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Bring global earth/society problems to consciousness : my education through movies

May 8, 2012

I’m not exactly sure to remember what was the first movie about environmental issues I watched, but what I’m sure is that it was, with the reading of books about degrowth, a turning point in my life.

Maybe it was “an inconvenient truth”, a movie about former United States Vice President Al Gore’s campaign to educate citizens about global warming via a comprehensive slide show. Global warming was for me, as for a lot of people, THE problem our planet is facing, because it’s the most advertised… Let’s solve global warming and everything will be OK ! But….

But then, I got interested in that kind of movies, and started to watch many others. So I understood that global warming is not the only problem, and not more important than others. Actually all the problems are linked, and can’t be treated separatly, it’s a whole thing, kind of generalized cancer of earth, where humans are the cancer cells…

If I look around me, most of my friends don’t know anything about that problems, maybe heard of global warming problem, but not very in detail, with green washing advertisement or other, so not much caring about it. So that’s where I think movies developing ecological consciousness can play an important role, because before people will change, people have to be conscious that they are living in a system bad for earth and therefore themselves…it’s becoming more and more a question of survival !

So that’s why I decided to share with you the movies on ecology I watched, and what I thought about it, so maybe YOU may decide to watch it too :). Here it is :

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An Inconvenient Truth, Dir. David Guggenheim, 2006, 100mn
Maybe the first movie I watched, mostly about global warming, a good start but only focused on that point, you should go for something else after this one.

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Manufactured landscapes, Jennifer Baichwal. 2006, 80mn
An artistic view of the changes in the landscape due to industrialization and externalisation, mainly in China, the most industrialized place in the world. It’s interesting to see the dark side of industrialization, the side most rich country consumers never see…You’ll maybe pay more attention when it’s written Made in China on a product after watching this movie !

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The end of the line, Rupert Murray, 2009, 85mn
Nowadays fishing is very far from the ancient practice that started about 40,000 years ago. Nowadays fishing is obviously not sustainable…already some species already disappeared. If we continue in the same direction, species will continue to disappear till there is no fish to fish…

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A crude awakening, Basil Gelpke, Raymond McCormack, 2006, 84mn
I found this movie about oil society a bit boring, but it’s interesting to understand that our society is based on oil, everything is possible today because of oil, a nearly free and so powerful  and concentrated energy. The fact I remember the most from that movie is that 1 barrel of oil refined, is equivalent to the work of 12 people during 1 year and will cost you something like 100 USD. Can you find somebody you can pay less 4 dollar per month in the world ??…

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The future of food, Deborah Koons, 2004, 88mn
You think the food you buy in supermarket is safe ?…not exactly ! And do you think the food you’ll eat in the future will be safer ? It’s not really sure ! Food, with water, is base of life. Most of people in developed countries tend to forget it because it’s not really a problem for them, they have enough to eat…
But what we eat is important, it’s something we put in our bodies…and even you plate is full, it’s also maybe full of poison !

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Food Inc, Robert Kenner, 2008, 94mn
Another movie about food, especially the industrial food produced in US. It may discourage you to buy your food in the supermarket or to eat in fast foods…

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Gasland, Josh Fox, 2010, 107mn
A movie very specialized on shale gas extraction, using the “fracking process”, the only method known so far to extract that gas. So you can see how some companies were allowed to extract that gas, and all the impact of that
extraction on environment and on the people living around… Seems that French government didn’t see that movie because they are still putting the are still considering to do the same… What can people do to get cheap fossil energy, that’s crazy ! Cheap energy became a drug to our society, and a very addictive drug !

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The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil, Faith Morgan, 2006, 53mn
I loved that movie because it’s brings hope. It’s a real example, at a country scale, of how a society can change to live without oil. How they did that ? Mainly by developing local organic farming, education and healthcare ! And the result is that Cubans live as long as Americans, consuming less than 1/8th of energy than people in US. So you see, don’t be pessimist, it’s possible !

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No Impact Man: The Documentary, Laura Gabbert, Justin Schein, 2009, 93mn
An American guy from Manhattan, and his wife and daughter, are trying to experience a year with the minimum impact on environment. A portrait of somebody getting conscious and starting to try the change. What will be easy to do without, what will be difficult, which benefit they will get from this year experiment…you’ll see if you watch it.

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Dirt! The movie, Bill Benenson, 2009, 86mn
When I saw the title I laughed. What’s that movie, how can they make 86mn on dirt, dirt is just ground, nothing more…But I decided to watch it, and it was worth it ! Also with the french movie “Solutions locales pour un désordre global” I understood that soil is so important, because everything is coming from soil : your food, your clothes, and finally YOU ! But nowadays we cover the soil with concrete or we exhaust the soil till unfertile… Concrete, is it a nice environment for life ? I don’t think so ! Let’s cherish the soil too and humans will live better !

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Tapped, Stephanie Soechtig, Jason Lindsey, 2009, 72mn
If you are in Japan, there is a big chance you are sitting less than 50m from a vending machine, and there is also a big chance that you will buy a bottle of water or tea (that is mainly water) from this machine today. Then you think it’s ok because there is a bin for plastic and your bottle will be recycled… Actually when you do that action you have a big impact. This movie is about the bottled water industry, explaining you how the industry can waste fossil fuel and trash the environment to make some money. It’s very easy, get normal water somewhere, put it in plastic bottles made from oil, and sell it very expensive to you with a nice packaging and advertising. Here it is, you have the most useless and wasting chain, just need to convince you that it’s good for you and convenient, then you buy it and they get your money. But the good news is that there is a solution, use your own bottle and fill it with tap water…nothing more simple than that !

The next titles are documentaries.

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In transition 1.0, Transition culture, 2010 and in transition 2.0, Transition culture, 2012
Documentaries about the “transition movement”. If you never heard about that, it’s worth to watch these docu to understand what is it. To make it short, if you are now conscious of all these big issues and want yo do something for the change, and more than just change yourself, it’s perfectly what you need. It’s something you can start anytime, anywhere, without any money or political power, to change your community. Let’s do it !

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The story of…, Annie Leonard
You want to understand by drawings and easily how we trash the planet  by different means ? This is for you and it free to watch it on the “The story of stuff” website.

Hope my article will bring some people to consciousness… at least 1 person and I’ll be happy 🙂

Cyclesam

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