Sustainable Film series continues with ‘The Burden,’ ‘Nature’s Orchestra’ |

Sustainable Film series continues with ‘The Burden,’ ‘Nature’s Orchestra’

Daily staff report
"The Burden" tells the story of fossil fuel dependence as our greatest long-term national security threat, and why the military is leading the transition to clean energy. It will screen at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, at Loaded Joe’s in Avon and 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, at Dusty Boot Roadhouse in Eagle.

If you go …

What: “The Burden” and “Nature’s Orchestra,” February selections for Walking Mountains Science Center’s Sustainable Community Film Series.

When and where: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, at Loaded Joe’s in Avon and 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, at Dusty Boot Roadhouse in Eagle.

Cost: $5 suggested donation.

More information: Visit

In the opening scene of “The Burden,” a U.S. Air Force cargo plane lumbers over the snowcapped Hindu Kush range, which stretches from central Afghanistan to northern Pakistan. On the ground, Army Lt. Colonel David Preston, bundled in cold-weather combat gear, watches the plane approach. He radios up, confirming the target.

The cargo door opens as huge pallets shoot into the sky. Parachutes open, and the supplies drift to earth. Troops on all-terrain vehicles race across the frozen plateau to retrieve the precious cargo. It’s not ammunition or food — it’s jet fuel, used to run all the equipment at Forward Operating Base Waza K’wah.

Alert soldiers sweep the barren horizon with their rifle sights as others struggle to load the 500-pound fuel drums to tow away. They and their flammable cargo are now completely exposed to an enemy ambush. But they must get that fuel.

“This is the lifeblood for this combat outpost here,” Preston said.

Without regular air drops, his soldiers can’t stay warm, use their vehicles or run the generators that power their communications gear. Convoys used to bring the fuel by road, but the treacherous mountain roads made them more vulnerable to attack.

“If fuel ran out here,” he said, “they’d be sitting ducks.”

‘The Burden’

There is no denying the United States is heavily dependent upon fossil fuels. In fact, the United States alone currently uses about one-fifth of the world’s global oil.

When it comes to being reliant upon fossil fuels, the U.S. military is the world’s largest institutional consumer of oil. Nearly everything the U.S. military does is in some way tied to fossil fuels. It uses oil and gas in its convoys, tankers, trucks and planes and expends an enormous amount of energy, time and resources simply protecting and transporting fuel throughout the battlefield.

All in all, the military’s use of fossil fuel is a pressing environmental and humanitarian issue that must be addressed as soon as possible.

To help start a conversation about this issue, Roger Sorkin produced the documentary “The Burden,” a film that will be featured at Loaded Joe’s in Avon on Tuesday and at Dusty Boot Roadhouse on Tuesday, Feb. 21, as a part of Walking Mountains Science Center’s Sustainable Community Film Series, presented by Walkin’ the Dog.

Bonus film

This month, the Sustainable Community Film Series will be presenting a double feature. As a bonus after “The Burden,” Walking Mountains will be showing the documentary “Nature’s Orchestra: Sounds of a Changing Planet.”

This short film follows musician Bernie Krause as he travels around the world to listen to and record the sounds of fragile ecosystems. Krause feels that the nature soundscapes he records represent the voice of a living ecosystem. By listening to these nature soundscapes, Krause and his team can hear the ways in which the ecosystems they visit have changed over time.

In this way, these soundscapes can be used as a measure of an ecosystem’s health. Krause suggests that if we listened to the environment around us more carefully, then we might gain a deeper, better understanding of the world around us.

Both “The Burden” and “Nature’s Orchestra” are films that raise numerous questions about how we interact with the world around us. They will leave viewers feeling inspired and dedicated to improving the health of our planet.

The Sustainable Community Film Series is a project of Walking Mountains Science Center intended to raise awareness and encourage community dialogue about environmental, economic and social issues afflicting our world. For more information, visit