Can someone, an individual, in this day and age change the world? Artist and visionary Peter Westerveld had no doubt in his mind that he could make a difference, that he could heal the land. Not only that, he said it was easy. Documentary 'The man who wanted to change the world' follows him on his mission to make the world a cooler and climate-proof place.
Peter Westerveld was the inventor of contour-trenching (digging ditches on contour) a technique designed to address the desertifiction of the planet. First and foremost, however, he was an artist. He thought like an artist and he worked like an artist. His art was imbued with his view on the relationship between man and his environment, in particular between Western man and the African continent.
Sprouting from his lifelong fascination for water, he applied himself these past decades to creating solutions for the ongoing erosion and desertification he personally witnessed. His drawings and calculations of interventions in the landscape and infrastructure, they were all part of his artwork for the world. The last 15 years of his live he succesfully implemented his solutions in desertified areas in Mali, Tanzania and Kenia.
He was working on his opus magnum, the 'Hydrologic Corridor'. This was a project measuring 20,000km2 of desertified land in Kenya forming one hydrologic system. Here he was going to apply his contour-trenching techniques in a network of strategic project locations to stop erosion and once again enable subsurface storage of water. His goal was to kick start large-scale reforestation and restore the water cycle in these project locations. This, he said, would result in atmospheric cooling, a more evenly distributed precipitation and ecosystem restauration. With the Hydrologic Corridor he wanted to show the world that our climate problems could be solved. He found an ally in social entrepreneur Dennis Karpes, the initiator of the global HIV and AIDS awareness campaign Dance4Life, and they joined forces in the Naga Foundation. But Peter was man of strong opinions and his methods were seen by some as controversial, as were the scale of his plans. There were many hurdles to overcome by him and the people who believed in him.
In the film we follow Peter Westerveld, from 2012 onwards with the simple question: will he succeed? And what drives him on his mission? Just when he was about to start the implementation of his artwork for the world, he suddenly passes away in August 2014. For a moment the world, and this film, came to a standstill.
But now the people who have been inspired by his passion, his drive and progressive ideas have taken over the challenge to still make his dream, to change the world, come true. This story about unconventional thinkers, doers and people who are trying to solve one of the biggest problems of our time is not over!
The film will launch end of the year right when the climate summit in Paris (COP21) takes place and aims to generate more interest in solution based thinking in climate change.
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