In honor of our planet’s holiday, consider some of these earth-friendly flicks next time you browse your movie store or Netflix.
Two men embark on an investigative journey and discover a shocking amount of corn that hides in the American diet and in consumer products. King Corn examines what effect the excess of corn has on our health and our environment, and how corn managed to become the American King of Crops.
No Impact Man
As research for his next book, Colin Beaven leaves behind his average, modern lifestyle and engages his family in an experiment to live for one year, as close to zero-waste and zero-impact as possible — that means no electricity, no imported food, no trash, no material consumption. The lifestyle switch is quite severe for his wife, Michelle, who loves Starbucks, shopping, high-fructose corn syrup, and TV. The behind-the-scenes look at Beaven’s family’s experiment is compelling, entertaining, and educational.
Blue Gold: World Water Wars
Perhaps the most important movie on this list, Blue Gold tells the story of how water is being hijacked by wealthy corporations for profit. As many areas in the world turn from wet to desert, multi-national companies are capitalizing on this essential, and increasingly scarce resource, at the expense of the disenfranchised people. Through intelligent interviews with people around the world, Blue Gold reveals how this important issue affects everyone.
March of the Penguins
March of the Penguins takes viewers along the amazing life journey of Emperor penguins. These creatures face an incredible amount of danger when searching for their mate and finding food for their young. With melting temperatures, their journey becomes even more treacherous. Their dependence on ice leaves them very vulnerable to the climate changes their human co-inhabitants have created.
An Inconvenient Truth
An obvious and essential addition to this list, An Inconvenient Truth brings Al Gore’s excellent presentation on Global Warming to the big screen. Gore argues that rather than being a political issue, Global Warming is a moral issue that humans created and are obligated to reverse. It is an inconvenient truth, but it is something we all must face and act upon if we want our future generations to survive.
Food Inc. is another great documentary that reveals ways the food industry has not only damaged our health, but the health of our planet and the workers in the industry. And of course, The Cove is an excellent investigation that reveals the horrifying exploitation of dolphins in Taijii, Japan.
After going into hibernation and waking up 500 years later, Joe Bauers finds himself in a society plagued with stupidity. He is named the smartest person in the world (after taking an IQ test on par with a first-grader’s test) and recruited to Secretary of the Interior, where he must solve problems like food and crop shortages, crippled economy and mountains of garbage. As the clip below shows, Joe shocks the cabinet when he suggests using water to grow the plants, instead of Brawndo, a sports-drink full of electrolytes, which advertises itself as the stuff “plants crave.” In a funny and slightly absurd manner, Idiocracy begs the question just how much are we being dumbed-down by corporations, and what toll is it taking on the environment?
FernGully, a rainforest in Australia, is rich with the life of fairies, trees, insects and animals; humans, meanwhile, are thought to be extinct. One day, Crysta, a fairy, meets a real human, Zak, who works for a logging company. After accidentally shrinking him to save him from a falling tree, Crysta learns about the toxic force called Hexxus that is polluting and killing the trees in her land. The inhabitants of FernGully band together, with help from Zak, to save their home from the destruction.
WALL-E lives in a world that exists because of thoughtless consumerism and environmental exploitation. He is a garbage collecting robot that was created to clean up the waste that was left behind from a powerful, multi-national corporation, Buy N Large. Determined to live a meaningful life, he fights to bring love and life back to Earth.
Sci-Fi and Drama
Environmental themes might not seem obvious at first in this 1982 sci-fi flick, but the dark, futuristic setting is full of signs of moral, as well as environmental, decay. Set in Los Angeles in 2019, real animals are essentially extinct, and pollution has made the world darker and uglier.
Dances With Wolves
Lt. John Dunbar, played by Kevin Costner, is a civil war veteran who is posted to the grassy plains of South Dakota. There he falls in love with the environment and the Sioux people, and he refuses to conquer their land, as he is pressured to do from the army. Animals, as well as nature in general, play important characters. I’m especially fond of this movie after hearing about the work Kevin Costner has done to protect wetlands.
More movies worth watching:
Erin Brockovich tells the true story of one woman’s fight against PG&E, and their role in poisoning the residents in an area from their illegal toxic dumping practices. Many people have raved about Avatar and the environmental message it offers.
What other movies out there are worth watching for the Earth?