New Unintended Consequences Website has arrived!

March 21, 2014

By: Matt Palmer

First off, if you do not already follow this blog, please click the follow button on the right hand side of the page. You will then get emails when there is new content.

Wind Turbine

After months of silence on the blog, I am back! As many of you know it has been a long journey to launch this documentary project. Like they say (“they” are pretty wise sometimes) anything worthwhile doing, is often hard. This has been hard, and there are more challenges to come for sure – like securing the rest of the funding, but, there is lots of light, lots of great things happening. Lots of opportunity to make positive social impact.

A passion to tell a fascinating and important story keeps me going, and in this moment that story is energy. Energy is the most important story of our time. How we deal with issues around the nexus of food, water and energy will drive our future, and these three issues interconnect. The current narrative about energy in the media does not serve us well. The energy narrative is polarized, laden with inaccuracies, and leading to feelings of despondency, hopelessness and a sense of powerlessness among the general population. In fact, we are the solution.

Our documentary project aims to reframe the current narrative and show that hope is a renewable resource. We face grand challenges globally, but with every grand challenge comes a grand solutions. To see these solutions, to discover them, we need to break down the current polarization. The only way to do this is for each of us to become vulnerable. As the esteemed Dr Brene Brown says, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity, change, and innovation.” (see my blog post about her here)

So, after many years pushing to make our documentary about the future of the global energy system a reality, we are excited to launch the first version of our website. Ron Thiele from Xpan Interactive is one of the great people I have met over the past few years to talk about my project. Ron understood the idea immediately, and understood our need to have something tangible to show to potential sponsors and investors.

We are truly grateful to the amazing team at Xpan for their dedication, and excitement about this project. And, (shameless plug) they are a wonderful group to work with. The professionalism from the first meeting, detailed plans, personal explanations make us excited. Like many people, I work with a lot of service companies over time, and you can tell the exceptional ones immediately, and Xpan is one of them. So thanks to the Xpan Team.

The design for the new website comes from a desire to create something that is visual, dynamic and intuitive. This first version is but a taste the future site. We aim to create a website that will be rich in video and visual content, and inspiring to the user. The audience will eventually be able to watch lots of great documentaries about energy, content that we create from around the world, and they will be able to participate in the conversation through user generated content. Users will be able to download open source videos from the documentaries to create their own stories and viewpoints on energy and repost to our website and other social media sites.


So here is the initial site. ( Use the scroll to go down the page, kind of a neat feature. You can navigate around to read about the documentary including the feature film, the website, the educational programs, and phase two, the television series. If you or your company would be interested in sponsoring or investing in this project, go to the bottom of the landing page and fill out the form – Join the Cause. You can also contact me through the blog.

Please also feel free to share feedback and ideas. (this is me being vulnerable) We can’t cover everything on this subject, but we are focused on telling the best story possible, and that is an evolutionary process.

If you would like to write a guest blog, please contact us!

Posted in Unintended Consequences | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Gift

This is a documentary I shot last year about dear friends of mine. Please feel free to share with anyone you think would benefit from this amazing perspective on life. Very inspiring.
The Gift is a life affirming documentary about a woman who survived stage 4 cancer 12 years ago, only to discover last fall that not only has the cancer returned, but that her fifteen year old daughter has stage 4 brain cancer. Instead of becoming victims to their experience, they choose to live every day fully, in a Carpe Diem lifestyle, with gratitude, connection to their community and deep congruence. It is a story of the ultimate challenge of two women working to break the pattern of five generations of cancer in their family.

Video | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mountain Photography

Here are a few more new images taken over the New Year break in Canmore, Alberta.untitled-166-Edit untitled-168-Edit untitled-169-Edit untitled-171-Edit untitled-212-Edit untitled-226-Edit untitled-227-Edit-Edit

Posted in Unintended Consequences | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Neil Young is Right

Unintended Consequences Documentary Project:

This is great blog about the Neil Young debate on oil sands.

Originally posted on Susan on the Soapbox:

“Take a second to really look at what you hear.” NeilYoung, singer/songwriter

Neil Young knows how to rile up a crowd.  In a 15 minute press conference* to kick off his Honour the Treaties Tour with Diana Krall he said some things that sent Big Oil and a number of Canadians into orbit.  Some of these guys are well past Pluto and show no signs of coming back!

Unlike other eco-celebrities like James Cameron, Robert Redford and Darryl Hannah, Mr Young’s comments can’t be dismissed with a disdainful wave of the hand…because he’s right.

Let’s review.

What Neil Young really said

Leaving aside his comparison of the oil sands with Hiroshima (which isn’t that far off) Mr Young’s point is this:  Canada traded its integrity for money in the headlong rush to develop the oil sands.

The Canadian government broke its promise (enshrined in section 35…

View original 892 more words

Posted in Unintended Consequences | Leave a comment

New Photographs and Restarting the Blog

November 6, 2013

By: Matt Palmer

I have been absent for many months, as you may have noticed. This is due to a number of things, a combination of spending time working on some other projects, including the new Christopher Nolan movie “Interstellar”, and continuing to develop the proposal and financing plan for “Unintended Consequences”.

The good news is that we have secured some development financing from the Alberta Media Development Fund, as well as working out final details for some other development financing. We expect things to be in place soon, and that will allow us to restart the blog in the new year. All exciting and positive news.

In the meantime, I was out in the rocky mountains yesterday and captured some beautiful moments I’d like to share. The pictures are from Bow Lake. Stay tuned for more news soon…




Posted in Unintended Consequences | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Monbiot, Consumption, and Our Values

April 22, 2013

By Matt Palmer

This article by George Monbiot “Let’s stop hiding behind recycling and be honest about consumption” illustrates one of the big challenges facing global society: consumption and the off shoring of emissions.

Monbiot argues that countries claims of reducing carbon emissions are misleading because they fail to account for emissions caused by consumption of imported goods  from places like China and India.

When nations negotiate global cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, they are held responsible only for the gases produced within their own borders. Partly as a result of this convention, these tend to be the only ones that countries count. When these “territorial emissions” fall, they congratulate themselves on reducing their carbon footprints. But as markets of all kinds have been globalised, and as manufacturing migrates from rich nations to poorer ones, territorial accounting bears ever less relationship to our real impacts.

It’s important that we continue to streamline and improve the efficiency of our energy systems, and reducing harmful environmental impacts. But we must not forget that our consumption of goods comes with environmental impacts, many of which have been sent off shore where the goods are produced, and in many cases dumped when we are done with them, particularly electronics.

What are the things that are most important to us? If we are honest with ourselves, what are the things that bring us the greatest sense of happiness, fulfillment, and inner well-being? What level of consumption can fulfill our needs? What do we value most in our lives, and how does our First World consumptive lifestyle support or not support it?

Just saying consumption is bad is not helpful, nor will it motivate people to change their habits. Perhaps a different conversation is necessary then to allow all of us to contemplate a different way of consuming, making different choices. These are conversations to be had globally yes, but perhaps by starting within our own families, our local communities, the conversations themselves can be the seed of change, by creating a greater understanding of our our needs and desires, and connecting us more with those around us. The emotional voids then decrease.

The additional benefit to these conversations is the inspiration they serve to community leaders, corporate leaders, and public policy makers to make changes at all levels.

Monbiot makes a generalization I do take umbrage with:

And this is where even the most progressive governments’ climate policies collide with everything else they represent. As Mustapha Mond points out in Brave New World, “industrial civilisation is only possible when there’s no self-denial. Self-indulgence up to the very limits imposed by hygiene and economics. Otherwise the wheels stop turning”.

The wheels of the current economic system – which depends on perpetual growth for its survival – certainly. The impossibility of sustaining this system of endless, pointless consumption without the continued erosion of the living planet and the future prospects of humankind, is the conversation we will not have.

The culture of self-indulgent consumption has not been good for the environment, nor for our own self-interest, our inner well-being. Filling an emotional void with stuff does not work.

However, this is not an argument against consumption, after all life must consume to survive. Humans have needs for shelter, warmth, clothing, food and on, but how far can we sustainably stretch “and on”? What choices can we make to ensure that as many people as possible can thrive? And, these choices will impact the global ecosystem, and the global economy. Thriving is important for our collective well-being. What values are most important to you that will help you to thrive?

Posted in Unintended Consequences | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Love and Light to Boston

April 15, 2013

By Matt Palmer

I ran tonight in memory of all those in Boston, and for all those affected by the bombings at the marathon. I ran on the treadmill, watching the news, crying at points as the horrific images filled the screen. Can we ever make sense of events like these, whether politically driven or not? Having run the Boston Marathon, this news hit me hard.

As I ran tonight, beside me on the wall my framed souvenir poster from Boston, and my  Boston medal framed with a picture of me running, I thought back to moments in my race. Standing at the start line in Hopkinton, nearly crying, the screams and cheers of the half a million plus spectators all along the course, scream tunnel at Wellesley College, seeing my family at Heartbreak Hill, and finally the left turn on to Boylston Street where the finish line loomed ahead, and the noise of the crowd was so loud, my aching body went into sensory overload. My most prominent memory of the Boston marathon is about the camaraderie of the people, the other runners, the spectators, the celebratory spirit. So many people in Boston, accomplishing a life long dream. With all that has happened, I need to remind myself of the good things about the Boston Marathon.



Heartbreak Hill

The marathon is a celebration of the human spirit. Human resiliency gets pushed to the limit, and when you hit the wall, it is sheer will and determination that pulls you forward. It is an event that forces you to push past the fears and doubts in your mind, to ignore the desire to stop, give up, to end the pain. The marathon is an individual accomplishment that demonstrates in the most concrete fashion that anything is possible.

The horror of the bombings cannot be put into words. The images express it all. To know that people lost their lives, their limbs, their loved ones, and that their confidence and belief in the good of humanity has been deeply damaged, fills me with intense sadness.  But, we can all take a moment to reflect on how we will respond.

Anger. Fear. Confusion. Sadness. These are valid and natural emotions. Taking time to sit with these feelings, to sit with the darkness is hard, but it is perhaps the first step forward.

We need to heal. We need to help those who were directly in harms way heal. We need to celebrate those who ran towards the explosions to help. As terrible as this event is, and as we grieve for those who died, we should move forward with strength, with confidence, with love in our hearts, especially for those who may not be feeling loved, who are vulnerable. A quick scan of the news on any day shows how deeply wounded so many in society are, how disconnected we have become from ourselves, and others. Tomorrow is an opportunity to change this. In small ways. Reach out to those you love. Send a message to people in Boston. Have coffee with a friend and talk about how this event changed you.

Marathoning is not about running away, but running to your inner self. It helped me connect with my inner spirit, and discover strength.

I am thankful that I had the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon, and thankful I was not there today. But this event does not weaken my desire to go run again in Boston, and celebrate in a wonderful city with amazing people.

Love and light to all in Boston. Here is a link to my post about running the marathon.

Posted in Unintended Consequences | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments