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Celebrating Earth Day through Cinema

From Origins of Life to the Vanishing of Bees

“Climate Change is the most systemic threat to humankind.”
António Guterres, United Nations secretary general

Earth Day was created in 1970 and has evolved to include a variety of events around the world, demonstrating the support of environmental protection. On Earth Day in 2016, the landmark Paris Agreement was reached, signed by US, China and 120 other countries.

In 2017, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord, weakening efforts to combat global warming and embracing isolationist voices in his White House who argued that the agreement was a threat to the economy and American sovereignty. That didn’t sit well with most of the world.

We see Earth Day as an opportunity to celebrate planet earth, while calling attention to the real crisis at hand — Climate Change. These past several weeks, leading up to this special day, we have introduced a collection of films related to this environmental crisis, hoping to spark change. They have been featured on stories here (5 Movies that Can Save the Planet, Beat the Monday Blues with Movie Night, One of Life’s Common Questions, What If?, Triple Play at the Movies) and the complete list will be available at Cause Cinema on Earth Day, along with a new Eco Film Challenge, links to related causes and a survey to gauge the awareness, engagement and inspiration of what we call entertainment for change.

Of course, Hollywood has made its share of weather disaster movies, including Twister and Day After Tomorrow. Norway got into the act with The Wave as a geologist and his family fight for survival when a massive landslide causes a 250-foot tidal wave. These pictures have dramatized natural disasters in blockbuster fashion.

Thankfully, there has also been a wave of smaller documentaries, sharing deeper insights and the growing fears in the scientific and now political communities, as to the grave danger of extreme weather and natural disasters. Studies show, changing weather patterns are a result of human negligence.

In fact experts believe that extreme weather events are the most likely and most severe threat facing humanity in 2018, as stated in the new Global Risks Report 2018 of the World Economic Forum (WEF). Even National Geographic shares Top 10 Natural Disasters as a BBC Documentary.
 
With many of the top environmental films already covered in recent articles, this final sampling of movies will provide another handful of titles that may not be on your radar. These projects deserve to be seen by broad audiences, again, with the power to create change.

“Imagine America without New York City…without Miami, without San Diego or parts of San Francisco. There will be water on the White House steps at some point…This is what we’re looking at. Imagine a country that didn’t look at this problem and do something about it ahead of time.”
Rising Tides

Rising Tides
Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy. The increasing frequency of such catastrophic weather events demonstrates the reality of climate change. For a number of coastal communities, the impacts have been and will be devastating. Adding to this conversation are the conservationists and scientists who feel the coastlines should be left alone for a variety of reasons. This award winning documentary offers an engaging and educational perspective, allowing the viewer to consider decide what should or should not be done to combat this global threat in our very near future.

Watch movie here.


“My son wanted to join the army. You’re not going to fight for a country that does not give a damn for you.”
 
Trouble the Water

Trouble the Water
As Hurricane Katrina raged around them, Scott and Kimberly Rivers Roberts took shelter with some neighbors in their attic in New Orleans. Kimberly, an aspiring rapper, puts her video camera to work, before and during the devastating storm. Grand Jury Prize winner in Documentary section at Sundance (2008)

Watch movie here


“Consider this. When we are witness to a tragedy unfolding, we have two choices, to stand by, or stand up”
Virunga

Virunga
In the forested depths of eastern Congo lies Virunga National Park, one of the most bio-diverse places on Earth and home to the planet’s last remaining mountain gorillas. In this wild, but spectacular environment, team of park rangers, a caretaker of orphan gorillas and a dedicated conservationist try to protect this site from armed militia and other forces struggling to control Congo’s natural resources. Executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, Virunga was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2015.

Watch movie on Netflix here


“Bees are an indicator of environmental quality, when the bees are dying something is wrong.”
The Vanishing of Bees

The Vanishing of Bees
In recent years, honeybees have been mysteriously disappearing, literally vanishing from their hives. Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, this phenomenon has driven beekeepers to crisis, particularly in industries responsible for producing apples, broccoli, and many other fruits and vegetables. Commercial honeybee operations pollinate crops that make up one out of every three bites of food on our tables. This documentary examines the greater meaning this disappearance holds, as it relates to the connection between mankind and mother earth.

You can get links to see the film, along with an educational version for schools and a tool kit on their website

Origins
The movie takes us on a journey through the biological roots of where we have come from. Origins looks at the advances of our civilization and how the recklessness of unchecked technology is choking out the environment. The film shows how man, technology, and nature can walk together.

Origins is available on numerous platforms but consider viewing at FMTV, a platform growing in popularity, dedicated to food and wellness.


Recognizing the power of cinema as a tool of mass communication, these projects will engage and enlighten audiences, while providing their share of entertainment value. We hope you consider joining the Eco Film Challenge. See all 25 movie picks, and help turn this conversation up a notch.

Let’s be part of the solution.

About the Author:
Jon Fitzgerald is the Founder of Cause Cinema, connecting audiences to the best in social impact Cinema. He is also the author of Filmmaking for Change.