Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges partners with Bristol University & Speakezee on environmental education programme

Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges partners with Bristol University & Speakezee on environmental education programme

The Living in the Futures Past programme aims to inspire conversation, critical thinking, and creativity within schools about the important issues humans face and help create a national platform for students to share their contributions to this dialogue. Jeff has been inviting teachers and students to work together to create short videos inspired by the themes and topics within his recent award winning documentary Living in the Futures Past - produced and narrated by Jeff and starring Cabot Institute academics and Speakezee speakers Professors Rich Pancost, Steve Lewandowsky and Bruce Hood.  

The Cabot Institute worked closely on its short film with Susan Kucera, Director, Cinematographer and co-producer of Living in the Futures Past, alongside University of Bristol PhD student Tom O’Shea on the theme of emergence. Being a topic close to Jeff’s heart, the idea of emergence covers an aspect of environmental education that is often overlooked but is crucial to understanding how our collective actions can instigate real and positive global change.

Tom has said that “emergence describes the ability of individual parts of a large system to work together to give rise to something bigger and more dramatic.” Adding that “examples include; the internet, human consciousness and global economies.” Regarding the educational programme he has said that he “was excited to take part in this programme because from my own research around emergence, I have realised how increasingly important it is to get students talking about climate change as an emergent system, which is directly borne out of our actions and inactions, individual and collective, as society has grown in scale. Jeff’s educational programme has been a fantastic opportunity for me to communicate this to a wide global audience”. 

What is emergence? Watch Tom’s video to find out.

Professor Jemma Wadham, Cabot Institute Director said “We hope that Tom’s film will inspire change through the consideration of emergence in people’s own lives and study. The fact the Cabot Institute’s mission statement is “Many minds, one mission”, fits very well with the emergence concept of many people working together to effect positive change within our environment.”

"Efficacy is the ability to produce a desired result. But are the results we're achieving, the ones we intend? Our intelligence is remaking the world before our eyes. What kind of future do you want to see?" said Jeff Bridges. Jeff also said "We’re an expression of nature right now, as we’re living. We can look at this situation and ask ourselves if this is a direction we want to go. Emergent behavior: what can I do to get this thing headed in the direction that I'd like it to go?”

Director of Living the Futures Past, Susan Kuchera, said “It was a pleasure to work with Tom O’Shea and the Cabot Institute. When Tom sent us his proposal for his video Jeff and I played it for the many people and groups we were meeting with. We all thought it was spot on how emergent behaviour can affect new outcomes”.