Books and Films on building a sustainable relationship with our planet…

The 11th Hour is a 2007 feature film documentary, created, produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, on the state of the natural environment.  With contributions from over 50 politicians, scientists, and environmental activists, including former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, physicist Stephen Hawking, Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai, and journalist Paul Hawken, the film documents the grave problems facing the planet’s life systems. Global warming, deforestation, mass species extinction, and depletion of the oceans’ habitats are all addressed. The film’s premise is that the future of humanity is in jeopardy. The film proposes potential solutions to these problems by calling for restorative action by the reshaping and rethinking of global human activity through technology, social responsibility, and conservation. Film website.

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein is, in essence, an assault on free-market capitalism. With this work, the author argues that free market policies conceived by Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of Economics have been pushed through time and again all while societies are dealing with social upheaval or disaster. Book Website,presentation by the author at a Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives benefit event.

According to the World Bank, “the wars of the next century will be about water.” In Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit,” Vandana Shiva asks the pivotal question: Who should have control over water, corporations or communities? The author explores the emergence of corporate culture, and its threat to historical and communal water rights. She then outlines a global movement to keep life-sustaining water a universal right.Book Website.

Some societies seem to vanish from the face of the earth, or suddenly drop off the pages of history. Collapse by Jared Diamond is a discussion of how societies choose–or fail–to adapt. Whether societies, from the Maya in Central America to the Norse in Greenland, Diamond argues that survival is largely determined by five factors: climate change, hostile neighbors, trade partners (that is, alternative sources of essential goods), environmental problems, and, finally, a society’s response to its environmental problems.Book Website.

The Great Work by Thomas Berry Book Review on the author’s homepage.

Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future by Bill McKibben is a response to the all-to-pervasive assumption that more is better, rebuking the idea that growth is unequivocally positive. When does growth for growth’s sake begin to lose its appeal? How can we reorganize our priorities as a society to seek out the things that truly make us happy? McKibben asks us to reconsider what makes prosperity, and how we can make choices that simultaneously address our needs as individuals and as members of a community. Book Description on the author’s website.

The Age of Stupid is a climate blockbuster from McLibel director Franny Armstrong starring Pete Postlethwaite as a man living alone in the devastated world of 2055, asking: why didn’t we save ourselves when we had the chance?
Plot Outline
Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite (In The Name of the Father, Brassed Off) stars as a man living alone in the devasted world of 2055, looking back at “archive” footage from 2007 and asking: why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?
Pete Postlethwaite
Directed By
Franny Armstrong
Produced By
Lizzie Gillett & John Battsek

Stupid was launched in the UK on 15th March 2009 at the People’s Premiere. The green-carpet, solar-powered, celeb-tastic event broke the Guinness World Record for biggest simultaneous film screening (the cinema tent in Leicester Square beamed live by satellite to 61 cinemas round the country), whilst producing just 1% of the emissions of a normal premiere. Highlights included Gillian Anderson, Ken Livingstone, Will Young and loads of celebs on the green carpet, President Nasheed announcing that the Maldives will go carbon neutral in ten years and Pete Postlethwaite ambushing Climate Minister Ed Miliband with a giant pledge (resulting in, a month later, Ed changing the UK coal policy). And Stupid was Number 1 at the Box Office (by screen average) for a week too.

McLibel is the story of two ordinary people who humiliated McDonald’s in the biggest corporate PR disaster in history.

McDonald’s loved using the UK libel laws to suppress criticism. Major media organisations like the BBC and The Guardian crumbled and apologised. But then they sued gardener Helen Steel and postman Dave Morris.

In the longest trial in English legal history, the “McLibel Two” represented themselves against McDonald’s £10 million legal team. Every aspect of the corporation’s business was cross-examined: from junk food and McJobs, to animal cruelty, environmental damage and advertising to children.

Outside the courtroom, Dave brought up his young son alone and Helen supported herself working nights in a bar. McDonald’s tried every trick in the book against them. Legal manoeuvres. A visit from Ronald McDonald. Top executives flying to London for secret settlement negotiations. Even spies.

Seven years later, in February 2005, the marathon legal battle finally concluded at the European Court of Human Rights. And the result took everyone by surprise – especially the British Government.

McLibel is not just about hamburgers. It is about the importance of freedom of speech now that multinational corporations are more powerful than countries.  Filmed over ten years by no-budget Director Franny Armstrong, McLibel is the David and Goliath story of two people who refused to say sorry. And in doing so, changed the world.

The United States premiere of “A River Runs Through Us,” a film by Carla Pataky played to a standing-room only crowd at the Point Reyes Film Festival on February 26th and 27th. You can watch the film for free online on youtube, and download a free copy for educational or artistic use below or at the International Rivers website. The film is available in English or English with Spanish subtitles.
The documentary offers a personal and hopeful introduction to one of the biggest threats facing our world’s lifelines, as told by the people at the forefront of the global movement. Filmed at the Rivers for Life 3 meeting — a gathering of 350 river activists from 50 countries, held in rural Mexico — this documentary touches on issues such as how climate change will affect rivers and dams; what happens to communities displaced by or living downstream of large dams; and what kinds of solutions exist that both preserve our life-giving waterways while meeting our needs for energy and water.

Click on the awards below to see details about film screenings of A River Runs Through Us.

Columbia Gorge International Film Festival Official Selection Agitpop Film Festival Official Selection Geography of Hope Official Selection

From the Global Footprint NetworkJust what do terms like biodiversity, the Ecological Footprint and ecosystem services actually mean, and what do they have to do with our daily lives? Not Another Nature Film, produced by WWF for the launch of the 2010 Living Planet Report and narrated by British and actor and comic Stephen Merchant, takes a lighthearted look at a serious problem and reminds us why we need to play nice.

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