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Byron Shire
March 3, 2024

Paradise last

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This week sees the screening of Last Paradise, a film which is becoming a talking point at cafe tables around the shire.

Sessions are followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Clive Neeson. The Echo had a preliminary chat to find out what it’s all about.

Can you give me a few sentences about the underpinning thesis of the film?

Through the 45-year journey of adventure travel pioneering, the audience witnesses enormous changes and the future challenges to the survival of our ecology and civilisations.

But the tragedy is that we have failed to notice this because of a thing called ‘shifting baselines’: ie we all accept the world we’re born into as the norm and so with each generation we have gradually lost sight of the paradise this planet used to be.

By rekindling the innovative spirit and a love of the wild we could restore the wilderness to its rightful magnificence.

Our hope in achieving this lies with the next generation, and the ability for parents and educators to realise that tomorrow’s protectors of the wilderness are the kids that play in it today, a fact that is strongly borne out in the characters of Last Paradise.

Our chances of solving the biggest global issues of the future will depend on getting the kids to play outdoors.

How does a physicist factor into a story of change and environmentalism?

Few people realise how much our current civilisation is dependent on massive exploitation of semiconductors and cheap energy sources.

Our food, clothing, housing, transport, hospitals, jobs. Interfering with the flow of these commodities and you have an instant global calamity and starvation.

The biggest challenge ahead lies in our ability to minimise impact on the natural wilderness as we continue to supply these for an expanding human population. Currently we are losing that battle. Innovation in the semiconductor technology and the energy industry is primarily underpinned by physicists (solid-state physics, thermodynamics, atomic, etc).

To protect the natural wilderness against the demands of a rising population we require understanding and innovation at a higher level. Yet today children are more inclined to study economics and marketing rather than the natural sciences in the naïve belief that economic growth is king over ecological survival.

Last Paradise reveals these realities between the lines.

Is change inevitable? The planet looks nothing like it did 20 years ago, or 50 or 150,000 years – how do we balance the natural entropy of change and sustainability?

Humans see themselves as incomplete. It’s our human quest for paradise that has driven a change against the natural entropy. As seen in the film, we can affect this by redefining our concept of paradise.

Why do you think Byron has been so responsive to the screenings?

Last Paradise mixes adventure, travel, lifestyle and ecological sustainability. These are the very things that bring people to Byron and they are the foremost issues facing the future of Byron.

If you had to choose just three words, what is the key messaging of Last Paradise?

Imagine, innovate, solve.

See the trailer of The Last Paradise

Screenings at Pighouse Flicks on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday 9 July at 6pm.

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