Environmental Films

From College8CoreWiki

Note: You can view most of these films (i.e., the ones with a call number like DVD222 or VT6062) in the Media Center downstairs in the McHenry Library Search holdings.

See Multimedia page for more video sources. For example, Snagfilms has many green documentaries, some from PBS. Grinning Planet list by category. See also San Francisco Green Film Festival (YouTube channel) (Facebook), listings for 2015), 2013. 2011. Also see green film festival in DC.


6 Must-See Movies About Climate Change 6.18 see Global Warming.

Netflix's recent documentary series, Rotten, tells the true and sometimes gruesome story of what goes on behind the scenes of global food production Rotten's first episode, Lawyers, Guns and Honey, digs deep into problems beyond the well-documented disappearance of bees and bee colonies. 3/18 see food and Bees.

The Serengeti Rules: Beginning in the 1960s, a small band of young scientists headed out into the wilderness, driven by an insatiable curiosity about how nature works. Immersed in some of the most remote and spectacular places on Earth—from the majestic Serengeti to the Amazon jungle; from the Arctic Ocean to Pacific tide pools—they discovered a single set of rules that govern all life.4/18. see Systems Thinking and Marine Mammals.

18 Documentaries That Will Inspire, Outrage and Mobilize 2/18.

Documentary Remembers Standing Rock in Beauty and Catastrophe 10/17 see Native Americans and activism.

In How to Let Go of the World and Love All The Things Climate Can't Change, Oscar Nominated director Josh Fox (GASLAND) continues in his deeply personal style, investigating climate changetrailer. 11/16 How to Let Go of the World and Love All The Things Climate Can't Change, from Academy Award nominated director Josh Fox (GASLAND.) interview) 9/16.

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING Inspired by Naomi Klein’s international non-fiction bestseller. Filmed over 211 days in nine countries and five continents over four years, is an epic attempt to re-imagine the vast challenge of climate change. ***

Merchants of Doubt (Trailer) audio interview) based on excellent Oreskes book, see global warming "debate" 3/15. **** highly recommended Creating doubt five min. overview of fake "debate" history. (video).

Why Just One? Help Save the World’s Last Dinosaur see Turtles.

This Must-See Documentary Shows the Future of Solar Power Is Here Today 3/16 see Solar.

Love the Oscars? You’ll Love These 6 Eco-Films Too 2/16.

In a new feature-length documentary, A Plastic Ocean, two explorers set out on a four-year global journey to learn about the increasingly devastating crisis of ocean plastic that has polluted our waterways, literally choked aquatic life and could spell major consequences for human health. 1/16.

Wolves Have Some of the Worst PR in the Animal World — This Short Film Sets the Record Straight 3/16 see Wolves.

DIVE! LIVING OFF AMERICA'S WASTE BY JEREMY SIEFERT (DVD) follows circle of friends as they dumpster dive in the back alleys and gated garbage receptacles of L.A.'s supermarkets. In the process they uncover thousands of dollars worth of good food and an ugly truth about waste in America: grocery stores know they are wasting and most refuse to do anything about it.

As featured in Overburden—a chilling mining term that refers to the overlying rock and soil displaced, like besieged residents and miners, to reach underground coal resources—these two former adversaries will stand together when Blankenship finally goes on trial on Oct. 1 in Charleston, West Virginia, for charges of conspiracy to violate mandatory federal mine safety and health standards relating to the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster, which took 29 lives. Overburden is ultimately an extraordinary story of transformation; of two brave women who recognize their fates no longer need to be divided by outside forces that have controlled the region for over a century through fear, deprivation and outright violence, and take action for a more viable future. see Coal.

Chloe & Theo: A Movie That Will Change the Way You Look at the World ***: the story of Theo, an Inuit from the Arctic, who travels from “the top of the Earth” to New York City with an important message for world leaders about the catastrophic impact climate change is having on his home. Upon arrival, he meets a fiery and fearless homeless girl Chloe and together they embark on an odyssey to save the world.

Film Shows "Pathology of Colonialism" Tearing Apart Nation: "We Come as Friends" depicts American investors, Chinese oilmen, United Nations officials and Christian missionaries struggling to shape Sudan according to their own visions. 8/15. see Colonialism.

Kimberly Levin’s gripping debut feature film RUNOFF is getting people talking about what goes into our food, the way we treat our land and water, and the ethical questions at the heart of everyday survival. 8/15.

Why Two Filmmakers Ate Nothing But Trash for Six Months see Food.

Cowspiracy: As California Faces Drought, Film Links Meat Industry to Water Scarcity & Climate Change 5/15, 55% of water in CA goes to meat and dairy, major cause of deforestation, thus wildlife loss.

RACING EXTINCTION: Academy Award-winning The Cove director Louie Psihoyos bears witness to another global problem—mankind's role in precipitating mass extinction See Bio-diversity.

The True Cost is a documentary about the clothing industry’s impact on the world, particularly its horrendous working conditions and poverty wages for its employees and its devastating toll on the environment. “The price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically,” says the film.

a new film, The OceanMaker, 3D animated short film which highlights how precious our water resources are. The film, which has appeared in many film festivals including SXSW, is set in a dystopian future where the seas have vanished and a young female pilot has to battle sky pirates for the last of the remaining water residing in the clouds.

The Human Experiment, a new documentary narrated by Sean Penn and directed by journalists Dana Nachman and Don Hardy, takes a wide-angle view on the health risks perpetuated by the chemical industry, and demonstrates how in their eyes we’re all just guinea pigs available for testing. 4/15 see Chemicals.

Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah is one of the largest independent film festivals in the world, attracting some 50,000 attendees, created by eco-hero Robert Redford]; One of the standouts premiering at the festival is Racing Extinction. There have been five mass extinctions in the history of our planet and we may be in the midst of a sixth. We could lose up to half the world’s species and humans are to blame. Another must-see film that screened at Sundance is How to Change the World, about the founding of Greenpeace.

New PBS series: UCSC alum M. Sanjayan (biology Ph.D., '97), executive vice president and senior scientist for Conservation International and host of EARTH A New Wild, will give the Alumni Weekend keynote in a talk entitled, "A New Wild: Saving Nature in a Human-Dominated World."

Nick Hornby’s film adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s blockbuster memoir, Wild.

Virunga is a 2014 British documentary film directed by Orlando von Einsiedel; it focuses on the conservation work of rangers within Virunga National Park, and the activity of a British company, Soco International, which began exploring for oil within the UNESCO World Heritage site in April 2014. The film has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

A recent documentary, Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, asks why most leading environmental organizations are ignoring a leading cause of environmental damage.] 10/14.

“Pump the Movie" punctures the current petro-fantasy, a domestically significant, but globally marginal, increase in U.S. production of light-tight oil means the end to concerns about over reliance on petroleum 9/14 see Oil.

Years of Living Dangerously, the documentary series on climate change, explicitly addresses people resistant to acknowledging global warming, such as religion. episode 1.YouTube channel.

The Microtopia documentary explores the ideas of moving toward a more reasonable and appropriate approach to lower-impact living, especially in a world that's increasingly focused on mobile and portable solutions.

Mountainfilm in Telluride, one of America’s longest-running film festivals, features a fantastic lineup of environmental films. EcoWatch has been featuring festival films all week, including Mission Blue, Sylvia Earle’s plan to save the ocean; the world premier of Dear Governor Hickenlooper, a collection of documentary films providing a new perspective on fracking and clean energy; and Wrenched, a film that “captures the passing of the monkey wrench from the pioneers of eco-activism to the new generation which will carry Edward Abbey’s legacy into the 21st century.” (many more).

The Farmer And The Chef: People around the world know Manresa by its stellar reputation, but few know of Love Apple Farms, the biodynamic farm that almost exclusively provides Chef David Kinch with produce and inspiration. Cynthia Sandberg, the eponymous farmer, details her transition from lawyer to proprietor of an 80-acre project nestled in the Santa Cruz hills.

SlingShot is intimate and inspirational portrait of Segway inventor, Dean Kamen, and his 15-year quest to solve the world’s safe water crisis. See Eco-heroes.

Dow hires private security firm to spy on Bhopal activists. New documentary, Bhopali (trailer.)

Tim DeChristopher,(profiled in the recent documentary, Bidder 70), famously bid on public lands in Utah to prevent their sale to gas and oil companies, and served two years in federal prison for his actions. His civil disobedience, though spontaneous, ultimately caused the cancellation of the auction sales. see eco-heroes.

'After The Fish Are Gone' Documentary Depicts Plight Of World Fisheries (VIDEO). See also Overfishing.

"The Act of Killing": New Film Shows U.S.-Backed Indonesian Death Squad Leaders Re-enacting Massacres. See also Human Rights

'Blackfish' Documentary Looks At Tilikum And SeaWorld's Other Captive Whales. 7/13. See also Marine Mammals.

New documentary: More then Honey. 6/13

Rebels with a Cause follows “ordinary citizens who did extraordinary things” in the second half of the 20th century to preserve the natural landscape of Point Reyes from urbanization.

Trashed: Follow Jeremy Irons on an emotional journey that looks closely at the consequences of our ever-growing piles of trash. From vast landscapes in China to a small boat in the North Pacific, Irons guides us through beautiful landscapes that are being ruined by our wasteful habits. At the same time as exposing the consequences of our over-consumption, writer/director Candida Brady has gone in search of solutions. Trashed profiles San Francisco’s rush to zero waste.

Promised Land, with Matt Damon, is about fracking.

Robert Redford joins a host of diverse voices in debating the need and purpose of wilderness in a visually stunning new documentary "Wilderness: The Great Debate" short previews.

Sandra Steingraber (see Eco-heroes) is internationally recognized authority on the environment links to cancer and human health. Steingraber’s highly acclaimed book, Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment presents cancer as a human rights issue. A film is being made based on the book. Here's an interview with her about that (audio 5/10). Video documentary.

Occupied Cascadia is people taking Ecotopia seriously, building local community on bio-regional principles.

The Bay, director Barry Levinson’s spookily plausible exercise in old-school cautionary eco-freakout.

Edible City (online)is a fun, fast-paced journey through the Local Good Food movement that's taking root in the San Francisco Bay Area, across the nation and around the world. Introducing a diverse cast of extraordinary and eccentric characters who are challenging the paradigm of our broken food system, Edible City digs into their unique perspectives and transformative work, finding hopeful solutions to monumental problems.

Shadowlands is a Greenpeace presentation of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the displaced people, and the human cost of a serious nuclear accident.

Blue Ocean Film festival Monterey 9/24-30.

The Island President(synopsis) is the story of President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives, a man confronting a problem greater than any other world leader has ever faced—the literal survival of his country and everyone in it. After bringing democracy to the Maldives after thirty years of despotic rule, Nasheed is now faced with an even greater challenge: as one of the most low-lying countries in the world, a rise of three feet in sea level would submerge the 1200 islands of the Maldives enough to make them uninhabitable. He was forced out in a coup. (trailer).

Detropia What makes the dreamscape of Detropia so powerful is the fact that it’s rooted in reality. Throughout the film (whose name is a mashup of “Detroit” and “dystopia”), the directors drop a succession of shocking facts: Every 20 minutes, another family moves out of Detroit. In 1930, Detroit was the fastest growing city in America; it is now the fastest shrinking. In the last 10 years, Michigan has lost 50 percent of all its manufacturing jobs. The geographic areas of Boston, San Francisco, and Manhattan can fit within the city limits of Detroit, yet the city itself has fewer people than Fort Worth, Texas.

More Than Honey offers an extreme close-up of the life of bees. He films bees at a stunning micro level as they mate mid-air, emerge from cocoons and inject honey into honeycomb cells. He also visits beekeepers around the world and dispenses poetic perspectives on the nature of bees.

The National Ocean Policy is being debated and discussed in Congress. Its issues are explored in a new video Ocean Frontiers: The Dawn of a New Era in Ocean Stewardship.

Otter 501 trailer) is a new documentary. video clip

Micha Peled’s documentary Bitter Seeds the final film in Peled’s “globalization trilogy,” exposes the havoc Monsanto has wreaked on rural farming communities in India, and serves as a fierce rebuttal to the claim that genetically modified seeds can save the developing world.

Who Killed Judi Bari?

On water: Last Call at the Oasis, Participant Media’s new film about the global water crisis. review.

My Village, My Lobster tells the harrowing story of an industry and a Guatemalan community in crisis.

The Economics of Happiness shows how globalization breeds cultural self-rejection, competition and divisiveness; how it structurally promotes the growth of slums and urban sprawl; how it is decimating democracy. The second half of The Economics of Happiness provides not only inspiration, but practical solutions. Arguing that economic localization is a strategic solution multiplier that can solve our most serious problems, the film spells out the policy changes needed to enable local businesses to survive and prosper.

PLANEAT is the story of three men's life-long search for a diet which is good for our health, good for the environment ...exploring the link between diet and disease, investigations into how our food choices contribute to global warming, land use and oceanic deadzones.

Urban Roots is a new documentary on farming in Detroit. 3/12

Plant This Movie about urban farming around the world.

The Whale, the story of Luna, the playful, inquisitive young orca who got separated from his pod and made friends with the humans in Vancouver’s Nootka Sound.

A Fierce Green Fire on the American Green movement ."A Fierce Green Fire" video documentery traces the history of the modern environmental movement, chronicling dramatic battles like the Sierra Club's fight against dams in the Grand Canyon, Greenpeace's campaign to save whales and recent efforts to combat climate change. San Francisco-based director Mark Kitchell, who also made the Academy Award-nominated "Berkeley in the Sixties," (audio interview). (we saw a different film, Green Fire in Plenary on Wendell Berry).

New Documentary: Thorium Dream (an alternative to conventional nuclear).

Food Stamped2010 documentary in which a couple with kids live on a food stamp budget for a week.

Our Daily PoisonAccording to the World Health Organization, the incidence of cancer has doubled over the last thirty years (after allowing for the population aging factor). Over this period, the increase in leukemia and brain tumors in children has been around 2% per year. The WHO has observed a similar trend for neurological diseases (Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s) and autoimmune disorders, and for reproduction dysfunctions. What explanations can be found for this worrying epidemic, which is hitting the “developed” countries particularly hard? Haunted by that question, director Marie-Monique Robin launches an in-depth investigation into everyday products and the system charged with regulating them.

Semper Fi: Always Faithful follows a master sgt's mission to expose the Marine Corps and force them to live up to their motto to the thousands of soldiers and their families exposed to toxic chemical at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune and a looming environmental crisis at military sites across the country. 10/11

Highrise "What does citizenship mean in a transnational, globalised context? One Millionth Tower, the latest strand of the multi-media, multi- award-winning HIGHRISE project teams a group of highrise residents in Toronto with architects and animators to re-imagine their surroundings and transform their dilapidated highrise neighborhood into a vibrant, resident-led community. "Using cutting-edge open-source technology, this interactive documentary enables a 3D storytelling environment within a web browser, incorporating the magic of cinema, architecture and animation. A hyper-local story with a global resonance in its vision for a more human-friendly urban planet – and world wide web."

New documentary Cape Spin on the Cape Wind project, the largest offshore in US 8/11. link w/ trailer.

Fredrik Gertten's (sued for defamation) Bananasis about workers who were made sterile because of Dole's use of a banned pesticide.

Lixin Fan's film The Last Train Home is about Chinese migrant labor. (Trailer) (try to ignore the really exploitative ad).

The Santa Cruz Film festival showed a number of green films: If a Tree FallsPBS POV: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, Ecology of Mind is a documentary on Gregory Bateson, an important systems thinker who taught at UCSC. Also Delicious Peace Grows in a Ugandan Coffee Bean, Bhopali, also Carbon Nation, as well as A Road Not Taken about the solar panels on the White House.

Salmon: Running the Gauntlet. PBS

Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me) dives into the hidden but influential world of brand marketing, on his quest to make a completely sponsored film about sponsorship. The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.

In Carbon Nation, "director Peter Byck covers an impressively wide range of ground within his film's compact running time as he introduces us to a stirring cross-section of pioneers, researchers and innovators committed to helping the world reduce its carbon footprint."

The Wild and Scenic Film Festival has a great list. So does Sundance independent film festival.

Grinning Planet's list of new films

The Economics of Happiness describes a world moving simultaneously in two opposing directions. On the one hand, government and big business continue to promote globalization and the consolidation of corporate power. At the same time, all around the world people are resisting those policies, demanding a re-regulation of trade and finance—and, far from the old institutions of power, they’re starting to forge a very different future. Communities are coming together to re-build more human scale, ecological economies based on a new paradigm – an economics of localization.

Revenge of the Electric Car is a sequel to Who Killed the Electric Car?

The Last Mountain, directed by Bill Haney, shines a light on the dark side of our use of coal in the U.S. The film begins with the scary statistic that half of all the electricity used in the U.S. comes from burning coal, which is also the number one source of greenhouse gases globally. It then takes us to Appalachia, where 30 percent of U.S. coal is extracted through mountaintop removal.

If A Tree Falls traces how the Earth Liberation Front, known for setting fires to draw attention to their cause, became a more intense target for the FBI after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. interview. PBS POV.

Oscar-nominated documentary ‘Waste Land’ explores art made from the world’s largest garbage dump.

Birdsong & Coffee: A Wake Up Call. Coffee drinkers will be astonished to learn that they hold in their hands the fate of farm families, farming communities, and entire ecosystems in coffee-growing regions like Costa Rica. In this film we hear from UCSC experts and students, from coffee lovers and bird lovers, and-most importantly-from coffee farmers themselves.

Slow the Flow brings to life practices and projects that individuals and communities have created to steward our watersheds and slow down the flow of stormwater, one of the largest contributors of pollution into our waterways.

Dirty Business: "Clean Coal" and the Battle for Our Energy Future. (review) Link

Gary Snyder Beat poet, now the subject of a film The Practice of the Wild

Inside Job is a documentary about the financial crisis. Audio interview. See also Heist: Who Stole the American Dream?

Colony -- No Bees. No Honey. No Work. No Money investigates colony collapse. Also Vanishing of the Bees its trailer

"Just Do It," about "environmental extremism" -- climate activists who are willing to risk beatings and arrest to stop environmentally catastrophic projects. Just Do It lifts the lid on climate activism and the daring troublemakers who have crossed the line to become modern-day outlaws. More

The Battle In Seattle is not a documentary of the 1999 WTO protest.

Collapse "In an avant-garde soliloquy, investigative journalist Michael Ruppert details his unnerving theories about the inexorable link between energy depletion and the collapse of the economic system that supports the entire industrial world. Helmed by filmmaker Chris Smith (American Movie), Ruppert's monologue explains how the lies and political propaganda fed to Americans by big business will eventually lead to human extinction." review 2009 Trailer

Tapped, a new documentary about the bottled water industry from director Stephanie Soechtig and the producers of Who Killed the Electric Car?, is a pretty damning look at how consumers have been tricked into spending too much money on water packaged in plastic and quite often not as clean as what's available from the faucet.trailer

Fresh (The Movie) about food production trailer

Unnatural Causes is a seven hour documentary on environmental justice shown on PBS. Extensive coverage of Native Americans, food, diabetes and asthma.

Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action.

The Yes Men (one of whom spoke at UCSC's ESLP course) impersonate corporate executives in order to highlight abuses. Their newest film is Yes Men Fix the World see also Commonwealth Club talk.

‘Obselidia,’ a love story involving a man who is trying to compile an encyclopedia of obsolete things. When the characters are confronted with the possibility of a planetwide catastrophe due to climate change, they must come to terms with ideas of progress, obsolescence, and extinction. The film won the Alfred P. Sloan Award at this year’s Sundance film festival. audio

Earth Days is a fantastic history of the American Environmental Movement. ****

Groundbreaking filmmaker Josh Fox takes a closer look at natural gas drilling and fracking and their effects on communities in his award-winning documentary Gasland. After Fox was offered $100,000 to lease his land to a drilling company, he set off on a cross-country journey to investigate the environmental risks of fracking. During his 24-state trek, he uncovers alarming facts about the natural gas industry, health problems as a result from this contamination and (not surprisingly) loopholes in federal environmental regulation. HBO trailer

Power Paths offers a unique glimpse into the global energy crisis from the perspective of a culture pledged to protect the planet, historically exploited by corporate interests and neglected by public policy makers. The film follows an intertribal coalition as they fight to transform their local economies by replacing coal mines and smog-belching power plants with renewable energy technologies.

Human Footprint (2008) 90 min. What makes up an average human life today and how everything we do has impact on the world around us? In a playful, surprising and thought-provoking portrait of our time on earth, National Geographic demonstrates, in a series of remarkable visuals, what makes up an average human life today and how everything we do has impact on the world around us. In this unique journey through life, it shows all the people you will ever know, how much waste you will produce, the amount of fuel you’ll consume and how much you’ve got to pack in during your 2,475,526,000 seconds on earth.

Food Inc. Interview with director (video). Reading list

Into Eternity is a documentary on Finland's Yucca Mountain nuke repository. audio interview

Fighting Goliath follows the story of farmers, ranchers and Mayors fighting against the construction of 18 new coal-burning power plants in Texas. TXU Corp. withdrew eight of the 11 permit applications shortly before the case went to court, when it was announced that shareholders would sell the utility to private equity firms.

Three new films on oil Dirty Oil, also Crude and Fuel. Crude traces the story of a lawsuit brought by 30,000 rural Ecuadorians against Chevron, which denies responsibility for turning their traditional rainforest home into a dumping ground for crude oil waste, sickening and killing generations of people. The makers are currently under legal attack; you can help (update))And Fuel (highly recommended) follows director Josh Tickell on his quest to convert the world to biofuels extensive interview.

Blind Spot is a documentary film that illustrates the current oil and energy crisis that our world is facing. Blind Spot is a documentary film that illustrates the current oil and energy crisis that our world is facing. Whatever measures of ignorance, greed, wishful thinking, we have put ourselves at a crossroad, which offers two paths with dire consequences. If we continue to burn fossil fuels we will choke the life out of the planet and if we don’t our way of life will collapse. (2008) 86 min. Also at MEF.org

Garbage Warrior The epic story of radical Earthship eco architect Michael Reynolds, and his fight to build off-the-grid self-sufficient communities. Colbert Report. Building with recycled materials Michael Reynolds, Earthship Biotechture 9/09 PBS segment with images.

Milking the Rhino examines the deepening conflict between humans and animals in an ever-shrinking world. It is the first major documentary to explore wildlife conservation from the perspective of people who live with wild animals. John Kasaona Conservationist Soon to be a TEDtalk.

The Day the Earth Stood Still is a 2008 American science fiction film, a remake of the 1951 film of the same name. The screenplay is based on the 1940 classic science fiction short story "Farewell to the Master" by Harry Bates and the 1951 screenplay adaptation by Edmund H. North. Directed by Scott Derrickson and starring Keanu Reeves as Klaatu, the film replaces the Cold War theme of nuclear warfare with the contemporary issue of humankind's environmental damage to the planet.

Into the Wild, a film, based on a book, based on an Outside Magazine article by a great writer, Jon Krakauer, who discusses inspiration for the book. News segment on Chris McCandless. Krakauer also authored Into Thin Air about climbing Everest.

The Unforseen: An ambitious west Texas farm boy with grandiose plans tires of living at the mercy of nature and sets out to find a life with more control. He heads to Austin where he becomes a real estate developer and skillfully capitalizes on the growth of this 1970s boomtown. At the peak of his powers, he transforms 4,000 acres of pristine Hill Country into one of the state’s largest and fastest selling subdivisions. When the development threatens a local treasure, a fragile limestone aquifer and a naturally spring-fed swimming hole, the community fights back. In the conflict that ensues, we see in miniature a struggle that today plays out in communities across the country. Link.

Sea Change imagines a world without fish.


Ansel Adams Link

Chinatown DVD222 (LA water)

Silkwood VT6062

Gary Snyder and Wendell Berry (poets) Readings & Conversations [videorecording] : readings by Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder ; conversation with Jack Shoemaker / produced by the Lannan Foundation in association with Thunder Road Productions Published [Santa Fe, NM] : Lannan Foundation, 2001, c2000 McHenry Media Center VT8428


The Cove is a documentary about the annual slaughter of dolphins in Japan. audio and videoText and audio. trailer. Short overview in Scientific American and Oprah interview with filmmakers.

Cane Toads VT6193 traditional College 8 cult favorite (not for vegans)

The Buffalo War / produced by Buffalo Jump Pictures ; a film by Matthew Testa Oley, PA : Bullfrog Films, c2001 Media Center - VT9116 Summary: The moving story of the Native Americans, ranchers, government officials, and environmental activists currently battling over the yearly slaughter of America's last wild bison. This film explores the controversial killing by joining a 500-mile spiritual march across Montana by Lakota Sioux Indians who object to the slaughter. Woven into the film are the civil disobedience and video activism of an environmental group trying to save the buffalo, as well as the concerns of a ranching family caught in the crossfire.

Grizzly Man (2005) Werner Herzog’s documentary on Timothy Treadwell, a man who spent 13 summers with grizzlies in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. He felt a close affinity to the bears, and would approach and even touch them. Treadwell used film he took of the bears to raise awareness of their situation. Herzog uses Treadwell footage from the last 5 years of his life and interviews with people who knew him well to create a snapshot of a man most people can’t understand. Herzog portrays Treadwell as a disturbed individual who may have had a death wish towards the end. As you likely know, Treadwell ends up being killed and eaten by a grizzly, along with his girlfriend. Herzog’s film is moving and beautiful, and deals well with a subject most filmmakers couldn’t begin to touch.

Never Cry Wolf, based on book of same name by Farley Mowat online video segment

Parrots of Telegraph Hill

Planet Earth McHenry Library DVD5143
A stunning 11-part series that captures rare action, impossible locations, and intimate moments with our planet's best-loved, wildest, and most elusive creatures. 550 min.

Strange Days on Planet Earth from National Geographic. Overfishing and chemical runoff

River of Renewal looks at struggle over water on the Klamath River between farmers, fisheries and Native people. Documents the extensive recent fish kills of salmon due to water diversion.

Winged Migration. Codirected by Jacques Cluzaud and Michel Debats (Paris: Galatée Films, 2001.) DVD1702


The Economics of Happiness shows how globalization breeds cultural self-rejection, competition and divisiveness; how it structurally promotes the growth of slums and urban sprawl; how it is decimating democracy. The second half of The Economics of Happiness provides not only inspiration, but practical solutions. Arguing that economic localization is a strategic solution multiplier that can solve our most serious problems, the film spells out the policy changes needed to enable local businesses to survive and prosper.

Advertising and the End of the World VT6747 Highly recommended

The Cost of Cool: Youth, Consumption, and the Environment. see also Merchants of Cool VT7793

The Corporation DVD2301 145 min. Based on the book, The Corporation: the Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power by Joel Bakan, this documentary examines the nature, evolution, impact and possible futures of the modern business corporation.

Ecopolis now : a portrait of urban environmental activism / a film by Sam Stegeman c1999 McHenry Media Center VT8827. Husband and wife Paul Downton and Cherie Hoyle claim that "the Ecopolis can save the world"-and that they know just how to build one. Director Sam Stegeman has come to Australia to document the inspirational construction of an "Ecopolis": the world's first ecological city. But he arrives to find overbearing personalities, toxic soil, and cynical politicians-all threatening to doom the "City of the Future" before the first brick is laid. The video delves into the politics and personalities of the Ecopolis movement, offering a uniquely intimate glimpse of the ups and downs of community activism

Energy crossroads : a burning need to change course current energy consumption patterns and their damaging effects on our environment, the global economy, and the geopolitical balance in the world today McHenry 2007 DVD6071

Waste = food Details the work done by American architect/designer William McDonough and German ecological chemist Michael Braungart, who are attempting to make architecture and manufacturing more eco-friendly. Highlights several companies' efforts to implement these principles into their production methods. DVD7135

Mardi Gras : Made in China by David Redmon c2005 Media Center DVD2654

Nanotechnology, the power of small. Clean, green and unseen 2008 McHenry DVD6971

Our land, our legacy  : the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act is a story about the remarkable results that can occur when we clean up hazardous waste sites in a way that not only protects human health and the environment, but also supports reuse. EPA production. available online 18 min

The Persuaders DVD2764 90 min. Examines the "persuasion industries" of advertising and public relations. Shows how marketers have developed new ways of integrating their message into the fabric of our lives. Explores how the culture of marketing has come to shape the way Americans understand the world and themselves and how the techniques of the persuasion industries have migrated to politics.

Surplus - Terrorized Into Being Consumers online Overview

Taking Root tells the dramatic story of Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Mathai ,(see Eco-heroes page 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. This was the favorite film in the College 8 Green Film course. 2008 McHenry Media Center DVD6865

Trashed is a provocative investigation of one of the fastest growing industries in North America: the garbage business. It examines a fundamental element of modern American culture - the disposal of what our society defines as "waste," fast approaching a half billion tons annually. The program analyzes the causes and effects of the seemingly innocuous act of "taking out the garbage" while showcasing the individuals, activists, corporate and advocacy groups working to affect change and reform the current model.

Who Killed the Electric Car? DVD4064 (online)


Behind the Labels: Garment Workers on U.S. Saipan / a produced and directed for Witness and Oxygen by Tia Lessin {works w/ Moore, visited here 2003?] c2001 (45 min.) Film & Music VT9076 Film & Music VT9076 Guide Film & Music VT9076 c.2 Reveals the labor and human rights abuses to which Chinese and Filipino women are subjected in garment factories on the Pacific island of Saipan, a U.S. territory. Includes personal accounts of the conditions and interviews with U.S. Labor Department and garment industry spokesmen.

Ö Tede'wa, owners of the water : conflict and collaboration over rivers "A central Brazilian Xavante, a Wayuu from Venezuela, and a US anthropologist explore an indigenous campaign to protect a river from devastating effects of uncontrolled Amazonian soy cultivation. The film results from long collaboration between anthropologist Laura Graham and Xavante, and more recent collaboration with Wayuu. The Association Xavante Warã, a Xavante organization that promotes indigenous knowledge and ways of living in the central Brazilian cerrado ( a spiritually and materially integrated space that Xavante know as ʹró) and conservation of this unique environment, invited Graham to tell the story of its campaign to save the Rio das Mortes. 2009 DVD7701

Darwin's Nightmare c2005 McHenry Film & Music Reserves DVD3662 (107 min.) "Darwin's Nightmare is an essential documentary on the perverse aspects of globalization. Enter the Nile Perch, a voracious predator implanted into Lake Victoria in Africa in the '60's which extinguished native fish species and multiplied so fast that its fillets are today exported worldwide - predominantly in exchange for the countless weapons used to wage war in the dark centre of the continent"

The Doctor's Story c2002 DVD2334 (23 min.) Part of a series examining the issue of globalization and its effect on ordinary people around the world. Nepal has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. This episode explores the plight of Nepal's local health services, and links the situation to the prohibition by the U.S. government against funding any non-governmental organization that supports abortion.

Mardi Gras : Made in China by David Redmon c2005 Media Center DVD2654

Signs Don't Speak 2006 DVD4133 Shows the initiatives of the Waíãpi Indians of Amapá, Brazil, under FUNAI supervision, to expel the gold prospectors whose invasion has harmed their environment. They work to establish new villages and seek outside assistance to establish the borders of their reservation.

Manufactured Landscapes DVD5820 (90 min.) Follows photographer Edward Burtynsky as he travels through China photographing the effects of that country's massive industrial revolution.

Social Entrepreneurs

The New Heroes [videorecording] : their bottom line is lives / c2005 Film & Music DVD2816

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE See also Environmental Justice page

Majora Carter, **** TEDTalk Presentation 20 min Online video

Van Jones UCSC talk.

Hopi: Song of the Fourth World. See also Native Americans

FOOD See also Food page Whole Foods Market also tracks current food films

The Garden is about the fight to save a community garden in South Central Los Angeles.

Transforming food [videorecording] : a global look at genetic modification / a BBC production ; produced & directed by Michael Lachmann Hamilton, NJ. : Films for the Humanities & Sciences, c2009 McHenry DVD7434 excerpt Good food, good business [videorecording] : new connections for farms and markets / produced by Arnold Creek Productions 2006 Media Center DVD4667 Examines the economic and social benefits of connecting regional agriculture with new markets and consumers through a collection of interviews with organic growers, a grocer, a restaurateur and experts on the innovative connections being used to open new markets and increase profits.

Against the Grain [videorecording] : the video, biotechnology and the corporate takeover of your food / 1999 Media Center VT8280

Black Gold Link Excerpt

Dirt, The Movie PBS doc

Fed Up! : genetic engineering, industrial agriculture, and sustainable alternatives Using archival footage interspersed with interviews with farmers, scientists, government officials and activists, this video presents an overview of our food production system and explores the unintentional effects of pesticides, the resistance of biotechnology companies to food labeling and the links between government officials and major biotechnology and chemical companies. It answers many questions regarding genetic engineering, the Green Revolution, genetic pollution and modern pesticides. 2002 McHenry VT9048

Food Fight is "a fascinating look at how American agricultural policy and food culture developed in the 20th century, and how the California food movement rebelled against big agribusiness to launch the local organic food movement." excerpt

Food for Thought documents how scientists are crossing species that would never breed in nature, such as fish and tomatoes or toads and potatoes. None of these genetically engineered foods are tested or labeled by the government, yet many people are unknowingly eating them every day. 199? McHenry Media Center VT8279

The Future of Food c2004 Film & Music DVD2936 (88 min.) In-depth investigation into unlabeled genetically-modified foods which have become increasingly prevalent in grocery stores. Unravels the complex web of market and political forces that are changing the nature of what we eat.

Good food, good business : new connections for farms and markets Media Center DVD4667 NOT CHECKD OUT Examines the economic and social benefits of connecting regional agriculture with new markets and consumers through a collection of interviews with organic growers, a grocer, a restaurateur and experts on the innovative connections being used to open new markets and increase profits

King Corn Link UCSC McHenry DVD6291
"Ian and Curt, best friends from college on the East Coast, move to the heartland to learn where their food comes from. With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds, and powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America's most-productive, most-subsidized grain on one acre of Iowa soil. But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the perverse and perplexing food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat, how we farm, and the stuff we're really made of." extended excerpt.

McLibel. In the longest trial in English legal history, the "McLibel Two" represented themselves against McDonald's £10 million legal team. It is the David and Goliath story of two people who refused to say sorry.

Our Daily Bread short excerpt is very hard to watch, and not just because it shows animals being killed and processed, but rather the ordinariness and the scale of the factory processes. Sundance winner.

Supersize Me DVD2447 Includes interview with Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, and other interviews

The Real Dirt on Farmer John

Terminator tomatoes: An animated film about the dangers of biologically altered seeds and produce, telling the story of a small-time farmer who gets too involved with a chemical corporation's idea of a tomato. It humorously addresses the issues and affects of genetically modified foods and questions where this potentially dangerous technology is headed. McHenry VT9018 2001

The Wrath of Grapes [videorecording] / United Farm Workers of America. Published [S.l.] : United Farm Workers, 198-. McHenry Library Media Center VT457 videocassette (VHS) (15 min.) Includes Cesar Chavez. Illustrates the use of pesticides on commercial grape orchards. Presents interviews with owners and workers. Workers discuss their health problems induced by pesticides.

The Shrimp is a rich observational work about coastal foodways, Southern culture, human folly and the interplay of natural and built environments.

Urban Roots is a new documentary on farming in Detroit. 3/12


11th Hour excerpt 90 min version

Encounters at the end of the world / a film by Werner Herzog about Antarctica 2008 DVD7542 official site

The Great Warming Link

Inconvenient Truth DVD4065

Strange Days on Planet Earth 2005 McHenry Library DVD2812 240 min. Online

Who Killed the Electric Car? DVD4064


Toxic Sludge is Good for You Link


Cadillac Desert VT4840 **** History of water in the West based on Reisner's excellent book. online link.

Cane Toads VT6193 The College 8 cult classic

Guns, Germs and Steel DVD3487 165 Min. An epic detective story that offers a gripping expose on why the world is so unequal. Professor Jared Diamond traveled the globe for over 30 years trying to answer this question. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book. Why did Eurasians conquer, displace, or decimate Native Americans, Australians, and Africans, instead of the reverse? Diamond dismantles racially based theories of human history by revealing the environmental factors actually responsible for history's broadest patterns.

A Fortune in Two Trunks (Santa Clara Valley history) Louis Pellier, a wandering Frenchmen, traversing the globe in search of adventure in the mid-nineteenth century. Lured to the American West with news of gold, Pellier arrived in the foothills of California, quickly tanked in his mining endeavors, and scrambled for another option. He had heard of some fellow countrymen who had settled in San Jose, where, the narrator explains, he "found what he had been seeking—the climate was gentle and the land was good. So like his fathers before, he turned once more to the soil." For the crops themselves, Pellier had his brother send cuttings from France—in two old trunks—and in what is described as "the supreme moment," Pellier carefully grafts his prune scion onto American root stock—a process used, "since the ancient days of Rome." The narration ensures that the bigger picture is not lost: "On the skill of this man's hands rested the future of a great industry—food for a growing nation." [Linda Ivey] online

The Plow that Broke the Plains Overview online at Prelinger

Matewan (UCSC Media Center DVD3923) trailer and an award-winning novel Storming Heaven by Denise Giardina are about the struggle of coal miners to win their rights.

Rachel Carson's Silent Spring VT2457

Silkwood VT6062 on nuclear energy

Wild By Law: Bob Marshall, Aldo Leopold, and Howard Zahniser VT7614

The Wilderness Act of 1964 is the legacy of three men: Wilderness Society Founder Bob Marshall, forester-philosopher Aldo Leopold, and activist Howard Zahniser. Looks at how these three men struggled against the current of American thought during industrialization of the 1920s, the war years of the 1940s, and the boom years of the 1950s. Eventually their actions caused a profound shift in American attitudes toward preservation of wild lands.

Issues: Dust Bowl, New Deal conservation, tourism, wilderness issues, Wilderness Act of 1964; Leopold and Zahniser's sons and daughters; historians and environmentalists William Cronon, Roderick Nash, Wallace Stegner, Max Oelschlager, Baird Callicott, Floyd Dominy, and David Brower. 1991, 60 min. Review PBS video, Am Exper. Florentine Films

Wilderness Idea VT2197 John Muir's fight to save Yosemite (also Gifford Pinchot).

Forever Wild captures the glory of undeveloped, wild places through stunning images and the passionate tales of America’s modern wilderness heroes – volunteers from New Hampshire to California who work to preserve a legacy of wilderness for all of us to enjoy, forever. Narrated by Robert Redford Trailer


Monumental: David Brower's Fight for Wild America http://www.loteriafilms.org/

The Unforseen: An ambitious west Texas farm boy with grandiose plans tires of living at the mercy of nature and sets out to find a life with more control. He heads to Austin where he becomes a real estate developer and skillfully capitalizes on the growth of this 1970s boomtown. At the peak of his powers, he transforms 4,000 acres of pristine Hill Country into one of the state’s largest and fastest selling subdivisions. When the development threatens a local treasure, a fragile limestone aquifer and a naturally spring-fed swimming hole, the community fights back. In the conflict that ensues, we see in miniature a struggle that today plays out in communities across the country. Link


Addicted to Oil: Thomas L. Friedman Reporting (USA, 2006, 57 min.) Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, author of the recent best-seller, "The World Is Flat," examines the dynamics of petro-politics, investigating the relationship between America's energy consumption, world oil prices and geopolitical power. In a straightforward reporting style, with a touch of humor despite the dire predictions involved, Friedman clarifies our understanding of these complex relationships. "There appears to be a specific correlation between the price of oil and the pace of freedom," Friedman observed in a column. As the price of oil rises, so does the megalomania of leaders from "petro-ist" states, as Friedman calls them, turning back the tide of democratization. The film also provides an in-depth exploration of our options to combat global warming, from hybrids to hydrogen, wind power to solar panels and beyond, to reduce consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. 5 min clip Link

The End of Suburbia link

Fighting Goliath narrated by Robert Redford, the story of how 19 fast-tracked coal-fired power plants in Texas were stopped by a coalition.

Signs Don't Speak 2006 DVD4133 Shows the initiatives of the Waíãpi Indians of Amapá, Brazil, under FUNAI supervision, to expel the gold prospectors whose invasion has harmed their environment. They work to establish new villages and seek outside assistance to establish the borders of their reservation.

Treesit: the Art of Resistance; (E1st/ELF?) Humbolt timber wars/treesit JB Hill (activism)


Erin Brockovitch DVD211

Semper Fi: Always Faithful follows a master sgt's mission to expose the Marine Corps and force them to live up to their motto to the thousands of soldiers and their families exposed to toxic chemical at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune and a looming environmental crisis at military sites across the country. 10/11

Blue Vinyl Link. Trailer excerpt.

Synthetic Sea Preview from Algalita Foundation on plastic gyre.

Texas Gold: Carolyn M. Scott 2005 21 min. Fourth-generation fisherwoman Diane Wilson leads a one-woman crusade against Dow and other petrochemical plants, which create 17% of America’s pollution from her Texas town of 1,352. These factories have turned Seadrift from a traditional fishing port into a massive chemical cocktail that poisons the surrounding air, earth and waters—, sardonically dubbed Texas Gold.

Trade Secrets: This documentary exposes the 40 year history of the American chemical industry's supression of information regarding the threats to public health by synthetic chemicals being introduced into the environment at all levels. Addresses the danger to public health by the continued use of approximately 9000 of the 15,000 mass produced chemical substances that have never undergone toxicological study in the United States. Followed by a panel discussion moderated by Moyers including industry spokesmen, environmental, and medical experts. VT7877 120 min.

Toxic Bust 2005 40 mins. Blending fiction and documentary, Toxic Bust weaves the story of a fictitious woman who finds a lump in her breast, together with real-life stories of breast cancer survivors who trace the cause to the chemicals in their environment. The film focuses on three hot spots in America: San Francisco’s Hunter’s Point where the poor live in a toxic stew, and surprisingly Cape Cod and Silicon Valley. Though a warning to all, Toxic Bust reveals that middle-class Boomers who have grown up on lawn pesticides, household cleansers and dry cleaning are vulnerable to toxins and breast cancer. Megan Siler, the producer/director of Toxic Bust, lives in Berkeley, California. link link 2 min trailer

Toxic Legacies VT9128 2001 46 min. Elizabeth Guillette has studied the differences in the children of the Yaqui Valley of Mexico since 1993. The children of the valley towns are far behind those in the foothills in physical coordination, energy, and learning capabilities. The difference she observed was that pesticides have been used in the valley since the 1950s whereas in the foothills, where there is little agricultural industry, there is practically no pesticide use. The program follows Guillette as she meets with scientists for corroboration and possible solutions.

Toxic Tour (Deborah Woo's East Bay tour) / produced by Community Television of Santa Cruz County 1998 Media Center VT6652