Selma Rubin reminisces on her life as a social and civic activist in Santa Barbara, where she co-founded the Environmental Defense Center and the Community Environmental Council and, perhaps her greatest achievement, helped save El Capitan Canyon from development. This film speaks to the power one person can have to change the course of history.
What inspired you to do a film about Selma Rubin?
I believe we don’t own this planet — we share it with billions of other species [and] our health and livelihood completely depends on theirs. Therefore I always look for stories that promote a healthier planet for all species. Selma Rubin and her community have done that. Therefore a story like Selma’s and how she has encouraged every one around her to build strong organizations such as EDC (Environmental Defense Center) and CEC (Community Environmental Council) has been very inspiring to me.
What quality did Selma have that made her such an influential environmental and community advocate?
Selma believed in people and in building or supporting communities and organizations such as EDC and CEC. And although she always stayed in the background she had amazing power to inspire every one around her. She was the committee member of more than 40 organizations in her lifetime.
What do you hope people take away from your film?
My films are about our present challenges in the environment but my films are not fear-based or blame-based. My films are all solution based. I believe in people and know that we need to be working to gather for a better world. I believe that focusing on a healthier planet for all species goes beyond our differences in culture, religion, nationality, race, sex, skin color, and all other shallow thoughts that have separated us and made us suffer. And although we live in hard times and 98 percent of scientists agree that global climate change is real and we need to do something very serious, really fast, and really soon. But I believe this is also a great opportunity to unite us again as humanity.
How long did it take to make this documentary?
I was funded for another documentary 350, The Most Important Number, two-and-a-half years ago through Kickstarter for $10,835. I used that money to travel for about six months. Once I went back home (Big Island, HI), I realized I have six documentaries in my hands: Selma Rubin and Community of Life; It All Starts in the Soil; Cancer: What Is The Truth?; 350, The Most Important Number; Cafe Gratitude; and Seedling. I have been working on these documentaries simultaneously in the last two years.
What is your goal with Living Web Films?
I want to focus on two important issues with Living Web Films: building communities and building topsoil. I want to encourage people to build communities and start organizations like EDC and CEC so they can legally protect the health of our environment. I am planning to do that with the Selma Rubin and Community of Life documentary.
Check the latest schedule here.