such a thing.  
Ultimately, I’m looking to connect with an accomplished Hollywood screenwriter and/or director that wouldn’t be out to advance their career or make a name for themselves.  And it’s going to take a collective concerted effort by numerous people who are in it for the future of humankind. 
Maybe I’m just as quirky or crazy as some of those people who I’ve crossed paths with over my life, but my vision to make this happen is to have the following people sitting at my kitchen table discussing what it’s going to take to make a REAL difference with a different sort of compelling message. 
I could go on and on...
 A Friend of the Earth

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