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Films

Looking for an environmental film to show at your next event or in class?  Browse through this list that is organized by themes for a few ideas.  Have a documentary that should be added to this list?  Let us know!

Climate Change

TitleLength (Minutes)Synopsis
"Heat"120A global investigation into climate change focused on the question "Can we roll back global warming?" Martin Smith travels to 12 countries on 4 continents to investigate whether major corporations and governments are taking measures to respond to climate change. The film features in-depth interviews with policy-makers and leading executives from carbon emitters from around the world, including Chinese coal companies, Indian SUV makers and American oil giants. More information.
"An Inconvenient Truth"96"An Inconvenient Truth" focuses on Al Gore's efforts to educate the public about the severity of the climate crisis. The film documents a presentation that Gore has given around the world, discussing data and predictions regarding climate change and its potential for disaster. Gore examines the scientific opinion on climate change, as well as the present and future effects of global warming, describing the consequences he believes global climate change will produce if the amount of human-generated greenhouse gases is not significantly reduced in the very near future. Challenges and inspirations from Gore's personal life are woven throughout the film. More information.
"Everything's Cool"89"Everything's Cool" is a film about America's understanding of global warming amid the chasm between scientific understanding and political action. A group of global warming messengers set out to find what will finally move the United States from its reliance on fossil fuels to the new clean energy economy. The film takes viewers around the country from 2003-2007 with commentary from Bill McKibben, Ross Gelbspan, Dr. Heidi Cullen, Michael Shellenberger, Ted Nordhause, Rick Piltz, and Bish Neuhouser. More information.
"Too Hot Not to Handle"53"Too Hot Not To Handle" features contributions from leading scientists and in-depth discussions of the greenhouse effect, hurricanes, snowpack, hybrid vehicles, and alternative power sources. Over the past century, consumption of carbon dioxide-emitting fossil fuels has risen to staggering levels, especially in the United States. This film offers evidence that the greenhouse effect is intensifying and the Earth is warming faster than at any other time in human history, and features stories of how businesses, local governments, and citizens are taking positive actions to reduce global warming emissions. More information.
"Six Degrees Could Change the World"96Driven by speculation that planet Earth's average temperature could rise as much as six degrees Celsius by the year 2100, filmmakers at National Geographic speculate about the effects that each new degree would have on both mankind and the world we live in. By highlighting the effects of global warming on areas such as the Amazonian rainforests and the ice fields of Greenland, experts offer insight into the possibility that man's quest for energy could ultimately bring about our downfall unless humans explore technology and other methods to try to prevent the planet from overheating. More information.

Energy

TitleLength (Minutes)Synopsis
"The End of Suburbia"78A documentary which examines the rise of the suburban lifestyle, the costs to the Earth and the economy of our current living habits, where we may be headed, and how this situation can be remedied. The film is hosted by Canadian broadcaster Barrie Zwicker and features discussions with James Howard Kunstler, Peter Calthorpe, Michael Klare, Richard Heinberg, Matthew Simmons, Michael Ruppert, Julian Darley, Colin Campbell, Kenneth Deffeyes, Ali Samsam Bakhtiari and Steve Andrews. More information.
"Kilowatt Ours"56"Kilowatt Ours" is a film designed to educate the general public regarding where electricity comes from, why it is important that we reduce the amount of electricity we use, and practical steps we can take as individuals, families and organizations to cut our electrical use. Examples of significant energy savings are drawn from the filmmaker' s own apartment, from other homeowners, from school districts, cities, and large businesses. Produced by Jeff Barrie and Southern Energy Conservation Initiative, the film suggests connections between an average homeowner's electrical energy use and adverse health and environmental impacts, including mountain top removal coal mining, global warming, and asthma. More information.
"Wired: A Day in the Life of Energy"--"Wired: A Day in the Life of Energy" is a journey into the energy system, following energy as it travels from a variety of generation points, to the “grid,” across high voltage transmission lines, and eventually into our homes. Viewers discover the problems associated with traditional energy sources and marvel clean, renewable alternatives that are available now, through tours in wind-powered communities and rides in electric and hydrogen-powered cars. More information.
"Who Killed the Electric Car?"93A documentary film that explores the creation, limited commercialization, and subsequent destruction of the battery electric vehicle in the United States, specifically the General Motors EV1 of the early 1990s. The film explores the roles of automobile manufacturers, the oil industry, the U.S. government, the Californian government, batteries, hydrogen vehicles, and consumers in limiting the development and adoption of this technology. More information.
"A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash"85"A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash" explores key historical events, data and predictions regarding the global peak in petroleum production through interviews with petroleum geologists, former OPEC officials, energy analysts, politicians, and political analysts. The film contains contemporary footage interspersed with news and commercial footage from the growth heyday of petroleum production, focusing on information and testimony that supports the projection of a near-term oil production peak. Human dependence on oil and the challenges we would face in dealing with the possibility of a world without cheap oil are discussed. Interviewees include energy investment banking CEO Matthew Simmons, petroleum geologist Dr. Colin Campbell, former OPEC Secretary-General Fadhil Chalabi, among many others. More information.
"Energy Crossroads"55A documentary exposing the problems associated with energy consumption and offering concrete solutions for those who want to educate themselves on energy and be part of the solution. The film features individuals, entrepreneurs, experts and scientists at the forefront of their respective fields to bring legitimacy and expertise to the production. More information.
"Escape from Suburbia: Beyond the American Dream"95Director Gregory Greene addresses the coning energy crisis caused by peak oil. He outlines potential solutions with individuals from across the continent who were brave enough to challenge their communities toward change. More information...

Corporate America

TitleLength (Minutes)Synopsis
"The Corporation"145The documentary shows the development of the contemporary business corporation. The "personalities" of business corporations are examined, focusing mainly on North American corporations, especially those in the United States. The film examines and criticizes corporate business practices and establishes parallels, between corporate misbehavior and the DSM-IV's symptoms of psychopathy. More information.

Environment

TitleLength (Minutes)Synopsis
"Earth of Edge"116In 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 this film, which also presents the stories of ordinary people working to restore the health and well-being of the ecosystems life depends on. More information.
"Journey to Planet Earth"--The programs in the "Journey to Planet Earth" series explore the relationship between people and the world they inhabit. A common thread runs throughout all the programs: the necessity to achieve a balance between the needs of people and the needs of the environment. Loss of farmland to urban development, the pollution of the rivers, and inadequate housing and water resources for those living in the world’s largest cities are just some of the topics covered in this series. More information.
"Natural Connections"46This film features interviews with scientists, photographs or nature, and original music to highlight the importance of maintaining biodiversity, if humans want to survive and thrive on our home planet. Natural Connections discusses the concepts of biodiversity, and takes a close-up look at salmon, rainforests, and marine ecosystems as examples. Among those interviewed are Harvard’s Edward O. Wilson, known as the “father of biodiversity”; Dr. Robert Paine, who coined the phrase “keystone species”; and forester Dr. Jerry Franklin. More information.

Food Systems

TitleLength (Minutes)Synopsis
"Future of Food"88Documentary that investigates unlabelled, patented, genetically-engineered foods that have made their way into grocery stores in the United States. The film shares the opinions of farmers in disagreement with the food industry and the impacts on their lives and livelihoods from these foods. The market and political forces that are changing what we eat are also reviewed. Potential global dependence of the human race on a limited number of global food corporations is discussed, as is the increased risk of ecological disasters resulting from the reduction of biological diversity due to corporate-sponsored monoculture farming. More information.
"Food, Inc."91The film examines large-scale agricultural food production in the United States, concluding that the meat and vegetables produced by this type of economic enterprise have many hidden costs and are unhealthy and environmentally-harmful. The film is narrated by Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser, two long-time critics of the industrial production of food. Food, Inc. examines the industrial production of meat (chicken, beef, and pork), grains, and vegetables (primarily corn and soy beans), labelling them as economically and environmentally unsustainable. The film's final segment is about the economic and legal power of major food companies, whose livelihoods are based on supplying cheap but contaminated food, the heavy use of petroleum-based chemicals (largely pesticides and fertilizers), and the promotion of unhealthy food consumption habits by the American public. More information.

Population

TitleLength (Minutes)Synopsis
"The People Paradox" (World in the Balance Series)120In the "The People Paradox" portion of the series World in the Balance, NOVA investigates three countries where social and economic forces have produced starkly different population profiles. In India, women still bear an average of three to four children. Within a few decades the country will overtake China as the world's most populous nation. Traditional cultural pressures to produce male offspirng have resulted in unhealthy pregnancies. While India's population has large numbers of youth and a small numbers of elderly, Japan's has more people over 60 than under 20. Concerned about paying pensions and decaying economic productivity, the government is using incentives such as bonuses to encourage women to have more children. Yet increasing numbers of Japanese women are declaring their independence from marriage and motherhood to pursue professional careers. In sub-Saharan Africa, adults between the ages of 20 and 60 are dying in the prime of life, largely due to AIDS, leaving the very old and young to fend for themselves. More information.
"Planet in Peril"180CNN's Anderson Cooper, Sanjay Gupta and Animal Planet's Jeff Corwin investigate the current state of our planet, focusing on four major areas: global warming, overpopulation, deforestation and species loss. They report from various locations including Alaska, Brazil, Madagascar, Southeast Asia, and Yellowstone National Park, examining the effects of population growth, rising temperatures, poaching and illegal wildlife trade, among others, on the global environment. More information.
"Home"93Directed by photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand and narrated by Glenn Close, "Home" discusses climate change and the human population's impact on the earth through the aerial footage from over fifty countries. More information.
"Global Village or Global Pillage?"27Whether we like it or not, the global economy now affects us as consumers, as workers, as citizens, and as members of the human family. For those with wealth and power, the global economy has meant big benefits. But what does it mean for the rest of us? Are we destined to be its victims? Or can we shape its future – and our own? Global Village or Global Pillage? shows constructive ways ordinary people around the world are addressing the impact of globalization on their communities, workplaces and environments. It weaves together video of local and transnational activities, interviews, music, and original video comics to show that, through grassroots organizing combined with mutual support around the world, ordinary people can empower themselves to deal with the global economy. Global Village or Global Pillage? is narrated by Emmy winning actor Ed Asner and animated by international labor cartoonist Mike Konopacki. It features anti-sweatshop activist Charles Kernaghan, consumer advocate Ralph Nader, and a cast of billions.More information...

Sustainability

TitleLength (Minutes)Synopsis
"The 11th Hour"95With contributions from over 50 politicians, scientists, and environmental activists, including former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, physicist Stephen Hawking, Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai, and journalist Paul Hawken, the film documents the problems facing the planet's life systems. Global warming, deforestation, mass species extinction, and depletion of the oceans' habitats are all addressed. The film's premise is that the future of humanity is in jeopardy. Potential solutions to these problems through reshaping and rethinking of global human activity through technology, social responsibility and conservation are also discussed. More information.
"Designing the New World: Turning Crisis into Potential"--"Designing the New World" aims to inspire new and old generations to rethink and redesign the way humans live their lives personally, economically, environmentally, and globally. More information.
"e2: The Economies of Being Environmentally Conscious"--"e2" is a PBS series about the innovators and pioneers who envision a better quality of life on earth: socially, culturally, economically and ecologically. More information.
"The Next Industrial Revolution"55Bill McDonough and Michael Braungart offer a vision of the future where humanity works with nature and where technical enterprises are continually reinvented as safe and ever renewing natural processes. Shot in Europe and the United States, the film explores how businesses are transforming themselves to work with nature while simultaneously enhancing profitability. More information.
"So Right So Smart"--This film argues that as awareness grows about the consequences of environmental disregard, the sustainability movement is gathering momentum, and corporations are being asked by customers to take the lead. Those ahead of the curve already realize that there is a way for industry to permanently coexist with the environment, that fitting into natural systems is smarter than trying to control them, and that sustainability is a profit frontier yet to be explored. More information.
"Strange Days on Planet Earth"240A four part television program narrated by Edward Norton on PBS concerning human impact on the environment. Topics discussed include: invasive species and their ecological and economic impacts; climate change, drought in Africa, dust clouds over the Atlantic, and respiratory problems in Trinidad; the role that predators play in natural ecosystems; and polluted waters and their effects around the world. More information.
"Waste = Food"51The theory of ecologically intelligent design argues that manufacturers' products, when discarded, should either be completely recyclable or become biodegradable food for the Biosphere. "Waste = Food" explores the revolutionary "cradle to cradle" concept through interviews with its leading proponents, William McDonough and Michael Braungart. Their ideas are increasingly being embraced by major corporations and governments worldwide, unleashing a new, ecologically-inspired industrial revolution. The film shows how their "intelligent product system," utilizing completely non-toxic and sustainable-production methods, has been adapted by major corporations, around the world. Manufacturers discuss the concept of "eco-effectiveness," designing for eco-safety as well as cost efficiency, in their respective industries. "Waste = Food" also depicts McDonough's environmentally sound architectural designs, where buildings function like trees, and become part of nature rather than conflict with it. More information.
"The Power of One"127The Power of One is an intriguing story of a young English boy named Peekay and his passion for changing the world. Growing up he suffered as the only English boy in an Afrikaans school. Soon orphaned, he was placed in the care of a German national named Professor von Vollensteen (a.k.a. "Doc"), a friend of his grandfather. Doc develops Peekay's piano talent and Peekay becomes "assistant gardener" in Doc's cactus garden. It is not long after WWII begins that Doc is placed in prison for failure to register with the English government as a foreigner. Peekay makes frequent visits and meets Geel Piet, an inmate, who teaches him to box. Geel Piet spreads the myth of the Rainmaker, the one who brings peace to all of the tribes. Peekay is cast in the light of this myth. After the war Peekay attends an English private school where he continues to box. He meets a young girl, Maria, with whom he falls in love. Her father, Professor Daniel Marais, is a leader of the Nationalist Party of South Africa. The two fight to teach the natives English as Peekay's popularity grows via the myth. Peekay loses focus until he sees the success of his language school among the tribes. He and Guideon Duma continue the work in hopes of building a better future for Africa.More information...

Waste

TitleLength (Minutes)Synopsis
"Affluenza/Escape from Affluenza"56"Escape from Affluenza" is a PBS special providing practical solutions to the problem of “affluenza,” an epidemic of stress, waste, overconsumption and environmental decay. This piece shows how some Americans are changing their consumer habits as a result. The program is a sequel to the popular special, "Affluenza." More information.
"Blue Vinyl"97A documentary film that follows one woman's quest for an environmentally-sound cladding for her parents' house in Merrick, Long Island, New York. It also investigates the many negative health effects of polyvinyl chloride, its production, use and disposal, focusing on the communities of Lake Charles and Mossville, Louisiana, and Venice, Italy. More information.
"The Story of Stuff"20"The Story of Stuff" reveals to viewers the real costs of consumer driven culture from resource extraction to product disposal. Narrated by Annie Leonard, this film examines how economic policies of the post-World War II era ushered in notions of “planned obsolescence” and “perceived obsolescence” —and how these notions are still driving much of the U.S. and global economies today. More information.
"Trashed"13"Trashed" investigates the garbage industry and what our society defines as "waste." The film examines the effects of waste on natural resources and the consequences of garbage on the future of the Earth and sustainability. Individuals, activists, corporate and advocacy groups working to affect change and reform garbage disposal are also featured. More information.
"A World at Waste"30"A World At Waste" tells of an average man's journey into the future where Earth's natural resources have been consumed and polluted after he dumps his motor oil into a nearby river. More information.
"The Electronic Wasteland"13A short video in which Scott Pelley reports on where millions of computer monitors, cell phones and other electronic refuse society generates ends up.More information...

Water

TitleLength (Minutes)Synopsis
"Flow"84Documentary investigation into the world water crisis amidst the growing privatization of the world's dwindling fresh water supply. Flow focuses on politics, pollution, human rights, and the emergence of a world water cartel. Includes interviews with scientists and activists who discuss governmental and corporate forces involved in the crises. Practical solutions and new technologies to the water crises are also examined. More information.
"Thirst"62"Thirst" reveals how the debate over water rights between communities and corporations can serve as a catalyst for resistance to globalization through the stories of communities in Bolivia, India, and the United States. The film features: a debate between politicians, international bankers, and corporate executives in Bolivia in favor of large dams and privatized, corporate water systems, and experts and activists who assert that water is a human right, not a commodity to be traded on the open market; a California grassroots coalition that fights for control of their water system, concerned about price increases, water quality, and employee layoffs should control be turned over to global water corporations; and movement in India for water conservation that has revived rivers through their opposition to government efforts to sell water sources to companies like Coke and Pepsi. More information.