campus news and events

Colby-Sawyer College to Host Screening of Environmental Documentary “Bag It”

NEW LONDON, N.H., March 14, 2011 – Colby-Sawyer College will host a screening of the compelling environmental and social documentary “Bag It.” The 2010 film encourages audiences to look at their daily use of plastics while following the journey of self-admitted “non-tree hugger” Jeb Berrier as he seeks to understand the serious implications of society's overwhelming dependency on plastic products.

Did you know that there is an “island” in the Pacific Ocean composed of plastic and other man-made debris that is twice the size of Texas? Berrier shares shocking findings like this as he learns the truth behind our excessive use of plastic bags and plastic products that affect nearly every aspect of our lives. His conclusions are grim; not only does plastic endanger the environment and animals, it also puts human health at serious risk.

“Bag It” will be presented in Clements Hall at the Curtis L. Ivey Science Center on Monday, April 4, 2011 at 7 p.m. The event, sponsored by the Cultural Events Committee, is free and the public is invited to attend.

“Bag It” begins Berrier's quest for the truth behind plastic consumption and his pledge to stop using plastic bags. He asks the simple question, “Why would you make something that you're going to use for a few minutes out of a material that's basically going to last forever, and you're just going to throw it away?” In response to his own question, Berrier examines some of the culprits in our plastic-dependent lifestyle: single-use disposables and plastic bags.

Single-use disposables, which include take-out containers, utensils, water bottles and coffee cups, are created strictly for convenience, not necessity. These products are rarely recycled; in 2008, more than 2,480,000 tons of plastic bottles were thrown away.

Plastic bags face a similar fate, as they are almost entirely unrecyclable. Berrier discovers that these bags, used for less than a day, exist long after we are done with them. They end up in trees, sewers and even in animals. According to the film, more than 100,000 marine mammals and sea birds die every year after becoming entangled in or ingesting plastic and debris for food (14 million pounds of trash are dumped in oceans annually).

“Bag It” goes farther than the average environmental documentary and shines a harsh light on the devastating effects plastics have on human health. Berrier discovers that not only has plastic entered our bodies through the marine food chain, but through chemical additives like phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA) that are used in plastic production processes. These chemicals have been linked to cancer, diabetes, autism, infertility and numerous other serious health conditions.

“There is no question that the topics explored in this film are immeasurably fascinating, important and disheartening,” says Toronto Film Scene writer Jovana Jankovic. “But…it never hurts to have a funny and relatable narrator performing plastics-induced experiments on his body's chemistry while cracking jokes.”

Berrier's likable personality and everyman status helps put the serious findings of “Bag It” on a relatable level and encourage viewers to take action in their own lives.

The event is sponsored by the Cultural Events Committee. For other upcoming events at Colby-Sawyer,

-Jessica McLavey '10

Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation. Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire. Learn more about the college's vibrant teaching and learning community at Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, N.H. 03257 (603) 526-3000