environment | March 16, 2016

“Energy Policy Is Social Policy”: Shalini Kantayya’s Catching the Sun

In eco-activist and educator Shalini Kantayya’s new film Catching the Sun, audiences get an inside look at America’s green-energy industry and the people driving it. Focused on workers at a solar power jobs training program in Richmond, California, Catching the Sun poses one of the most important questions of our time: can the United States build a clean energy economy?

A William D. Fulbright Scholar and past lecturer at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and USC, Kantayya envisions a sustainable planet through a human-rights lens. Both a Sundance Fellow and a TED fellow, she finished in the top 10 out of 12,000 filmmakers in Steven Spielberg’s reality directorial competition On the Lot. Her first film, A Drop of Life, organized for clean drinking water in 40 villages across Africa, impacting the lives of thousands of people.

Now, in Catching the Sun—a film activist and actor Mark Ruffalo calls “must-see”—Kantayya examines the tensions between an expanding solar-power industry and an economy still based around unsustainable fossil fuels, and explores solar energy’s massive potential as a solution to both economic downturn and climate change. Two stories are told in tandem: one, a snapshot of working-class American life, and the other, the global race to lead the clean energy future. At their intersection lies a poignant lesson—how America can build a green economy, fight pollution, and combat poverty at once.

Running from April 1st to 7th at Cinema Village in New York—with a special Q&A with Kantayya after screenings on April 2nd—Catching the Sun investigates our century’s global energy transition and demonstrates how people can take the power generation into their own hands.

For more information on booking Shalini Kantayya—or on other TED Fellows and environment speakerscontact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.