Note: Many of these films are available free online or at your local library.
Inspired by the book of the same name by Philip Shabecoff and with advice from the biologist E.O. Wilson, A FIERCE GREEN FIRE chronicles the largest movement of the 20th century and one of the keys to the 21st. It brings together all the major parts of environmentalism and connects them. It focuses on activism, people fighting to save their homes, their lives,t he future – and succeeding against all odds. Narrators include Robert Redford and Meryl Streep.
Gasland is a multi-award winning documentary about the process of fracking, made by Jeff Fox inspired when a gas company came to his hometown. The side effects of this process have some devastating consequences for the land, the waterways, the people, and animals around the drill sites. A dramatic, powerful, and eye-opening film.
Taking Root tells the dramatic story of Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai whose simple act of planting trees grew into a nationwide movement to safeguard the environment, protect human rights, and defend democracy—a movement for which this charismatic woman became an iconic inspiration.
Bypassing politics and fingerpointing, this forward-thinking documentary zeroes in on enterprising individuals — from a wind farmer to a solar-panel retrofitter — who are devising business-minded ways to avert the looming climate crisis. The cross-country expedition yields encounters with Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson, Earth Day founder Denis Hayes and former CIA director James Woolsey, along with everyday pioneers in low-carbon living.
If it were up to the sun, we would not have an energy problem. Every half hour on the Earth’s surface, there is more than enough light to provide energy needs for the whole world in a year. We don’t have an energy problem, we have a conversion problem. If we are able to harvest sunlight in smart way, then we can prevent a global energy crisis.
The threat of tar sands development continues and there is concern that use of other difficult-to-access fossil fuel sources will result in ever increasing environmental risks, including climate change. This short film is about the proposed building of the Keystone XL pipeline from the tar sands in Alberta to the Texas Gulf coast. The pipeline would go through our country’s heartland and over this country’s largest freshwater source, the Ogallala Aquifer. The movie puts a human face on the concerns of farmers, ranchers, environmentalists and elected officials.
Imagine a world without fish. It seems inconceivable, but top scientists warn that such a catastrophe may in fact play out in coming generations unless widespread awareness is raised to stop ocean acidification.
Follow retired educator and concerned grandfather Sven Huseby back to his stunning ancestral sites where he finds cutting-edge ocean research underway. His journey of self-discovery brings adventure, surprise and revelation to the hard science of acidification.
Coal Country is not just a film about mountain top mining, but also about the successful and yet tragic paths of real activists making a difference for the rest of us.
Global Warming: The Signs and the Science
This film profiles people who are living with the grave consequences of a changing climate, as well as the individuals, communities and scientists inventing new approaches to safeguard our children’s future. The film brings the reality of climate change to life and offers viewers a variety of ways to make a difference in their own communities.
Oil on Ice
Oil on Ice connects the fate of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to critical decisions America makes about energy policy. Caught in the balance are the Gwich’in Indians and the migratory wildlife in this fragile ecosystem.
What are the natural, economic and energy dimensions of Climate Change? In this video, journalist, Ross Gelbspan, presents his perspective. He asserts that Climate Change unchecked will swamp all other issues, such as hunger, poverty, terrorism and the Iraq War.
End of Suburbia
What does Oil Peak mean for North America? As energy prices skyrocket in the coming years, how will the populations of suburbia react to the collapse of their dream? Are today’s suburbs destined to become the slums of tomorrow? And what can be done NOW, individually and collectively, to avoid The End of Suburbia? This film is sure to be a conversation starter!
Too Hot Not To Handle
Heat waves. Melting glaciers. Rising sea levels. Catastrophic storms. Migrating viruses. Population displacement. Over the past 100 years, the mass consumption of fossil fuels, especially in America, has contributed to a dangerous warming of the earth that has adversely impacted the way we live. The cautionary documentary Too Hot Not to Handle offers a guide to the effects of global warming in the United States.
Kilowatt Ours presents a plan for shifting America’s energy paradigm towards conservation and renewable power. This 65-minute documentary reveals the underreported side effects resulting from America’s voracious appetite for coal-generated electricity. Leaving the devastation behind, the story makes an uplifting turn, uncovering hope-filled examples of conservation, efficiency and renewable power at work today. Barrie makes the case that environmental problems could be minimized by utilizing alternative technologies that are available today.
With humor, chutzpah and a piece of vinyl siding firmly in hand, Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand and co-director and award-winning cinematographer Daniel B. Gold set out in search of the truth about polyvinyl chloride (PVC), America’s most popular plastic. They unearth the facts about PVC and its effects on human health and the environment. Helfand coaxes her parents into replacing their vinyl siding on the condition that she can find a healthy, affordable alternative. (And it has to look good!) A detective story, an eco-activism doc, and a rollicking comedy, BLUE VINYL puts a human face on the dangers posed by PVC
Out of Balance: ExxonMobil’s Impact on Climate Change
While the Earth’s climate is pushed further out of balance by increasing use of fossil fuels, the largest company in the world, ExxonMobil, continues to make record profits and ignore climate science. Out of Balance offers challenging, large-scale ideas for the global social changes that must take place if there’s any chance of having a livable planet for future generations.
Who Killed the Electric Car?
Running solely on electricity, General Motors’ fleet of EV1 electric vehicles were so efficient, they were on the brink of altering the future of driving in America—perhaps even the world. So why were they all destroyed?
Dimming the Sun
A stunning investigation reveals that the amount of sunlight reaching Earth is dropping—a big surprise given international concern over global warming. Less sunlight might hardly seem to matter when our planet is stewing in greenhouse gases, but the earth’s climate may heating up much faster than most previous predictions.
The Next Industrial Revolution
First Place Winner, EarthVision 2003 Environmental Film & Video Festival
“This film is an inspirational look at a hopeful vision of the future. It does an excellent job of presenting both theory and real world examples of a design revolution that has the potential to re-make our world.”
–James Gustave Speth, Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
The Power of Community
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, Cuba’s economy went into a tailspin. With imports of oil cut by more than half – and food by 80 percent – people were desperate. This film tells of the hardships and struggles as well as the community and creativity of the Cuban people during this difficult time. Cubans share how they transitioned from a highly mechanized, industrial agricultural system to one using organic methods of farming and local, urban gardens. It is an unusual look into the Cuban culture during this economic crisis, which they call “The Special Period.” The film opens with a short history of Peak Oil, a term for the time in our history when world oil production will reach its all-time peak and begin to decline forever. Cuba, the only country that has faced such a crisis – the massive reduction of fossil fuels – is an example of options and hope.
After two decades of research, computer modeling and miles of ancient glaciers melting away, most scientists around the world agree that human behavior is causing global warming and it is happening faster than ever anticipated.
Policy makers around the globe are now more than ever looking incredulously at the United States and waiting for some action; if the U.S. as a nation and a government does not aggressively cut greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade, the problem of climate change will eventually dwarf all other economic and social problems. Inaction by the U.S. places everyone else on the planet in jeopardy.
Strange Days on Planet Earth–The One Degree Factor
Dust clouds are building high over the Atlantic. An entire population of caribou is declining, while other species are pushed to the limits of their physical survival in the oceans. A respiratory illness, once uncommon among children in Trinidad, is now widespread. Amazingly, many scientists now believe these disparate phenomena may be linked to global climate change.
Empty Oceans/Empty Nets–The Race to Save Our Marine Fisheries.
Empty Oceans, Empty Nets explores the marine fisheries crisis and the pioneering efforts of fishermen, scientists and communities to sustain and restore these fisheries and our oceans. An ongoing international debate surrounds the complex problems and how best to solve them. Understanding why some fisheries are thriving while most are in serious decline may be the key to averting an impending food crisis.
Rising Waters, Global Warming and the Fate of the Pacific Islands
The seven million inhabitants of the Pacific Islands have already experienced the first effects of global warming. Elevated water temperatures, violent storms and rising sea levels are beginning to destroy delicate ecosystems, forcing islanders to consider leaving their homes and communities. Cultures that have thrived for centuries are threatened with extinction.
Tracing the impacts of climate change from the tropical Pacific to the island of Manhattan, Rising Waters: Global Warming and the Fate of the Pacific Islands examines international policies and the lives of those most urgently affected by the global warming debate.
A Christians for the Mountains Feature Film confronts the abusive practice of Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining. Filmmaker B. J. Gudmundsson uses photography and personal stories to create an epiphany – a personal awakening – as nature’s beauty is starkly contrasted with scenes of ruin. Powerful narration is supported by traditional gospel and Appalachian Music to tell this story of tragedy and hope. Mountain Mourning calls upon Christians and their churches to summons moral courage and effective advocacy that will bring healing and justice to this land and its people.
Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action
Nearly all Indian lands in the U.S. face grave environmental threats – toxic waste, strip mining, oil drilling and nuclear contamination. But a handful of activists are fighting back
Filmed against some of America’s most spectacular backdrops, from Alaska to Maine and Montana to New Mexico, Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action profiles the against-all-odds struggles of Native American leaders who are taking on powerful energy companies and government agencies to protect the environment for all Americans. A moving tribute to the power of grassroots organizing, Homeland is also a call-to-action against the current dismantling of thirty years of environmental laws.
Environmentalist Leanne Allison and wildlife biologist Karsten Heuer follow a herd of 120,000 caribou on foot, across 1,500 kilometers of rugged Arctic tundra. The husband-and-wife team wants to raise awareness of threats to the caribou’s survival. They let the caribou guide them through a wild and remote landscape, from the central Yukon to coastal Alaska and back. During the five-month journey, they ski and hike across mountains, swim icy rivers, brave Arctic weather and endure hordes of mosquitoes.
Smog, oil spills, soil contamination, DDT, the ozone layer—the technological revolution has exacted a high price; one ultimately paid by our deteriorating environment. At first, it was thought pollution was simply a “natural” byproduct of progress, but it soon became apparent that something must be done. As more of the environment faced serious contamination, corporations were held accountable for disrupting the world’s ecological structure.
Endangered Planet explores the sad truths resulting from the collision between industry and the natural order and reveals why big business was allowed to ravage the earth unchecked. Today, legal limitations and environmental activism have helped, but has progress arrived too late to protect the world’s population?
Earth on the Edge, Bill Moyers
Every day brings news of human beings’ impact on the life-support system known as Earth. But what is the truth behind the headlines? In 1999, an international group of more than 70 scientists analyzed the condition of the five ecosystems on which all life most heavily depends — freshwater, agriculture, forests, grasslands, and coastal ecosystems. Their findings are the scientific basis for Earth on Edge, which premiered on PBS June 19th, 2001 at 8 P.M. The program presents the findings of scientists who are studying the health of our world, as well as stories of ordinary people working to restore the health and well-being of the ecosystems they—and ultimately all of us—depend on.
Master of the Arctic Ice
Journey to the top of the world to witness first-hand how the planet’s changing climate is affecting the creatures that inhabit the icy Arctic. See how the quickly-melting Arctic ice affects the survival skills of ringed seals, polar bears, and narwhals. These Arctic creatures have become masters at negotiating the perils of this frozen world…but their dependence on the ice is also their greatest vulnerability. National Geographic’s Crittercam technology provides a never-before-seen perspective on this changing world. See how the resourceful creatures of the Arctic are learning to adapt from their own point of view.