Reducing global emissions - Inspired by local stories. We got in touch with Filmmaker Tim Arnold who is documenting The Positive Alternative movement and asked him to shed further light on how we can bring this crucial message across the globe.

Maker Series - Chapter 40

The Positive Alternative

Tim Arnold, Filmmaker, Australia

Climate change has fundamentally impacted and changed the lives of farmers all over the world. Listen to the stories of how 5 different Australian farmers each deal with climate change and how they create a positive alternative. Each of them shares their personal experiences, provides solutions to create a sustainable food industry and people’s diet. The Positive Alternative provides both dramatic yet inspiring stories about how little changes can create a big positive impact on our lives, on climate change and the world at large. 

We got in touch with Fabrik creator and Filmmaker Tim Arnold who is documenting the movement and asked him to shed further light on how we can bring this crucial message across the globe.

Fabrik: Hi Tim, could you give us insight into The Positive Alternative and how the movement came to fruition?

Tim Arnold:  In January 2020 we moved from Amsterdam to Sydney to work and live abroad within the advertising industry. Our interest in the climate change topic was always there, but we felt the communication around the topic very so doom and gloom, which made us feel overwhelmed. But it also left us with the question: what can we do as individuals to help tackle climate change?

During our research around the topic, we felt extremely inspired by Dr. Anika Molesworth. Anika is an outback sheep farmer, agro-scientist, advocate for sustainable farming but above all an incredibly resilient and inspiring force of nature. After several conversations with Anika, we decided to join our forces with the objective to inspire and encourage individuals to help tackle climate change.

What started with an idea became The Positive Alternative, a documentary series to reduce global emissions, inspired by local stories. The first few episodes feature Australian farmers whose lives and farms are fundamentally impacted by rapidly changing climate conditions. Yet provide sustainable products and tangible solutions on their farm and for consumers, to make climate change a shared problem what we can solve if we all do our bit. These passionate farmers educate and inspire our audience to change consumer behaviour that ultimately leads to a more vibrant and sustainable food industry.

"The biggest threat to the planet is the belief that someone else will save it." - Robert Swan. Historian, activist and explorer.

Fabrik: Is the movement something you have been passionate about for a while? What first got you involved?

Tim Arnold: Ever since I started making films, I’ve always believed in the three pillars that are needed to create impactful content:

The idea, a meaningful purpose and craft.

When we started working out the concept and treatment it always needed to thick these boxes. I have never been strongly connected with agriculture. Therefore, I am very grateful to have been able to learn so much about it within the last 1.5 year. It made me realize that there is a global need for agricultural education to get people engaged with growing food and how interconnected our consumer behaviour is with nature. This knowledge is key to a sustainable future for our generations to come.

Fabrik: Working so closely with local farmers in Australia and understanding first-hand the problems they face, do you feel this has affected your personal views on the issue of climate change?

Tim Arnold: Since I left the urban Amsterdam bubble and arrived in Australia - with its great variety of climates and more extreme weather events - I got a better understanding of the climate change issue. After we’ve met the farmers and dived deeper into their life and business, we’ve learned about how everything on our planet is connected.

E.g., Global warming causes rising ocean levels. I knew that. But I've never realized - and I feel a little ashamed about it - that this causes salt inundation to farmers bordering on saltwater rivers. You can’t grow crops in salty land; once it gets in, there is no going back. It can potentially be a serious threat. Or another example that due to more extremely hot temperatures male sheep can become infertile, they can stay infertile for weeks.

But most of all I feel determined to share the resilience and drive from these farmers with the world. It’s devastating to see how their lives and businesses are impacted by the effects of climate change but also inspiring to see their resilience and it fuels me with the drive to share and elevate that courage to act.

Fabrik: What do you feel it would take to get everybody’s attention on this issue?

Tim Arnold: It takes responsibility. In the first place it takes responsibility of brands and governments. To invest and communicate in the direction of positive change. Then it is up to consumers to change consumer behaviour and demand more sustainable products. We are all consumers and all together we steer brands and politics. But we must believe in the collective strength and boost our can-do mentality.

"We believe brands, organisations and people need to take their responsibility for our environment, and steer together in the direction for positive change."

Fabrik: What have been the greatest changes you have seen whilst working on The Positive Alternative?

Tim Arnold: I have seen companies and initiatives stepping up and leading the way to more positive communication. 5Media - just like us - believes in ‘the power of many’. A community for thinkers and doers to understand the world and co-create a more sustainable world.

And WaterBear Network. A video on demand service that facilitates empowering stories and also gives the opportunity to act, to bridge the gap between watching and doing. WaterBear allows global audiences to engage with our planet and drive action to make positive change for the future.

It’s fantastic to see that more and more change makers are stepping up and provide future focussed positive alternatives to climate change.

Fabrik: What is next for the documentary and can the Fabrik community do anything to help support you?

Tim Arnold: Our ambition is to elevate more resilient and positive change makers. Also, outside agriculture there are heaps of people dedicating their life to positive change. That needs to be shared. Because it is always contagious when you see someone doing a great job. It stimulates positive energy.

But first we need to finish our first series. Therefore, we need a production budget to be able to afford third party costs like musical license fees, a colour grading artist, sound studio etc. And to add an oyster farmer to the series to cover the important fishery topic. Netflix’ Seaspiracy once again shows us that information and concrete consumer tools are incredibly important to make change.

To bring The Positive Alternative to the finish line we would greatly appreciate the following support:

Fabrik: Final question. How do you feel that Fabrik and its features have helped to share your crucial message?

Tim Arnold: Fabrik and its features played a crucial role in communicating The Positive Alternative. With my personal portfolio I knew that Fabrik would be the best way to showcase visuals and film assets. Like film, a visual treatment of the website is most important when trying to engage the audience to your story. With our lack of budget, we also knew we needed a website that is easy to manage and easy to get access to professional support. From sketch to final website, it took only 2 days; that is definitely due to the high quality UX and service that Fabrik offers to its creatives.

Discover The Positive Alternative Movement

You can be part of the movement by supporting this project. A production budget is needed to finish all documentaries through post production and to add an oyster farmer story to the series to cover the fishery topic. With your financial support The Positive Alternative can bring this crucial message across the globe.

Donate at kickstart/thepositivealternative

Get In Condition

We're always keen to see what you've created. Follow our social feeds and tag your new work with #onfabrik when you're ready to show it to the world. Apologies; we can't add spec work, ads or commercial content to our Maker or Conditioner series.