An Inconvenient Truth, 2006
No list of environmental documentaries would be complete without mentioning An Inconvenient Truth, the film that ended the global warming debate. In this provocative explanation of the process and dangers of climate change, Al Gore paved the way for other important environmental documentaries that reveal the risks of ignoring the need for a green revolution.
Who Killed the Electric Car, 2006
A quiet clean alternative to gas-powered cars, electric cars pollute less, require less maintenance, and can help America become energy independent. So why has it taken the auto industry so long to produce a viable electric alternative to the gas-guzzling, energy-sucking vehicles that have chained Americans to foreign oil interests for decades? In one of the most provocative environmental documentaries of this decade, writer and director Chris Paine shows how the initiative and progress of individuals with a better idea was derailed by big business and greed. Who Killed the Electric Car? tells the story of the EV-1, an electric car created and destroyed by General Motors. Although ultimately enraging, Who Killed the Electric Car? is a must-see film.
Watch the full movie:
Flow: for Love of Water, 2008
Can anyone really own water? In Flow, award-winning director Irena Salina takes on governmental and corporate goons attempting to profit from one of the biggest crises of this century: the depletion of our clean water supply. Much like Standard Oil orchestrated a monopoly on oil for the purpose of personal profit, a growing global cartel is currently attempting to do the same with natural water resources. After revealing the dirty politics and assault on human rights involved, Salina shows how people and institutions are developing ideas and technologies that can stop the cartel that threatens the availability of one of our most precious natural resources.
Watch the full documentary:
Not just an official selection at five different film festivals in 2009, Fresh is a growing movement toward sustainable food sources. In the film, producer Ana Joanes aspires to effect real change among individuals and communities by tracking a 50-year history of contamination, deception, and profit over people through an examination of a food system in crisis. Fresh the movie invites viewers to ask where their food came from, and to understand how a monoculture where large amounts of the same species are grown together leads to an industrial food system that is unsustainable. Using real-life examples, Joanes illustrates how growing food on smaller acreage more intensively can help us eat better and leave the earth in better shape. Passionate about sustainability, Joanes has a growing list of important environmental documentaries to her credit. A story of hope, Fresh shows how what you choose to eat makes a difference, and that sustainable eating has a positive impact on health, community and the environment.
Watch the trailer
In Gasland, writer director Josh Fox exposes the human and environmental risks of gas drilling in a powerful indictment of the oil and gas industry. Gasland was so successful that the industry’s biggest players hired PR firms to bash the film and quell the truth about harmful industry practices. What the American Petroleum Institute doesn’t want the public to know is that 596 chemicals and millions of gallons of water are used during each horizontal hydraulic fracturing drill, a method of natural gas extraction which leads to dangerously contaminated drinking water. Fox, however, wants the public to know how the Bush/Cheney Administration created the loophole that exempted companies like Halliburton from following safer drilling practices. Gasland brings political corruption to the forefront of an environmental crisis everyone should be concerned about.
Watch the trailer
The Warriors of Qiugang, 2011
Nominated for a 2011 Academy Award in the shorts category, The Warriors of Qiugang was one of the best environmental documentaries of the year. In the film, Chinese American filmmaker Ruby Yang follows the journey of a farmer in the Anhui Province region of Qiugang, China who hopes to create a cleaner life for future generations of his little hamlet. Suffering the intolerable effects of industrial pollution created by the Juicailuo Chemical Plant, Zhang and the people of Anhui Province learn to use China’s federal environmental laws to battle factory owners and their corrupt governmental partners.