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Environmental Studies (Weekly New Titles)

Environmental Studies (Weekly New Titles)


Director: Dena Seidel

A thrilling journey to the world's most perilous environment, Antarctic Edge: 70¢X South joins a team of world-class scientists as they explore the West Antarctic Peninsula. Directed by Dena Seidel and made in collaboration with the Rutgers Center for Digital Filmmaking and the Rutgers Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences. A unique inter-disciplinary educational project bridging art, science and storytelling, Antarctic Edge was funded in part by the National Science Foundation.

In the wake of devastating climate events like Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina, oceanographer Oscar Schofield teams up with a group of researchers in a race to understand climate change in the fastest winter-warming place on earth: the West Antarctic Peninsula. For more than 20 years, these scientists have dedicated their lives to studying the Peninsula's rapid change as part of the National Science Foundation's Long-Term Ecological Research Project.

Filmed in one of the most perilous environments on the planet, Antarctic Edge brings to us the stunning landscapes and seascapes of Earth's southern polar region, revealing the harsh conditions and substantial challenges that scientists endure for months at a time. While navigating through 60-foot waves and dangerous icebergs, the film follows the team as they voyage south to rugged, inhospitable Charcot Island to study the fragile and rapidly declining Adelie Penguin. For Schofield and his crew, these birds are the greatest indicator of climate change and a harbinger of what is to come.

DVD / 2015 / 72 minutes

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Directed by Kris Kaczor

A fiery octogenarian activist spearheads a grassroots campaign to ban the sale of single-serve plastic bottled water in Concord, MA.

Jean Hill, a fiery octogenarian, is deeply concerned about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the world's largest landfill. Since 2010, she has spearheaded a grassroots campaign to ban the sale of single-serve plastic bottled water in her hometown of Concord, Massachusetts. She spends her golden years attending city council meetings and cold calling residents. So far, her attempts to pass a municipal bylaw have failed.

As she prepares for one last town meeting, Jean faces the strongest opposition yet, from local merchants and the International Bottled Water Association. But her fiercest challenge comes from Adriana Cohen, mother, model and celebrity publicist-turned-pundit, who insists the bill is an attack on freedom.

When Adriana thrusts Jean's crusade into the national spotlight, it's silver-haired senior versus silver-tongued pro. In the same town that incited the American Revolution and inspired Thoreau's environmental movement, can one senior citizen make history? A tense nail-biter of a vote will decide.

  • "An outstanding case study of the kinds of local, grassroots environmental conflicts one sees throughout contemporary American society." - Andrew Szasz, Chair, Environmental Studies, UC Santa Cruz

  • "A perfect blend of harsh realism and inspiring idealism, Divide in Concord has mass appeal and a stirring story." - Anthony Marcusa, Scene Creek

  • HotDocs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival
  • Best of Hot Docs Vancouver
  • Audience Award, Possible Worlds Film Festival
  • Best New England Film, Newburyport Film Festival
  • Award of Merit, Catalina Film Festival

    DVD / 2014 / (Grades 5-12, College, Adults) / 142 minutes

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    By Christopher Landry

    Joanna Macy and the Great Turning is a short film about the societal shift now underway from an industrial growth society to a more sustainable civilization.

    Based on an extensive interview with well-known writer, teacher, and activist Joanna Macy, the film lays out Macy's understanding of "the Great Turning" as the third major revolution of human existence after the agricultural and industrial revolutions.

    "The most remarkable feature of this historical moment on Earth," says Joanna Macy, "Is not that we are on the way to destroying the world ¡X we've actually been on the way for quite a while. It is that we are beginning to wake up, as from a millennia-long sleep, to a whole new relationship to our world, to ourselves and each other."

    Macy considers how human beings have previously responded to the major challenges of our past and shows how we are doing so once again, in hundreds of ways both small and large.

    Illustrated with beautiful footage shot around the world, the film is at once sobering, insightful, and inspiring. The Great Turning is ultimately a call to take part in this new "great adventure" in order to help create a more life-sustaining world.

  • "Arguably the greatest interview of our time with one of the wisest women of our time. Heartbreakingly inspiring, practical and transcendental, transformative words that Joanna Macy has conjoined so beautifully in her life and work." - Paul Hawken, Author, Natural Capitalism and Blessed Unrest

  • "Thought-provoking and profound, and a welcome dose of hopefulness." - Mariposa Museum and Cultural Center

    DVD (Closed Captioned) / 2014 / (Grades 10-Adult) / 26 minutes

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    Director: Sara Dosa

    Every September over 200 seasonal workers, most of them Cambodian, Lao, Hmong, Mien and Thai, set up a temporary camp near the tiny town of Chemult, Oregon. They remain until the first snowfall, searching the lush woods of Klamath County for the rare matsutake, a fungus highly prized in Japan. This sensitive, probing documentary examines the bond between two of these hunters in one unusually hard season.

    Elderly Roger Higgins is a Vietnam vet who returned from the war traumatized and alienated. "We couldn't get a job, so we made our own jobs. I would get out there in the woods and just work." Kouy Loch is a Cambodian immigrant whose experience as a starving slave laborer under the Khmer Rouge taught him the foraging skills that now afford him a living. The men cemented their relationship years before over the shared pain of their Southeast Asian experience, becoming almost like father and son as they traipsed through the trees together. But Roger is too sick to do much hunting this year, and Kouy must walk the forest on his own.

    The Last Season contrasts the past with the present, the camaraderie of the mushroom hunters' camp with Higgins's remote home in the woods and the hope of a yearly treasure hunt with the vagaries of climate and falling prices. The result is a poetic film about friendship, nature and life.

  • "Elegaic, and insightful as to the traumatizing effects of war on men from different backgrounds¡K" - The Evening Class

  • "'The Last Season' hunts down and captures the essence of the modern documentary, slowly and surreptitiously seducing you into the ever-enlarging story languishing beneath the surface¡Kan excellent testament to the benefits of believing in the New West." - Cinesource Magazine

  • "Sumptuous¡KMoving¡KA richly textured story of cultural coagulation in which men are united by violence, global commerce, and finally, respect - for each other and the forest which soothes and supports them all." - IonCinema

  • Golden Gate Award, 2014 San Francisco Intl. Film Festival
  • Documentary Award, Center for Asian American Media (2014)

    DVD / 2014 / 78 minutes

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    Directed by Angela Sun

    Angela Sun reveals the effects of our rabid plastic consumption as she investigates The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

    Thousands of miles away from civilization, Midway Atoll is in one of the most remote places on earth. And yet it's become ground zero for The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, syphoning plastics from three distant continents. In this independent documentary film, journalist/filmmaker Angela Sun travels on a personal journey of discovery to uncover this mysterious phenomenon. Along the way she meets scientists, researchers, influencers, and volunteers who shed light on the effects of our rabid plastic consumption and learns the problem is more insidious than we could have ever imagined.

  • "Excellent--in its timeliness, its depth, and its presentation." - Dr. Sherri A. Mason, Professor of Chemistry, Environmental Sciences Program Coordinator, SUNY at Fredonia

  • "Plastic Paradise warns that the environment is everyone's responsibility, and that humanity cannot turn a blind eye to its own garbage forever. Highly recommended." - The Midwest Book Review

  • "Intriguing..chilling film...Journalist Angela Sun offers valuable new insights." - The Hollywood Reporter

  • Best of Fest Award, Docuwest Film Festival
  • Grand Jury Award, Wild & Scenic Film Festival
  • Best Medium Length Documentary, FICMA, Barcelona International Environmental Film Festival
  • Best Educational Film, Blue Ocean Film Festival
  • Best Documentary, Philadelphia Asian Film Festival
  • Gold Award Winner, California Film Awards
  • Broadcast Award, American Conservation Film Festival
  • Best Environmental Film, San Francisco Ocean Film Festival
  • Isla Conservation Award, Catalina Film Festival

    DVD / 2014 / (Grades 7 - 12, College, Adults) / 57 minutes

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    By James Fox
    Narrated by Peter Coyote

    Pretty Slick is the first film to fully reveal the devastating, untold story of BP's Corexit coverup following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    The spill is well-known as one of the largest environmental disasters in U.S. history. But what is not well-known is that BP, with U.S. government approval, attempted to sink the oil rather than clean it up, using the controversial dispersant Corexit -- and then covered up the practice. Some estimates are that 75% of the oil, 150 million gallons, is still unaccounted for.

    When filmmaker James Fox learned of this, he began a three year investigation, digging far deeper than any media outlet or film previously, to find the truth about the dispersant use and coverup. Pretty Slick questions whether public safety and environmental health took a backseat to restoring the tourist-based economy, and exposes the symbiosis between big oil and the U.S. government, which was as deep as the ocean is blue.

    Fox was on the ground and in the air with leading scientists, fisherman and other locals at the peak of the disaster, then returned for each of the three following years. During one visit, Fox met with Dr. Samantha Joye, who had traveled 5000 feet below the Gulf on a submarine to witness first-hand the spill's impact on the sea-bed floor.

    Despite the disaster, and subsequent revelations, PRETTY SLICK notes there has been little or no federal action to make oil drilling safer or prevent the use of toxic dispersants in the next spill.

  • Dr. Sylvia Earle, former Chief Scientist, NOAA
  • Dr. Samantha Joye, Dept of Marine Sciences, Univ of Georgia
  • Dr. Carl Safina, President, Blue Ocean Institute, MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellow

  • "Pretty Slick is an excellent film¡Kabout far more than the DWH oil spill, it is about the absolute necessity of securing the future health and sustainability of our oceans." - Dr. Samantha Joye, Ph.D., Department of Marine Sciences, University of Georgia

  • "A film that should be seen by everyone who cares about the future of our oceans." - Dr. Sylvia Earle, former Chief Scientist, NOAA

    DVD (Closed Captioned) / 2014 / (High School - Adult) / 71 minutes

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    Directed by Christopher Beaver

    Follows San Francisco's innovative efforts towards achieving zero waste, thereby dramatically reducing the city's carbon footprint.

    Only one third of the waste in the United States is recycled or composted. Why? Industry, through its practice of planned obsolescence, plays a major role; our lives are almost totally dependent on unrecyclable petroleum products. In order to reach zero waste, we need to change our relationship to garbage and view the things we discard as resources, rather than waste.

    RACING TO ZERO examines our society's garbage practices in terms of consumption, preparation, use and production, and discovers some amazing solutions in San Francisco, which is successfully taking the necessary steps to reach zero waste. Cities all over the United States have instituted zero-waste policies of their own, and it is through these mandates that we are challenged to think differently about not only how we handle our garbage, but what it can become.

  • "Congratulations to San Francisco...and hats off to this film team for showing us how a dream can become a practical reality." - Dr. Paul Connett, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Chemistry, St. Lawrence University

  • "Rousing film exhorts us to join in¡KEven turning rubbish into art, these innovators zero in on new possibilities for greater sustainability." - Carol Harada, Mill Valley Film Festival

    DVD / 2014 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adults) / 56 minutes

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    By Steve Taylor

    Tusk: Pembe ya Ndovu travels through the heart of Africa -- from Gabon's Atlantic coast, through the Congo Basin, to the savannahs of East Africa -- in a journey to uncover the serious threats to African wildlife and biodiversity.

    Filmed in full HD, spectacular sequences of elephants, rhinos, gorillas and okapis in their natural habitats contrast with disturbing footage of markets selling illegal wildlife products, such as ivory, rhino-horn and bushmeat.

    More than 100,000 elephants were slaughtered across the continent of Africa in the last few years for their ivory, with over 70% of this illegal ivory destined for China. The U.S. is the second biggest importer of ivory. The film travels to Asia to document the illegal ivory trade in Bangkok and high-end markets in Hong Kong. As China's economy grows, it is becoming more reliant upon a variety of African resources.

    Tusk dramatically shows the high cost of the ivory trade: the slaughter of whole elephant families, the endangerment of an entire species, and the murder of rangers and officers who try to protect them. Elephant slaughter has reached new heights, with criminal syndicates now moving in to poach Africa's last great herds of elephants.

    The film features some of the courageous rangers and others who are seeking to protect African wildlife, including Chinese conservationist Laurel Chor, who goes undercover to expose an illegal wildlife market, and world famous scientist Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, who campaigns against the ivory trade.

  • "Shows graphically the cruelty and the suffering that's involved in getting ivory from elephants in Africa. People in China - people everywhere - once they understand what is involved, will no longer want to trade in this cruel, despicable, blood-stained product." - Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE

  • "This beautifully filmed, powerful documentary is a wake-up call to the world - we are in danger of losing some of Africa's most iconic species - elephants, rhinos, gorillas and okapis - if we cannot curb the demand for wildlife products such as ivory, rhino- horn and bushmeat." - Ian Redmond, OBE, Field Biologist

    DVD (Closed Captioned) / 2014 / (High School - Adult) / 30 minutes

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    By Bo Boudart
    Narrated by Peter Coyote

    Worlds collide in the Tongass National Forest, the largest temperate rainforest one earth, when the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) turns tribes into corporations and sparks a lengthy logging frenzy.

    Walking in Two Worlds journeys to the Tongass to reveal its splendor and shed light on the devastation and division resulting from the Settlement Act. The Tongass is rich with old-growth trees, salmon-filled rivers and wildlife. Alaska's Tlingit and Haida Indian tribes have depended on this forest for their culture and survival.

    The Settlement Act resulted from a massive collision of Washington bullying, big business and Native American naivete. The result was a swath of tragic scars in a magnificent forest wilderness. Natives struggled to adapt to new roles as corporate shareholders.
    For one Native brother and sister, this transition divided them. While the brother led the native corporation's clear-cut logging, his sister became a fierce leader in the battle to stop the destruction. Then a life-threatening illness drew them back together as one sibling offered the other a life-saving gift.

    A story of division and redemption plays out showing the possibility of healing both the forest and the native community.

  • "Tells the story of the ANCSA in all of its complexity and diversity. The film succeeds by tracing the impacts of ANCSA through the lives of real people. At the same time it illustrates beautifully how indigenous values¡Khave helped to overcome these early frictions to insure that new institutions more consciously align with old institutions." - Thomas F. Thornton, Ph.D., Assoc. Professor & Senior Research Fellow, University of Oxford

  • "The film reflects the hearts and souls of the people who live close to the land -- and what the true cost has been by embracing western economic values." - Roby Koolyeikh Littlefield, Sitka, Alaska

    DVD (Closed Captioned) / 2014 / (High School - Adult) / 70 minutes

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    Directed by Judith Lit

    An intimate portrait of an ancestral way of life under threat in a world increasingly dominated by large-scale industrial agriculture.

    In an era of rapid growth of mega-farms, the encroachment of suburbia and new European Union rules and reductions of agricultural subsidies, the farmers in the Perigord region of southwest France are forced to confront challenges that threaten the very existence of their small farms.

    Their story is recorded by one of their neighbors, an American filmmaker who grew up on her family's farm in Pennsylvania. Inter-weaving her story and theirs, the documentary explores the nature of the farming life and the rapid changes of the last two decades that have impacted the lives of families whose survival is tied to the land.

    The Perigordine farmers show us that as agriculture moves out of the hands of families who have farmed for generations and into a model of "agriculture as business," something fundamental shifts. This farming community caught between tradition and an uncertain future struggles to hold on not only to their farms but to a set of values that comes of their intimate relationship with the natural world. AFTER WINTER, SPRING reveals the human story of family farming at a turning point in history.

  • "A beautifully shot film that takes complex issues of a globalizing food system and makes them relatable, personable and powerful." - Dr. Jonathan Deutsch, Program Director, Hospitality Management, Drexel University

  • "With beautiful imagery and poignant narration, the film makes it clear that the caring for field and fowl are really issues of the heart and staying connected to the land is vital to our understanding of what it means to be human." - John Rife, film critic and founder of East End Marke

  • "Make no mistake, this film doesn't only speak of loss and disillusionment, but also of renewal and a perhaps even of hope." - Anne Belchit, Sud-Oues

  • Best Foreign Documentary, Arizona International Film Festival
  • Audience Award, Mill Valley Film Festival
  • Jury Award, Cameras Des Champs

    DVD / 2013 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adults) / 74 minutes

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    Directed by Ann Dunsky, Steven Dunsky, David Steinke

    Explores the life and legacy of famed conservationist Aldo Leopold (A Sand County Almanac) and his land ethic philosophy.

    Aldo Leopold is considered the most important conservationist of the 20th century because his ideas are so relevant to the environmental issues of our time. He is the father of the national wilderness system, wildlife management and the science of ecological restoration. His classic book A Sand County Almanac still inspires us to see the natural world as a community to which we belong.

    GREEN FIRE explores Leopold's personal journey of observation and understanding. It reveals how his ideas resonate with people across the entire American landscape, from inner cities to the most remote wild lands. The film challenges viewers to contemplate their own relationship with the land.

    GREEN FIRE is the first feature documentary about Aldo Leopold's life and contemporary legacy. It features commentary from conservation leaders including scientists, ranchers, scholars and three of Aldo Leopold's children: Nina, Carl, and Estella. Curt Meine, Leopold's biographer, serves as the on-camera guide, making connections between Leopold's ideas and their expression in the conservation movement today. Peter Coyote gives voice to the Leopold's brilliant writing.

  • "Should be mandatory viewing for any student in a natural resource field, indeed for anyone who values nature, wilderness, and wildlife." - Dr. Michael Hutchins, Exec. Dir., The Wildlife Society

  • "This beautiful, moving, and inspiring film reminds us that the man we most remember for the land ethic was also a father of wilderness protection, ecological restoration, and our whole consciousness about what he called our hardest task - the ability to live on a piece of land without spoiling it." - Amory B. Lovins, Co-founder and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute

  • "Green Fire clarifies the enormous debt we owe Leopold. It beautifully reveals his lasting contributions to environmentalism and, in Leopold's spirit, challenges us to see the preciousness and interconnectedness of all life." - Paul Wapner, Professor of Global Environmental Politics Program, American University, Co-editor, Global Environmental Politics: From Person to Planet

  • Emmy Award for Best Historical Documentary, Chicago/Midwest Chapter
  • CINE Golden Eagle Award
  • Telly Award
  • Best Film: Story and Production, Waimea Ocean Festival
  • Best Cinematography, Duke City DocFest, Albuquerque
  • Archie Carr Award, Cinema Verde Environmental Film Festival
  • Special Jury Award, Vision/Voices, Eckerd College Environmental Film Festival

    DVD / 2011 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adults) / 73 minutes

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    Director: Dena Seidel

    Visionary oceanographer Scott Glenn leads a team of passionate and daring scientists as they race against time to launch the first autonomous underwater robot to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The robot, RU-27, is an experimental device - a modified Slocum Autonomous Underwater Gliding Vehicle - operated by Rutgers University researchers. In December 2009, RU-27 was the first robot to cross the Atlantic Ocean underwater, which took it 221 days.

    DVD / 2010 / 70 minutes

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    The U.S. needs more than 340 billion gallons of fresh water every day, but industrial effluent, agricultural runoff, and municipal discharge are contributing to an ongoing decline in water quality. In this program, Marty Tittelbaum, of the University of New Orleans; a water quality consultant; an environmental attorney; teachers; and many others address public health concerns, the need for stricter process controls, and broader enforcement of the Clean Water Act, while emphasizing the importance of information-sharing, educational outreach, and grassroots involvement in citizen action groups and environmental restoration projects.

    DVD (Color) / 40 minutes

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