A documentary about the construction industry in China will make its Iowa debut tonight. The producer of “The Green Dragon” will be in Fairfield to introduce the film and take questions. Max Perelman says there is vast potential for American entrepreneurs to help China grow — and grow more sustainably. Perelman says half of the world’s construction is underway in China, which is also responsible for a large portion of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Perelman says, “I do see the opportunity for U.S. businesses and the Iowa businesses to do business in China, specifically relating to the green building industry in China.” Perelman lives in northern California and spent ten years living and studying in China. On this film, the crew was in China nine weeks, visiting nine cities and doing some 50 interviews. Part of the reason he launched the film project was because of the wealth of negative publicity in the U.S. that haunts China — from civil rights to melamine to lead paint.
“I wanted to do a film that not only would have a balanced message to it, but was actionable,” Perelman. “It would enable people to see it, get excited about it and then there would be next steps for people to start making connections, including business connections with some of the individuals that are portrayed in the film.” Why should Iowans care about pollution generated in China? Perelman says studies have found that a quarter of the mercury that’s airborne in the U.S. came from China.
“It comes from coal-fired power plants,” Perelman says. “And what is that coal-firing? It’s used for making steel. It’s also used for making cement. And then it’s used for making electricity and all of those things are specifically related to buildings. So in a weird, round-about way, if you’re focused on Chinese green building, you’re actually improving U.S. air quality.” He says the film provides an in-depth discussion of the barriers and opportunities for China to “go green.” While some people think the U.S. should shun China based on its record of civil rights abuses, Perelman says they need to pick their battles.
“Remember, there are 1.3-billion people in China, that’s not a single face,” Perelman says. “It’s just like saying there’s something that the Obama administration did and therefore I’m not going to support any Americans. I really think we need to get beyond these statements made in the media or by governments and really start connecting globally with our counterparts and with just everyday people. That’s what makes the world go around and that’s how we’re going to move forward.”
The 33-year-old Perelman says he was invited to bring the documentary to Maharishi University of Management after being Googled by a student at the Fairfield school. Coincidentally, Perelman’s uncle, Jerry Jarvis, was one of the southeast Iowa institution’s original founders. Tonight’s 8 o’clock showing of the film in Dalby Hall is free. To learn more about the documentary, visit: “www.greendragonfilm.com“.