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Green Sanctuary Film Reviews

Welcome to the Congregational Stewardship Services page of reviewed green-themed films. These reviews are meant to give some insight into what films are out there on this subject and hopefully they will inspire you to begin (and continue) on your quest for information on being green. Enjoy!

5 Stars

  • Renewal: Stories for America's Religious-Environmental Movement (2007)
    Eight short documentaries about the ways in which various faith communities are addressing environmental stewardship. This is an excellent collection of films.
  • Crude Impact (2006)
    A documentary that explores the interconnectedness between human domination of the planet and the discovery and use of oil. This documentary film exposes our global, deep-rooted dependency on fossil fuel energy and examines the future implications of peak oil. Modern experts predict how quickly peak oil will become a reality and discuss the implications on our way of life and our world. Impacts discussed range from the environmental to the cultural, examining how global oil dependency is impacting everything from human rights, world population, renewable energy technologies, political agendas, globalization, wildlife habitats, and the global economy.
  • Ripe for Change (2005)
    A documentary about food in California. Farmers, chefs, authors, activists, scientists, and children involved in The Edible School Yard project are featured in a power film about food.
  • The Insider (1999)
    Based on true events, this film illustrates the struggles faced by two men as they try to expose the seven big tobacco companies.
  • Flow: How did a handful of corporations steal our water? (2008)
    This film tackles a number of topics surrounding issues concerning one of earth's most precious natural resources, water. Some topics that are covered are the privatization of water, the impact of building dams and displacing residents, and the contamination of water.
  • The Constant Gardener (2005)
    Explores in depth the dilemma a woman (and later, her husband) face when it is discovered that a pharmaceutical company is not conducting themselves in an ethical way. This film has a powerful point of view that illustrates the potential harm large companies pose to human beings if they do not conduct themselves in an ethical manner.
  • The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
    In this action film, a climatologist proposes what might happen if global warming were to trigger a new ice age. The president and other world leaders fail to heed his warning and a new ice age descends on the characters much sooner than they ever expected. Watch as the world responds to the effects of global warming.
  • Silences of the Bees (2007)
    Winner of the Peabody Award, this documentary explores the phenomenon that is puzzling scientists and researchers all over the world: why are all the honeybees disappearing? This film silences some of the myths surrounding the honeybee crisis, but in the end all experts studying this phenomenon cannot pinpoint the problem. According to the film, if this puzzle is not solved soon, by 2035 honeybees will cease to exist.
  • Sierra Club Chronicles (2006)
    A series of short films dedicated to profiling environmental incidents and their impact. There is a focus in each film on environmental advocacy.
  • Food Inc (2008)
    This film exposes the hidden truth to the American consumer about our food- what we eat, how it's produced- and how we have allowed this to happen. It features interviews with experts such as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield's Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms' Joel Salatin and it addresses various environmental justice issues. At the end of the film, the viewer is given things that we can do to help change the food industry. The DVD includes extras including public service announcements, an ABD New Nightline spot light, kids shorts, and resources.
  • The Real Dirt on Farmer John (2007)
    This film follows the life of Farmer John, who illustrates the struggles of farm life. From losing almost all of his land because of a loan shark to violence and hate coming from other farmers, John comes back into farming after a long absence. He begins farming organically, and soon joins a Community Supported Agriculture group. It is with the support of the CSA that Farmer John's farm thrives.
  • 'Til the River Runs Clear (2007)
    This film tells the story of Clearwater, a boat that was built to advocate for the cleaning up of the Hudson River. Folk singer Pete Seeger, who came up with the idea over thirty years ago, connects his music to environmental activism.
  • Article Tale (2007)
    A great film following Nanu, a polar bear, and Seela, a walrus as they group up in the ever-shrinking Artic and have to learn how to adapt and survive in these new conditions.

4 Stars

  • Killer at Large (2009)
    This film explores the obesity epidemic but also, unlike other films on this topic, discusses interrelated issues such as stress in connection with foods we eat as well as access to nutritious foods for individuals that are low income.
  • The Story of Stuff (2007)
    This short animated film narrated by Annie Leonard. This quick paced film takes you through the cycle of stuff: extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal and points out the connections between environmental and social issues this process creates. In the end, Annie shows us another way of living and how we can change the way we look at stuff. Good for people of all ages.
  • Great Decisions (2009)
    Walter Cronkite, in a Face the Nation style episode, explores these critical global issues along with other experts.
    1. Episode 1: "Running Out: The Global Food Crisis"
    2. Episode 2: "Off the Grid: Energy and the U.S. Economy"
    3. Episode 3: "Race for the Arctic"
  • 60 Minutes: A Different Kind of Grocery Store (2006)
    A Dan Rather interview with John Mackey, founder of Whole Foods, about his grocery store chain.
  • An Inconvenient Truth: A Global Warning (2006)
    This film presents basic information about global warming. Al Gore is armed with significant scientific data and powerful world images of the effects of global warming, which help to prove the urgency of the matter.
  • Building Green (2007)
    This television series takes the viewer through the extent of a custom home being built almost exclusively with green materials. By the end of the season, the home is complete and you are able to see the finished product and how sophisticated green building can be.
  • Nation Geographic's Human Footprint (2008)
    This film follows two individuals from birth until death and illustrates what their human footprint might look like. Things looked at vary from the number of diapers used in the first few years of life to the amount of milk a human consumes in his/her lifetime and the materials it takes to build just one house.
  • A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash (2006)
    This film looks at the ongoing debate over whether globally our world has reached its peak in regards to harvesting oil. It argues that, from here, oil prices will not only continue to go up but without preparing for oil disappearing as a resource, the global economy will suffer enormously.
  • Sisters on the Planet (2008)
    This film shows the stories of four women's lives from across the world and how they are affected by climate change and what they are doing to combat it.
  • Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives: The Environmental Footprint of War (2008)
    This film explores the ways in which we destroy the earth when we wage war. In all its stages- from the production of weapons through combat to clean up- war entails actions that pollute land, air and water, destroy biodiversity and drain natural resources. Yet the environmental damage caused by war (and preparations of war) is underreported, even ignored. This film is an interesting exploration of environmental damage that people rarely think about.
  • Media that Matters: Good Food (2006)
    A collection of short films on good and sustainability.
    1. Food Justice: A Growing Movement
      A short documentary about farmers and activists in the fight for food justice in West Oakland, CA
    2. Inch by Inc: Providence Youth Gardens for Education
      A short documentary about Providence, RI, students learning about gardening and doing it.
    3. Young Agrarians
      A short documentary about young people and organic farming in California.
    4. One more Dead fish
      A short documentary about hand-line fighting to keep working.
    5. The Meatrix
      An animated short about factory farming, this would be great for kids and youth.
  • Babette's Feast (1987)
    Two women live a life of self-denial and sacrifice passion and love because of their own faith and duty to serve. However, one day a French woman comes to them as a refugee from the French civil war and they begin to learn to enjoy life's little pleasures.
  • Blue Vinyl (2002)
    This documentary, directed by Judith Helfand, is unexpectedly funny while not missing the seriousness that surrounds the many issues involving PVC products. Helfand researches various topics surrounding this material such as the safety concerns, health issues, and sustainability of this product.
  • The Naturalist (2001)
    This is a simple yet poignant short film that follows naturalist Kent Bonar through his experiences in the wilderness.

3 Stars

  • King Corn: You are What you Eat (2006)
    Film about two college buddies who decide to grow on acre of corn. Along the way you find out more about real farmers, powerful fertilizers, government aid, genetically modified seeds, etc.
  • Too Hot Not to Handle (2006)
    This is an HBO Documentary film that explains the impact of global warming (particularly in the United States) and offer some measures that can be taken to reverse this trend.
  • Syriana (2005)
    This film illustrates the connections between terrorism, oil, and power in the U.S. and foreign countries.
  • Gimme Green (2006)
    This documentary describes the $40 billion industry of residential lawns. It describes the chemical and pesticide use and the many unsustainable methods of maintaining lawns, such as water usage and farms on which lawns are harvested.
  • Rivers and Tides: Working with Time (2004)
    Artist Andy Goldsworthy explores nature and creates art from nature that is visually stunning. This film explores his different projects, what inspires him to create the art, and captures the beauty of nature and art together as one.
  • Poisoned Waters (2009)
    Frontline examines two major waterways—the Chesapeake Bay and the Puget Sound—and the different factors that are going into the pollution of these waterways.
  • We Feed the World (2009)
    This film discusses the industrialization of the food industry, with a particular focus on the countries in the EU. Everything from changes in the fishing industry and the farming industry are explored.

2 Stars

  • Earth Aid: Recycling (2008)
    A short narrated basics on how and what to recycle.
  • Soylent Green (1973)
    New York has a population of 40 million, people are starving and sleeping on steps and in cars, and trees, planets and wildlife haven't been seen in years. This 1970's cult classic is a futuristic tale of one police officer that discovers the truth surrounding Soylent Green, the wafer-like food that people are eating to survive.
  • Michael Clayton (2007)
    In this thriller George Clooney, Michael Clayton, is a high-end law firms' "fixer." When one of the firm's senior partners has a nervous breakdown while taking a deposition in a lawsuit against a major agrochemicals company, Clayton is dispatched to bring him home. This film is more focused on the thriller part and barely features environmental affects of the agrochemicals company.
  • CEO Exchange (2006)
    Interviews are conducted with two CEO's that have begun to make contributions in the green movement. Patricia Woertz of Archer Daniels Midland and Bob Lane of Deere & Company explain the way they run their companies with sustainability in mind.
  • Everything's Cool: A Toxic Comedy about Global Warming! (2007)
    This film follows the story of global warming. From the beginning in 2003 when the topic came up (and there were many nay-sayers, especially those looking to profit from its denial) to 2007 when a majority of the Americans and scientists believe in its existence.

1 Star

  • Hot Spots (2008)
    A film that follows the work of Dr. Russell Mittermeier as he investigates "hotspots." This film has an up-beat view from the frontline of conservation biology.

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Last updated on Friday, July 20, 2012.

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