Panther Inspires Sustainability Initiatives Through Winning Miami Film

Winning filmmaker of "Plastick," Taina Adam. (Courtesy of Taina Adam)

By Danielle Haller // Staff Writer

Taina, pronounced (Thai-eena) Adam, recalls the first time she felt she needed to do something about climate change. 

In a high school presentation, Adam “learned about how our diet impacts the environment, our health, and the ethics of eating animals,” she said. 

What resonated with her the most is how much power she has as an individual, because of the actions of what she does or doesn’t partake in. 

“These things are ripple effects that lead us into inducing or solving climate change,” Adam said.

Taina Adam is a fully online FIU student in her junior year. Her major is sustainability & environment with a minor in public administration. 

Adam’s winning film “Plastick ”will premiere Dec. 7 2021 at Soundscape Park, and tells a story of a man who learned about climate change and how landfills contribute to global warming. 

The protagonist decided he could reduce his carbon footprint by reducing the amount of trash he produces by not throwing out his water bottles, but instead eating them. It symbolizes how the trash we put out will come back to us potentially affecting our health by ingestion of microplastics. 

“I want to see sustainability through art in businesses, and incorporate that into future schools and classes. Everything is art,” Adam said.

Her career goals are to become a creative educator. “I want to translate information about climate change through art films, poems, music, and dance…who doesn’t love art? Our room is art, our clothes are art, we are art.”

She went into FIU with every intention to blend the two by using her passion for art to spread education.  It’s something she’d always wanted to do; use creativity to bring awareness on environmental issues.

“FIU did a really good job at providing me with the education I need. The student clubs allowed me freedom of expression of my passions,” Adam said.

Adam was an Outreach Coordinator who used her tiktoks to win contests that raise awareness about sustainability.

Adam also volunteers in two FIU clubs that have allowed her to place herself in a position of leadership within the sustainability sector, all while in virtual meetings.

The first club, FL PIRG, is a student activist group working to make campuses a better place. They launched a 100% renewable energy campaign in spring of 2020 by doing research to collect pertinent information that will help FIU transition to renewable energy by the year 2040.

She is also a member of the Honors Club, Green Campus Initiative (GCI), where the focus is on reducing plastics on campus through lobbying for change and doing direct research on the impact of plastic on Florida’s tourism, economy, public health, and local politics.

 “We all love clean water and we all love fresh air, so by the end of the day we should all put our hands in toward efforts for sustainability initiatives,” Adam said.

She mentions Veta Wade, who is a resident of Montserrat and a big motivation for Adam to help countries who are co-dependent on other countries. “They are unable to revolt and fight for their rights due to their co-dependence,” Adam said.

“We are not alone. There are thousands of people around the world who are working toward the same thing, in their communities trying to help their cities with the small things.” 

Although climate change is often viewed negatively, Adam shares an optimistic view point, “it’s an opportunity to create a new and better future.”

“Negative behaviors are literally showing up in the physical because of the way we are living… it’s not sustainable. It translates to having a better and healthier planet and building a new future,” she said.

Miami is currently implementing sustainable initiatives to reduce plastic, but challenges ahead are the ban on banning single use plastics.

Adam’s group with GCI will go to a delegation in December to present to politicians their reasons to lift the ban on single use plastics. 

Their argument includes the impact of single use plastics on tourism, and how other tropical competitors are already banning single use plastic and how it’s wasting money through recycling the 8% that makes it through the system. 

“The system cannot handle our plastic consumption,” Adam said. 

“Everyone can be a part of climate change. No action is too big or too small. Spread love. No matter what people are doing, take it day by day and try your best to enjoy it every step of the way. A sustainability revolution is needed in all areas and across all sectors in the future,” Adam said.