With the rise of environmental issues comes the increased popularity of movies addressing these issues. This year’s environmental documentaries come from all over the world. Filmmakers are bringing shocking and sometimes tearful topics to your living room — to inspire you to make a difference. These documentaries examine everything from the negative effects of the American agriculture system to leading a zero-impact lifestyle. These are 10 must-see films:
In this heart-wrenching and eye-opening documentary, director Louie Psihoyos’ team of filmmakers and activists go undercover to expose the tragic massacre of thousands of dolphins in the Japanese fishing village of Taiji. The cruel slaughter and lack of response from the Japanese government and the International Whaling Commission are such powerful contrasts that Taiji’s sister city, the town of Broome in western Australia, recently severed ties with the Japanese village.
Those who still believe that their meat is raised on sprawling farms in idyllic lands would be wise to watch Food, Inc., which delivers on its promise to lift the veil on our nation’s food industry. Filmmaker Robert Kenner gives viewers a whole new perspective on double cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets by chronicling the many facets of society that our current agricultural system negatively affects, from local farms and oil prices to consumer health and worker safety.
Change your oil, change the world. That’s the message behind Fuel, the recipient of a Sundance Audience award and 11 standing ovations. Filmmaker Josh Tickell brings the issue of America’s oil addiction right into your living room by uncovering the rising domination of the petrochemical industry. But not all hope is lost, says Tickell, who argues that there are currently many solutions available to help power the nation with clean, renewable energy.
No Impact Man
Colin Beavan’s quest to lead a zero-impact lifestyle for one year results in a personal journey that shows how much we begin to appreciate the little things in life when we cut out all the unnecessary stuff — like $900 boots. Despite the message of reduced consumption, the documentary smartly avoids being overly critical by showing viewers both the benefits and difficulties of living a no-impact lifestyle.
Is access to water a right for everyone? Or can it be bought and sold in the global marketplace? Those are the questions that people from around the world, and even in the U.S., face daily. Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman’s shocking exposé of the escalating fight over safe, affordable drinking water will make viewers think twice the next time they take a sip from the tap.
This Academy Award nominee documents one Los Angeles neighborhood’s fight to save their 14-acre community garden, the largest of its kind in the U.S. After turning a barren area into a vibrant garden that helps feed an entire community, the South Central Farmers must now keep the garden from being bulldozed by a wealthy developer. Director Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s story is a poignant one of community activism, greed and the strength of the human spirit.
This David vs. Goliath documentary examines a decades-long battle between the indigenous people of the Ecuadorian Amazon and oil giant Chevron over chemical contamination that the Amazonian inhabitants claim was caused by oil drilling 35 years ago. Filmmaker Joe Berlinger expertly depicts the tragic environmental damage, the complex legal fight that ensues and the heroes who fight against the odds to bring one of the largest corporations in the world to justice.
This in-depth investigation reaches into the far corners of America’s waterways and pulls out a wealth of disturbing information on the new wave of pollution that’s causing massive fish kills, mutating frogs and threatening human health. Interviews with environmental experts such as William Ruckelshaus, who was the first head of the newly formed EPA in 1970, provide valuable insight into the state of America’s oceans, rivers and streams. Best of all, you can watch it online for free, courtesy of PBS.
A Snow Mobile for George
One man’s quest to understand why former President George W. Bush reversed regulations that would have banned super-polluting two-stroke snowmobiles leads him on a trail of Bush-era environmental deregulation that has affected everyone from Western homesteaders to the firemen and paramedics of 9/11. The result is director Todd Darling’s eye-opening movie about the enormous consequences that can occur just from one small rule change.