Josh Burstein is director and host of "Last Glimpse," a travel show and social action campaign. Josh formerly created digital content for NextGen Climate and the Obama campaign. He also previously served as West Coast Director of Business Development for the Gov't of Israel.
As someone who has spent his days trying to motivate folks to act politically to address climate change, I've been fascinated with the Maldives for some time. Climate change is the biggest generational challenge of our time, and this small, gorgeous island nation has been deemed by many as the "canary in the coal mine" for the issue – tasked to this fate because a rise in just three feet in sea level would make the tourist destination uninhabitable.
I wanted to feed into the unconscionable allure of a place that equates to modern Atlantis. We call the project "Last Glimpse," not because the Maldives has to go, but because if we do nothing but watch, it will become self-fulfilling prophecy.
I wanted to get a look myself, and talk to real people on the ground to get a sense of what our world can lose – their culture and national identity. Rather than another tale of doom and gloom, or two pundits arguing about the color of the water while we're all drowning – this is a celebration of what is Maldivian, striving for frankness and authenticity.
"Last Glimpse" is the most ambitious effort I personally have taken on independently: A 20-day shoot. TV-quality production value. Traveling with a lean crew and hefty equipment around an island country that is a Muslim republic that speaks a language all its own – we didn't take the easy route.
So getting this project in the can already feels like a success. It's rare any idea like this goes beyond talk and is actually actionable. ROI is to thank for that to some degree. Beyond a Micro Grant being an extra push, it was in fact the additional Micro Grant of my production partner and fellow ROIer that was the extra push that made this a reality!
And this is a success because our rogue crew banded together for an idea and a cause, never working before, and we made it work. We made it work well and became good and better friends in the process. We pushed our limits, powering through adversity on shoots and were also rewarded with extreme leisure.
Unforgettable strangers met us with kindness. There were amazing interviews with humble personalities and the audacity to tackle the problems that their nation and our world face. We saw unbelievably picturesque landscapes and experienced stories that will last a lifetime. Hopefully we can capture a fraction of these personal and positive moments in our content.
I cannot expect a 30-minute show to change the world, but I'm hoping it can help spur curiosity and help start the conversation. This summer, "Last Glimpse" will be the focus of a social action campaign pushing for global action on rising sea levels. If you'd like to find out how you can support and help amplify our efforts, please don't hesitate to reach out.