Tunisians take it to the big screen: new doc on environment making waves globally
The political discourse around climate change in Tunisia is growing, thanks in part to the new film Siege of Salt and Sand (Shutterstock)
A Siege of Salt and Sand, a new documentary film about Tunisia, promises to be an important motivator in redefining the current political agenda towards adapting to climate change and mitigating environmental issues in Tunisia.
Climate Change, as we know by now and has been reconfirmed this year through the 5th IPCC Assessment report, will change our lives radically in the coming decades. There are several hot spot areas such as Bangladesh, the Sahel, The Alps, and the Maldives where due to their geographic position, landscape, and microclimate are already experiencing climate change impacts. One of these regions is Tunisia.
Although the discourse around climate change in Tunisia has been developing, its inclusion in the political agenda is limited, if non-existent. Tunisia is living an important political moment, which could be the turning point for its economy, more importantly it could be an important turning point for a greener economy, and as always, civil society will be the key motivator.
In 2013, Radhouane Addala and Samuel McNeil ventured across the country to interview, film and understand who and how climate change is impacting the Tunisian population today.
The result is an outstanding documentary, which delivers important messages to the Tunisian population, its government, and all the countries which confine our beautiful Saharan desert. How will increased droughts, stronger storms, moving deserts, rainfall losses of 15-30 % alter social, political, cultural and economic systems?
As Samuel explains “A Siege of Salt and Sand is an alarm bell and a bridge. We want to connect similarly climate-maligned communities across the globe to help forge solidarity in facing our era’s gravest danger. By visualizing the complexities of climate, marine and desert science and translating the struggles of scientists, policymakers, fishermen and farmers, we are trying to build a thick connection from Tunisia with the rest of the world.”
Aside from climate change related impacts, A Siege of Salt and Sand bought to light other important environmental issues and raises several questions. For example, the ”black spots” of post-revolutionary Tunisia, where environmental regulation has been left behind and companies no longer feel obliged to follow rules that no one will enforce, or illegal industrial fishing in the Mediterranean, where fishermen in the Kerkennah islands south of Tunisia, are seeing their fish stocks depleted as “bottom trawling” destroys vital ecosystems offshore. Is this problem related to European companies benefiting from diminished controls of environmental regulations outside of European jurisdiction?
A Siege of Salt and Sand is currently in the post- production phase, Sam and Rad are crowdsourcing for the much needed financial support (and non – financial! ) to finish editing the Arabic, English and French version of the documentary, as well as disseminating the information.
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