Pandora's Promise is a documentary in which prominent environmentalists explain how they began to favor nuclear energy.
- The film begins its nationwide release this week.
- Here's a link to the film website.
- Here are the places where you can see the film--in quite a few cities nationwide. For example, Pandora's Promise will open at the Kendall Square Cinema in Boston on Friday, June 14.
- Nuclear Energy Institute has a very complete blog post, The Unofficial Guide to Pandora's Promise, with links to reviews. It also contains several film clips.
- CNN Films has acquired Pandora's Promise for cable broadcast this fall.
Reaction, Eyes Open
I was lucky enough to see the film about a month ago at Dartmouth College, with the director in attendance. The film opens people's eyes to possibilities that they had not considered. Watching the film is not intended to be a road-to-Damascus experience about nuclear power. Instead, the film hopes to encourage people to think about energy supplies in a new way.
For example, Terry Tempest Williams claims thirty years of antinuclear activism. She attended the same showing that I attended, and she wrote this in The Nation:
For me, this film’s strength was not that it changed my mind, which it did not, but that it expanded it. I am interested in having an open conversation about nuclear energy. Climate change is real. We know we must wean ourselves off fossil fuels. So what are the alternatives? Are renewable energy sources enough for the energy-poor around the world?
Reaction, Eyes Closed
Not everyone was has eyes that can actually open. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. saw the film on Tuesday of this week. After the showing, he discussed it with the director, Robert Stone. Well, I guess Kennedy thinks he discussed it. It sounds to me as if he went on a rant. Apparently, Kennedy thinks that insults are very effective in convincing people.
Kennedy said the film was "an elaborate hoax" and the environmentalists in the film were "liars." Their exchange was moderated by Andrew Revkin of the New York Times. After Kennedy had accused everyone in the film of working for (or being paid-off by) the nuclear industry, Mr. Revkin said this to him: "You invest in solar, why should I believe you?" Read the whole story at the NEI blog post: Robert Stone and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Clash After Screening of Pandora's Promise.
Also, an anti-nuclear organization has been printing up something called "Pandora's False Promises." I gather it is 38 pages of opinion and scare-stories. I have heard (rumor only) that they are handing out copies to people at the movie showings. Luckily, a recent Ph.D. in nuclear engineering refutes their document point by point in his blog post: Pandora's Revenge. Thank you, Nick Touran, for this careful and well-documented rebuttal!
What you can do
Of course, go see the movie! Write about it on your FB page, and perhaps post a review at the Internet Movie Database (or other places, such as Rotten Tomatoes).
If you go to a public venue, you might think about taking a copy of Touran's blog post with you, in case you get leafletted by the opponents. You could hand a copy to them. Turn-about is fair play, right?
I am so glad that we now have this excellent movie available, and that many people will see it. Robert Stone is an award-winning director, and he devoted years of his life to making this movie. And now we all can enjoy it.
Well said, Meredith!
It's surely a nice day for well-educated, moderate Republicans such as certain members of the well-respected Ethan Allen Institute. :) But I'm a middle-aged Progressive Democrat who used to be a staunch anti-nuke. I was a few days shy of my 22nd birthday when TMI happened; I'd been active since 1978 and did a fair amount of a-marchin'-an'-a-chantin' with folk singers and suchlike. (Most of 'em wonderful people, if a bit misguided, as I was.) Even today I have lots of, uh, passionate friends.
Still, I look forward to the "extended conversation". I never stopped being an environmentalist; and most of those friends claim a deep and abiding love of Science.
And it's sad to see RFKJr going over the edge. But I look forward to seeing who has a "Come to Atomic Jesus" moment.
Pigwig--I haven't noticed Republicans being more (or less) well-educated than Democrats! (Your remark about a great day for well-educated, moderate Republicans). I wish that nuclear power was not seen as a Republican/Democratic issue, and I hope this movie helps with that perception.
In the 2010 elections in Vermont, I was talking to a man who was running and his ideas seemed very much like a Democrat, especially in terms of health care...except he was running as a Republican! I asked him why he was running as a Republican. He said he supported the continued operation of VY, and the Democrats didn't want him on their ticket. (this was in Southern Vermont). I think that is a shame.
Fiscal policy, health care choices, etc. These are legitimate reasons for people to prefer one party over another. Being pro- or anti nuclear does not strike me as the same kind of choice at ALL.
I was at the pre-premiere debate in Pleasantville, and I think what ticked off RFK the most was being exposed as a methane man (as a necessary backup to unreliables) to his hometown minions of anti-frackers.
Gasland II had just played, and the anti-nuclear, anti-fracking contingent was still high on outrage. Their champion was shown collaborating with the enemy.
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