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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Colleen Lemos at 5:48PM
Photo of Colleen Ryan

Colleen Ryan
Television-Radio, Scriptwriting ‘12
Anthropology minor
FLEFF Intern
Lansing, NY


I’ve struggled for several days trying to come up with a succinct definition for “microtopia.”

Don’t ever ask me to write a dictionary, because boy do I like my verbose run-on sentences.

Language seems arbitrary at times.

A soon to be college graduate, and I still confuse the words “utopia” and “oasis.” I see both as a place to flourish. A place of seemingly untouched, uncontaminated beauty, that although possibly surrounded by arid dessert, still has the ability to adapt and prosper.

I’m not good at putting labels on things, and as a screenwriter, I battle with words that would be better expressed as images and emotions.

I think I’ll be better at describing how microtopias makes me feel.

Microtopias makes me excited to be alive. Graduating college ranks highly on the list of “Most Terrifying Things,” yet the idea of microtopias sparks excitement.

Parts of capitalism and corporate America have in a way “incepted” us all, subliminally telling us that the way to live after college is to immediately get a “career.” We’re thriving if we have a job. We’re happy if we have money.

But is that what life’s about? I want a sustainable lifestyle. Not just by contributions to inhabit the world in a better way, but personal sustainability as well. This does not mean spending forty hours a week at an entry-level job that I hate just because I think I should.

Happiness and well-being can also be sustained.

As a constant collector of passions and inspirations, microtopias make me feel at ease and zealous towards not being exactly sure what it is I want to do…yet.

It’s okay that I don’t know.

There are endless ways I can contribute and flourish, and places where I don’t need the label of a job title to make me feel like I’m contributing to society. FLEFF allows me to celebrate myself, and the idea of microtopias: A desire to use our dissimilar yet beautiful strengths to make the world a better place.

I want to know: How do microtopias make you feel?  What about them excites you?  What do you think of them?


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