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How much does our environment cost? Return to paradise is a documentary feature film about saving a mangrove forest from reclamation.

SYNOPSIS: Return to Paradise, a documentary feature film about Filipino Americans going back to the Philippines to help the country through small projects funded by Filipinos abroad. Bayanihan Foundation, a non-profit based in Chicago conducts a yearly event called Pagbabalik which means to return that culminates a year of charity work that the foundation does with its partners. This year, Pagbabalik will be in Cebu and will be planting mangroves as part of the event. James, a board member of foundation who is actively involved with the youth program of the foundation and utilizes film to raise awareness among the youth decides to explore the question of development as it relates to the environment. What is the monetary value of our environment? How much will it cost the community to make sure that mangrove forests and other important habitat will not be converted to factories and shopping malls? Officials from the Philippines, scholars, journalists, academics, civic leaders and activists will be part of the documentary. Instead of giving the forest to investors maybe the Filipino community both abroad and at home can offer an alternative to the government to guarantee the sustainability of our habitat for future generations.

WHY THIS FILM? Today we face a lot of environmental challenges throughout the world. Droughts have caused prices to rise for basic items like food. Depletion of marine resources have cause a lot of hardships for whole communities that depend on the ocean for survival. This film seeks to ask basic questions about life and how we take care of our home, the only home we know in the universe. We have been too distracted by our technology to see that technology depends on nature and our life is dependent upon the health of our environment. Economics and environmental sustainability can co-exist. Through various experiments like eco-tourism, local communities can earn a living and guarantee the sustainability of our environment. This film seeks to make sustainable development a more popular concept especially among the youth. The youth must step up to make sure that there is a future left for them. The first step is to make the youth aware and this film can be a tool to raise awareness among the youth on the importance of sustainable development.

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We will explore efforts by Bayanihan partners in the Philippines to stop the conversion of a mangrove forest into a commercial zone in Liloan, Cebu. Campaigns in the past that successfully stopped further land conversion will also be explored like the Calawisan and Babag campaign in Lapu Lapu, Cebu. Fishermen, NGO (non-government organizations), scholars, students, organizers, public agencies and public officials will be interviewed on the topic and will be asked the question "How much does our environment cost?".

Some public officials or public institutions might not want to be interviewed. This will not hinder the production from asking the question of environmental cost. Saving the planet is not an easy task but everything starts with awareness. This film will start the dialogue on how all of us can help preserve mother earth. The real challenge is when the film is made and the task of creating real change in the world begins.

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