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Earth Science

Earth Science


Directed by Ian Cheney

Contrasts sci-fi ideas about terraforming Mars with the state of NYC's waterways, and questions the viability of colonizing Mars before making our own planet sustainable.

Could humans live on Mars? Would we want to? Emmy-nominated filmmaker, Ian Cheney, provides insight into our currently unsustainable relationship with our home planet by examining the sci-fi speculation of "terraforming," or making another planet Earth-like, by altering its atmosphere. He calls on a multifaceted brain trust to process this big idea including a desert camp of Mars hopefuls, a bevy of sci-fi writers, Hurricane Sandy survivors, the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, and a who's who of astrobiologists and earth scientists. BLUESPACE makes a strong case for taking better care of our water-rich planet so that future generations won't have to resort to interplanetary colonization.

At times whimsical and funny, serious and poignant and always stimulating, this is a unique exploration of current thinking about the origins and evolution of life and its relationship to water.

DVD / 2016 / (Grades 10 -12, College, Adults) / 73 minutes

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Directed by Steve Bradshaw

Examines whether human impact has tipped the planet into a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, with all of its political, social and behavioral implications.

A Working Group of international scientists is deciding whether to declare a new geological epoch - the Anthropocene - a planet shaped more by mankind than nature. Its members tell the story of the Anthropocene and argue whether it's a tragedy, a comedy, or something more surreal. With archival footage, award-winning stills and interviews, ANTHROPOCENE proposes a common secular narrative for mankind but leaves viewers to decide how we should write the ending. The film has the blessing of Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen, who coined the term, and is the first feature film about the Anthropocene. It is now our turn to decide--in this decade--how the Anthropocene will end.

Interviewees include Will Steffen, Erle Ellis, Jan Zalasiewicz, Andrew Revkin, John McNeil, Monica Berger Gonzalez, Eric Odada, Davor Vidas.

DVD / 2015 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adults) / 97 minutes

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Directed by Guy Reid

A provocative and breathtaking wakeup call - a cross continental cinematic journey that explores our cosmic origins and our future as a species.

We are in the midst of a global crisis of perspective. We have forgotten the undeniable truth that every living thing is connected.

PLANETARY is a provocative and breathtaking wakeup call -- a cross continental, cinematic journey. The film takes us from one of the truly extraordinary events of our civilization, space travel, and looks at how this gave us a totally different perspective on the Earth. It is a humbling reminder of the near-incalculable breadth of our impact on the earth, intellectually challenges us to reconsider our relationship with our home and the urgency to shift our perspective -- to remember that we are planetary.

Featuring interviews with thirty renowned experts including astronauts Ron Garan and Mae Jemison, celebrated environmentalist Bill McKibben, National Book Award winner Barry Lopez, National Geographic Explorer Elizabeth Lindsey and Head of the Tibetan Buddhist Kagyu school, the 17th Karmapa, Janine Benyus, Wade Davis, Joanna Macy, PLANETARY takes viewers on a cinematic journey to experience our world like never before.

DVD / 2015 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adults) / 84 minutes

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There will be a very large-scale super volcanic eruption from Yellowstone National Park. The question is not if it will happen, but when.

For over a century, tens of millions of visitors have marveled at the natural beauty of Yellowstone National Park, home to the largest concentration of geysers in the world, including the iconic Old Faithful. However, beneath all this beauty lurks a beast.

Visitors may not realize it, but Yellowstone is situated directly above one of the largest volcanic systems on Earth - a supervolcano. For the past two million years, this volcano has erupted roughly every 600,000 years. The last major eruption, which produced a caldera that stretches over 1,500 square miles across the park - two-thirds the size of Prince Edward Island - occurred 640,000 years ago. So, is it overdue for another eruption?

DVD / 2013 / (Senior High, College) / 50 minutes

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The Earth is roughly four and a half billion years old, and life started to emerge shortly after the first billion. Our planet's atmosphere is made up of one of the world's most reactive elements - oxygen. It is the product of green plants and is essential for the survival of all animal life.

DVD / 2012 / (Senior High, College) / 24 minutes

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Directed by Diane LaMacchia and Doug Prose

HAWAII: ROOTS OF FIRE is a new documentary about the hidden forces that drive the planet's largest and most active volcanic system, the Hawaiian Islands.

The film follows earth scientists as they work among the volcanoes of the Big Island Hawaii, pursuing clues and compiling evidence in a quest to shed light on the mysterious inner-Earth process that has been producing giant volcanoes in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for more than 75 million years.

Scientists have long been puzzled over the source of the huge quantities of lava erupting out of Hawaii's massive volcanoes. Does the lava come from just below the Earth's crust? Or does it come from much deeper, perhaps even as far down as the Earth's core, some 1,800 miles below the surface?

The film focuses on an international team of scientists who take on these key questions with a major drilling project into the flanks of Mauna Kea, Hawaii's tallest volcano.

After years of painstaking research, startling new discoveries are made. Not only have the scientists determined where the lava is coming from, but they have solved other long-standing mysteries about the workings of Hawaii's magnificent volcanoes.

This project was funded by the National Science Foundation Continental Dynamics and Informal Science Education Programs.

DVD / 2011 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adult) / 27 minutes

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Directed by Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow

The story of Earth's most valuable and underappreciated source of fertility, from its miraculous beginning to its crippling degradation.

Dirt! The Movie introduces viewers to dirt's fascinating history. Four billion years of evolution have created the dirt that recycles our water, gives us food, provides us shelter, and that can be used as a source of medicine, beauty and culture.

However, people have become greedy and careless, endangering this vital living resource with destructive methods of agriculture, mining practices, and urban development. The word dirt has become "dirty". This abusive behavior has yielded catastrophic results, which the film does not shy away from: mass starvation, drought, floods and global warming.

Dirt! The Movie proves that times are changing. More than 25 renowned global visionaries in countries around the world are discovering new ways of thinking as they come together to repair this natural resource with practical, viable solutions. These participants include Bill Logan, Andy Lipkis, Dr. Vandana Shiva, Fritjof Capra, Pierre Rabhi, Wangari Maathai, Wes Jackson and Majora Carter.

To capture these prescient people and their inspiring stories, the production team filmed in more than 20 locations, including Argentina, Brazil, France, India, Kenya, and several regions of the United States.

On their journey, the filmmakers found:
  • farmers and agronomists re-discovering sustainable agriculture
  • tiny villages standing up for their right to feed their families
  • scientists discovering connections with soil that can help reduce global warming including ways to generate electricity from soils and sediments
  • inmates finding inner peace and job skills in a prison horticulture program
  • children uncovering the secrets of soil fertility and eating from edible schoolyards.

  • Dirt! The Movie uncovers the surprising ways we can repair our relationship with dirt and create new possibilities for all life on earth. You may never look at the ground beneath your feet quite the same.

    DVD / 2009 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adult) / 80 minutes

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    The ice on the Arctic Ocean continues to melt at an alarming rate. On Thin Ice focuses on the life of the ice-dependent seals, one of the key species in the Arctic and one of the first to suffer as the icy platforms for which they rely, melts away beneath them. Without the ice, a seal's existence is threatened as it has no place give birth or rest. The polar bear also spends most of its life on the ice and as hunting grounds deteriorate, must roam greater distances in search of seal pups, its main source of food. We visit Svalbard, an archipelago lying in the Arctic Ocean, midway between Norway and the North Pole and explore a world in danger of disappearing. Climatologists predict if environmental toxins continue to be released at the present rate, all of the ice in the Arctic could be gone by 2050.

    Covered by a thick carapace of ice, the Arctic's temperature rises twice as fast as rest of the world. Surfaces devoid of ice are darker and absorb more heat. Over the past two years the expanse of ice has dwindled by over 1 million square kilometers. Scientists have traded in their snowmobiles for boats in order to conduct their research. Major changes have already been evidenced. Summer ice for example has receded by almost one-third over the past 25 years and animals are finding it increasingly difficult to cope their disappearing habitat.

    DVD / 2007 / (Senior High, College) / 25 minutes

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    Who's Got The Power?, a forceful, new documentary film, addresses head on the reality of global warming, caused by the burning of fossil fuels, coal, oil and gas, its attendant dangers in the form of carbon dioxide emissions---and presents genuine and workable solutions. The film proposes that the use of renewable energy - solar, wind, biomass and geothermal, are viable alternatives to our dependence on fossil fuels that bring about the dangerous climate changes that result in global warming. From the vantage points of world-renown scientists, environmental activists, physicians, financial advisers, designers, builders, coal miners and others, the global warming debate unfolds. In addition, inner city and suburban consumers in America, Germany and Japan share their personal experiences with solar-powered housing.

    From the coal-scarred hills of Appalachia to the sun drenched suburbs of Los Angeles, to three Category 5 hurricanes within three months in 2005 in the Southeast, eight days of non-stop rain in the Northeast, record breaking heat globally, people are becoming increasingly vocal about the hazards of global warming. They are demanding practical and achievable solutions, in particular, championing the development and use of renewable energy resources to safeguard the earth for future generations.

    DVD / 2007 / (Senior High, College) / 52 minutes

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    Potential conflicts are brewing between the nations that share the Nile River Basin. The days of the Nile only nourishing Egypt's great demand for water might be rapidly coming to an end. Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda are geographically located in the larger Nile basin and control the sources of the river. In recent years they have been demanding a greater share of the Nile's precious resource as demand comes closer to overtaking this finite supply. All 13 countries with access will have to come to agreements on how to share the Nile. Will this be the cause of the next war?

    DVD / 2007 / (Senior High, College) / 52 minutes

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    Directed by Doug Prose and Diane LaMacchia

    America's turbulent geologic story and earth scientists' biggest push yet to uncover its deepest secrets.

    This film captures the excitement of the early stages of an historic expedition, EarthScope, and in the process tells the dramatic geologic story of the North American continent.

    EarthScope is an ongoing exploration, funded by the National Science Foundation and undertaken by a diverse group of scientists, students, and volunteers who employ the most advanced earth exploration techniques to answer persistent geologic questions about the structure and evolution of the continent, and the physical processes controlling its earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

    Interspersed with scenes of scientists beginning new Earthscope experiments is archival footage of important past experiments, as well as dramatic scenes of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and landscapes filmed throughout the US. The film's liberal use of 3D animations helps explain the geologic story and the techniques employed by EarthScope scientists.

    DVD (Closed Captioned) / 2006 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adult) / 27 minutes

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    The danger posed by the New Madrid earthquake zone along the Mississippi River.

    The New Madrid earthquake zone, located along the Mississippi River near Memphis, Tennessee, has received little attention in recent years. But in 1811 it was the site of the most powerful series of earthquakes ever known on earth. Some two million square miles were affected, and shocks were felt as far away as Montreal, Canada-1,200 miles from the epicenter.

    According to experts, another major earthquake will likely occur in the New Madrid Earthquake Zone in the next 50 years. With the aid of computer graphics, the geologic characteristics of the region and the tectonic nature of earthquakes are explained. Additionally, the relatively stable region of the central United States is compared to the well-known seismicity of California. This is a fascinating science adventure that, for many people, will hit very close to home.

    DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 1993 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adult) / 27 minutes

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    An Inquiry into the Shape of the Earth and the Disappearance of Andrea Barns

    Flat earth theory proved! A lesson in critical thinking & media literacy.

    IN SEARCH OF THE EDGE is a comprehensive documentary proving, fairly conclusively, that the earth is flat!

    Humorous, thought-provoking, and at once both absurdist and matter of fact, it presents a carefully constructed argument from a definite, well-researched "flat-earth" point of view, while dismissing the "global earth" doctrine as little more than an elaborate hoax.

    The film is comprised of the conventional documentary mix of elements, including interviews with experts, stock footage, still photographs and animation, and is woven together with the story of Andrea Barns, a Canadian woman who devoted her life to convincing the world that the earth is flat.

    This is an essential lesson in media literacy for a generation plugged into television. Provoke critical thinking in your students and help them to become aware of the devices used in documentary media; the history of scientific paradigms; and their own willingness to take things at face value.

    DVD (Color) / 1990 / (Grades 5-12, College, Adult) / 26 minutes

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