Nominee – Far North Productions
Far North Productions is creating a short 20-minute documentary created by and featuring UNEP Mountain Hero Malcolm Wood and his team. The documentary will dig into the issues of air pollution, what must be done to mitigate our carbon footprint, and how we can seek sustainability. The team will be meeting with top environmental scientists throughout Europe and Asia associated with the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP), travelling to some of the most polluted cities in the world, with the story culminating in an 8000m summit attempt in the Himalaya. The devastating effects of air pollutants on mountain environments and the contribution of this to global warming will be highlighted.
Vision, goals and objectives
Far North Productions is creating a short 20-minute documentary created by and featuring UNEP Mountain Hero Malcolm Wood and his team. The documentary will dig into the issues of air pollution, what must be done to mitigate our carbon footprint, and how we can seek sustainability. The Far North Productions team will be meeting with top environmental scientists throughout Europe and Asia associated with the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP), travelling to some of the most polluted cities in the world, with the story culminating in an 8000m summit attempt in the Himalaya. Parallels will be drawn between the difficulty to breathe at such extreme altitudes with the difficulties so many populations are faced with every day when breathing polluted air, and the health risks associated with this. A look will be taken at the devastating effect of air pollutants on mountain environments and the contribution of this to global warming. The film will also follow the team’s attempts to train for such an extreme objective in Hong Kong, a city frequently plagued with air pollution issues.
This film starts by introducing Malcolm and his role as a Mountain Hero for UNEP. Background will be provided by following his home and family life in Hong Kong, highlighting how air pollution issues are a real concern for their daily life, between his 6-year old son knowing he should ask to check pollution levels daily and his 1-year old son suffering from health effects. According to the World Health Organisation, nearly 500,000 infant deaths in the first month are attributable to air pollution. A further look will be taken at how his training programme is affected when pollution levels prevent outdoor exercise, and how his breathing ability suffers when levels are even slightly high. It is a very real example of how the majority of the world is living under such dire circumstances in overcrowded, polluted cities. The UNEP states that cities produce approximately 75% of global emissions. The team will meet with air pollution specialists associated with UNEP throughout Europe and Asia to learn more about how alarming the global issue is, highlighting the work that these teams and individuals do and their research findings. Throughout the fil research scientists speak about their concerns for the planet and its people, and what needs to be done to lower health risks. Malcolm and the team train on various high altitude peaks in preparation ahead of their 8000m summit, also bringing awareness to the effect of air pollutants on these mountains such as black carbon, methane and ozone. Eventually, the film culminates with the team attempting to summit an 8000m peak without oxygen. The struggle to breathe at these altitudes gives them a very sobering realisation of the many people globally affected by breathing difficulties due to air pollution as they summarize their journey.
This is the first documentary to combine the issues of air pollution and climate change with adventure and extreme sports – guaranteed to captivate a wide audience more effectively than traditional messaging.
Expected implementation and outcomes
With the intention to be a part of a carbon offsetting programme throughout travel, the crew will follow Malcolm as he trains between his home in Hong Kong and Chamonix, France. They will visit Bangkok, Thailand to meet with top air pollution scientists to gain more knowledge of the current circumstances and what can be done to mitigate air pollution individually and globally. Upon finishing our investigative journey, Malcolm is ready to test his limits in an attempt to climb an 8000m peak without oxygen – the ultimate test of human endurance as he draws the parallels of the difficulty of breathing in heavily polluted cities and at extremely high altitudes.
Climbing, mountaineering or outdoor sport focus
The team will be experiencing the effects of air pollution in conjunction to their rigorous training throughout the film. In Hong Kong Malcolm is trailrunning and bouldering in the gym while trying to find ways to train without being affected by the pollution hanging heavily over the city. In Chamonix, the team will take their training to higher elevations as they climb Mont Blanc. The film culminates in an attempt to climb Mt Manaslu, the 8th highest mountain in the world standing proudly at 8,163m. The team will see the results of air pollution from cities to the highest peaks in the world.
Best practice in mountaineering and mountain-based sports for mountain protection
The Far North Production team will be offsetting their carbon footprint through all flights while travelling to these locations to interview and train. They are also partnering with Meru Projects, a non-profit focused on finding sustainable solutions in remote and impoverished regions of mountain communities including clean energy and educational programmes.
To discover more about the UIAA Mountain Protection Award please click here.
Please note that the content published in this article is courtesy of the Award nominee. The UIAA has made minor revisions to the original submission.