The participatory roots of the
Necessity project are deep and wide.
From Native artists and activists, grassroots organizations to movement scholars and lawyers, Necessity is grounded in stories of resistance. We spotlight here
the many gifted spirits who sustain this documentary film project.
Sarah Summerhill, Associate Producer
and bookstore owner, seeks empowerment and justice
through literature and documentary film
“Books have shaped my work within the climate justice movement; books such as Linda Hogan's Solar Storms and Cherrie Moraga's Heroes and Saints gave me guidance and direction at times when I have felt quite hopeless about the state of the world and the climate crisis.”
Sarah got her degree in English Literature at Washington State University-Vancouver and began working on the Necessity series in 2020. While attending school, she worked with Dr. Desiree Hellegers, an advisor on Necessity and founding co-director of the Collective for Social and Environmental Justice, who optioned her to become an intern for the Old Mole Variety Hour at KBOO. It was while working with the Old Moles that she met director Jan Haaken.
“I began working on Necessity: Oil, Water & Climate Resistance, in February of 2020, right before the pandemic hit Washington in full force. At first, I began as a research assistant; myself and assistant producer Jasmine Eppelsheimer put together spreadsheets of background information on the climate crisis as it pertained directly to Vancouver and Portland. Through this research I first became acquainted with Tara Houska, Lauren Regan, and other important figures in the film. As outreach took off, I began working on social media, which is my role today. I love doing social media because it combines so many of my strongest passions: creativity through graphic design, writing, and connecting with people!”
Even though her bookstore’s slogan is “Tweet Less, Read More,” Sarah is using the best parts of social media in furthering the ongoing education of the Necessity series.“
"I believe social media is a nearly inescapable part of our modern culture, and I appreciate the opportunity to channel my use of it through an incredibly important cause. Social media has its downsides, but when used perfectly, it has a transcendental ability to connect us all through the spread of art and information.”
Sarah shares news about upcoming events on our social media, and locally through her bookshop, Birdhouse Books, that she and her partner Lucas opened this past year in downtown Vancouver, WA. Sarah offers that being a small business owner is both the most difficult and rewarding thing she’s ever done. In reality, it's a dream come true.
“Owning a bookstore is really a bisection of all the things that are most important in the world to me--reading, sharing information, sharing love, reducing waste. I just think bookstores are so magical; they have always been a place of gathering, a place where information is shared. There is so much hurt in the world these days, and
I always turn to books for support during difficult times.”
Sarah has always been interested in climate justice, attending protests in Portland and writing about the topic in school, but it was really with the Necessity project that gave her an outlet to help accelerate climate justice in the Pacific Northwest.
“Climate change and activism gets so little news coverage, so documentaries covering the tireless and inspiring work of these activists is essential.”
You can visit Sarah and Lucas in their bookshop located at 1001 Main St Unit B, Vancouver, WA.
You can also see her amazing outreach work on Instagram @necessitythemovie