Envirodocs: The Day Before the Day After Tomorrow

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In light of Earth Day yesterday, the environment is on everyone’s minds. Or is it? How prominent are environmental stories the day after Earth Day?

There’s no shortage of docs sounding the environmental crisis alarm. By all accounts we’re half way to Armageddon, with the environmental situation so precarious only the swiftest about-face in energy and environmental policy can hope to save us.

Envirodocs are usually long on alarm and short on solutions. David Guggenheim‘s An Inconvenient Truth, Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack‘s Crude Awakening, and Gregory Greene‘s The End of Suburbia are all great movies for getting the message out, and important films to see. But the reviews for these films start with “frightening” and end with “terrifying”; An Inconvenient Truth’s promo says it’s the scariest film you’ll see this year. That might be true, but is all that fear leading to results or paralysis? Fear-mongering may work for winning elections, but how effective is it in motivating global environmental policy change? Does the environmental crisis become so overwhelming in these films that global change seems hopeless, and personal change, futile?
Well there is hope out there. I can think of two envirodocs that serve up some hope along with crisis — at least as a side dish. Leonardo DiCaprio‘s 11th Hour, out last November, tries to find solutions to the environmental crisis as an integral part of its mission, and here on our own blog, Judith Helfand wrote about how she and co-director Dan Gold have been able to leverage the message of their film Everything’s Cool to spur concrete change.

Are there any films you can think of that offer solutions or hope to environmental perils? Any places where envirodocs are used to change habits, locally or globally?
We’d love to here about it. Post a comment below!

David Nanasi
David Nanasi
David has worked on POV's website since its infancy, helping to develop and nurture it, as well as producing special features. David also oversees and administers POV's internal network, maintaining hardware and software for the POV staff. Prior to joining POV, David, served on the staff of CyberEd, an 18-wheeler Internet classroom that toured nationwide. Since 1997, David has worked independently as a computer consultant, including systems, networks, databases, and web design and construction. David's favorite documentaries are: 1. Eyes on the Prize - Henry Hampton (Executive Producer) 2. Crumb - Terry Zwigoff 3. The Thin Blue Line - Errol Morris 4. Roger & Me - Michael Moore 5. The Camden 28 - Anthony Giacchino