A Better Tomorrow Starts Today – Conversation with Director Cyril Dion

  • 18 September 2018
  • 18:30 - 21:00
  • Roca Shanghai Gallery, Shanghai

Too many environmental documentaries tell a story of gloom and doom - presenting a long list of the world's ecological, economical, and social crises but not leaving enough room for positive encouragement and motivation. French documentary Demain (‘Tomorrow’) is like a breath of fresh air - a feel-good story showing solutions from around the world, from pioneers who are re-inventing agriculture, energy, economy, democracy and education.

Join us for a conversation with TOMORROW director, Cyril Dion, to understand what prompted him to engage in this project, and what else his team saw or felt that could not be depicted in the film.

Also joining Cyril for a panel discussion would be Zheng Fei ('Mr Forest') who is engaging in reforestation and community building projects in Mozambique, and Dr Pan Tao, a pioneer in China's low carbon economy and community supported agriculture (CSA) scene.

Note: Presentation/discussions will be in English and Mandarin.

Event Itinerary

  • 19:00-19:15 Even introduction and welcome note
  • 19:15-19:30 Talk by Cyril Dion, Director, TOMORROW
  • 19:30-19:35 Short film screening 'Mr Forest' and sustainable reforestation in Mozambique
  • 19:35-20:00 Panel discussion with Cyril Dion, Zheng Fei (cannot make it), Dr Yiheng Cheng and Pan Tao
  • 20:00-20:30 Q&A with audience
  • 20:30-21:00 Event ends / networking

Part 1: Talk by Cyril Dion, Director, TOMORROW ('Demain')

  • Why environmental documentaries that are too negative are counterproductive?
  • How can we rethink the environmental narrative to be more positive and solution-based?
  • How can more positivity influence people to believe in and mobilize the power of their individual actions in solving climate change issues?

Part 2: Panel Discussion

What does the environmentalism movement lack? Where does it fall behind? Is this a question of marketing? Or just basic human behaviour?

Panel discussion will feature Mr Zheng Fei ('Mr Forest') and Dr Pan Tao. Find more about Zheng Fei in this article, Finding a Green Path for China and Africa.

Part 3: Call to action

How do we reach to the common question, "Ok, but what can I do as an individual to contribute towards a solution?"

We will prepare simple action for our attendees that they can do in their daily lives that would directly lead to a positive environmental impact and promote a sense of uniting individual efforts to make a greater collective impact.

About the Director

Cyril Dion (born 23 July 1978) is a French writer, film director, poet, and activist. In 2007, he founded with Pierre Rabhi and a few friends, the ecological movement Colibris (hummingbird in French). He was director until July 2013 and is now the spokesperson and member of the steering committee. In 2010, he was advisor and co-producer with Colibris of the movie Think global act Local by Coline Serreau. In 2012, he co-founded Kaizen magazine, and was editor in chief from March 2012 to April 2014. He is also Editor in Chief of the Domaine du Possible (The field of possibilities) collection of the French publisher Actes Sud with Jean-Paul Capitani.

He wrote and co-produced with Mélanie Laurent the documentary film Tomorrow, released in movie theaters in France on 2 December 2015; as well as two books published by Actes SudTomorrow won the Cesar award for Best Documentary (Oscar equivalent in France) in 2016 and over one million people went to see it in movie theatres in France. It is now released in over 30 countries. It is cited by many French people as the trigger for a new kind of engagement in the course of the following years. Cyril Dion has since been using the movie's success to support the mouvement Colibris, e.g. during the French presidential campaign of 2017.

Invited by the French Embassy during the Sino-French Environment Month (Mois Franco-Chinois de l’Environnement) , he will make his first trip to China in September 2018, to talk about his film, his books (Demain and Demain entre tes mains) and most important of all, to share his positive thinking for a better world with Chinese audience.

About Zheng Fei ('Mr Forest')

Zheng Fei, originally from the forests of Anhui’s Chuzhou city, first traveled to Africa in 1998 because of a passion for photography. While there, he developed a deep love of Africa and it’s forests. Now, after nearly 20 years of investing in agriculture and timber processing ventures, including his company Mr. Forest, he has made a name for himself as a Chinese entrepreneur that cares about the social and environmental implications of his projects. Thanks to continuous support by both WWF and IIED, Zheng Fei has developed projects that are not only successful in the ever more globalized world market, but also help aid the local people of Mozambique, his adopted home. Through his efforts to develop a more sustainable value-added timber processing model in Africa, he has reduced the number of trees being harvested, becoming a positive example of how to successfully adapt the “One Belt, One Road” initiative to Africa.
Note (16 September): Due to unforeseen circumstances Mr Fei cannot make it to this event.

About Dr Pan Tao

Dr. Pan Tao has 15+ years professional experience in the urban sustainability sector.  He is the founder of the China-based think tank--Institute for Sustainable Environment and Energy (ISEE) for promoting circular, low carbon economy for cities and industrial zones. He is also the founder of the first organic allotment farm in Shanghai, promoting green lifestyle of urban citizens. Prior to ISEE, Pan Tao worked for several international organizations such as Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC), Clinton Foundation-CCI, German International Cooperation (GIZ) for low carbon city and eco city programs.
Pan Tao holds a PhD degree in Environmental Planning and Management from Nanjing University. He holds a master degree in Environmental Science from Brandenburg Technical University in Germany and a bachelor degree in Geotechnical Engineering from Tongji University in Shanghai.

About Dr Yiheng Cheng

Dr Cheng is the COO of CBI Investment Management Ltd. (HK) on clean coal technology. He is also an advisor to Blue Sign, a specialist advisor to Chemical Industry Promotion Unit of Chinese National Productivity Center, a member of International Factor 10 Club, Asia Deputy Director of International Ecological Development Union (EDUI), and a member of the Club of Rome.
Dr Cheng has translated “Nutzen wir die Erde richtig?” (“Are we using the Earth properly?”) from Schmidt-Bleek (2009), “Faktor 5” from Ernst von Weizsaecker (2010), as well as “Blue Economy” from Gunter Pauli (2012). He is currently organizing the Chinese translation of newest collective report “Come On” to the Club of Rome (for the 50th Anniversary in 2018, in preparation). He is also an adjunct professor at College of Design & Innovation, Tongji University, and founded the “econoVation lab”, to implement best practices via symbiotic thinking, coach students to become (social) entrepreneurs, apply industry 4.0 in industries cluster, and conduct social innovations catering for urbanization.
Previously, Dr Cheng graduated from the Taipei Institute of Technology (TIT), and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) as Dr.-Ing. of Chemical Engineering. He worked in BASF Group Companies in Ludwigshafen, Singapore, Hong Kong & Shanghai, in-charge of the Responsible Care Program and Sustainable Development for BASF in Asia Pacific, followed by CEO of Knauf Asia, among other roles.

Event Details

18 Sep 2018 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Roca Shanghai Gallery, 396 Caoxibei Road, Near Nandan Road, Shanghai
Xujiahui Station, Line 1/9/11, Exit 11