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Sustainable Futures

Sustainable Futures


How do we communicate to leaders both the threats beyond ecological thresholds and the short-term solutions for realistic integration into working agendas? This 2011 Falling Walls lecture video highlights the work of Alejandro Litovsky, an expert on collaborative governance and sustainability innovation and founder of the Earth Security Initiative-a think tank that combines the knowledge and resources from business, environmental science, investment, and politics in order to increase opportunities for cross-sector coordination to address the challenges of ecological limits. His work seeks to establish a security value for resources and ecosystems, which can be translated into action through cross-sector partnerships. To illustrate the need for greater coordination across disciplines, Litovsky blends atmospheric physics with risk analysis and draws on live music performance, while exploring unions between society, science, politics, investment, and business in the context of the planet's ecological crisis. Musical accompaniment by Anders Scherp.

DVD / 2011 / 16 minutes

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Directed by Ian Cheney

The definitive story of light pollution and the disappearing stars.

THE CITY DARK chronicles the disappearance of darkness. The film follows filmmaker (and amateur astronomer) Ian Cheney (KING CORN, BIG RIVER,TRUCK FARM), who moves to New York City from Maine and discovers an urban sky almost completely devoid of stars. He poses a deceptively simple question, "What do we lose, when we lose the night?".

Exploring the threat of killer asteroids in Hawai'i, tracking disoriented hatching turtles along the Florida coast, and rescuing birds on Chicago streets injured by collisions with buildings, Cheney unravels the myriad implications of a globe glittering with lights--including increased breast cancer rates from exposure to light at night, and a generation of kids without a glimpse of the universe above. In six chapters weaving together cutting-edge science with personal, meditative sequences reflecting on the human relationship to the sky, THE CITY DARK shines new light on the meaning of the dark.

The film features stunning astrophotography and a cast of eclectic scientists, philosophers, historians, and lighting designers including Hayden Planetarium director Neil deGrasse Tyson, astronaut Don Pettit, neurologist Dr. George Brainard, Harvard Medical School scientist Dr. Steven Lockley, cosmologist Chris Impey, and lighting designer HerveDescottes.

  • "The most comprehensive and intelligent documentary on light pollution." - Bob Parks, Executive Director, International Dark-Sky Association

  • "A City Dark really makes you think about what kind of alternatives are both sustainable and feasible." - Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

  • "Entertaining and thought-provoking...Mr. Cheney's film is a personal lament for the star-filled night sky he experienced growing up in Maine, but it is neither sorrowful nor a rant; he somehow manages to give this engaging work a sense of humor. He also manages to make it smart...This film makes you want to go find a starry sky to camp under quickly, before it's all gone." - Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times

  • Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature, Environmental Film Festival at Yale
  • Jury Prize for Best Score/Music, SXSW Film Festival
  • New York Times Critics' Pick

    DVD / 2011 / 83 minutes

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    Eco Company visits the campus of Santa Clara University where a team of students participate in a biannual competition called the Solar Decathlon sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. What do they have to do to win? They must design and build the greenest, most energy efficient house. They build it, then dismantle it and take it to the Capital Mall in Washington, D.C. to be judged. While Eco Company makes themselves at home in the house that placed 3rd two years ago, Adam gets a tour of the home they are readying for this year's competition.

    DVD / 2010 / (Jr. High - College) / 22 minutes

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    Director: David Sheen

    First Earth is about a massive paradigm shift for shelter-building healthy houses in the old ways, out of the very earth itself, and living together like in the old days, by recreating villages. An audiovisual manifesto filmed over four years on four continents, it proposes that earthen homes are the healthiest housing in the world; and that since it still takes a village to raise a healthy child, we must transform our suburban sprawl into eco-villages.

    First Earth is not a how-to film, but a why-to film. It establishes the appropriateness of earthen building in every cultural context, under all socio-economic conditions, from third-world communities to first-world countryside, from Arabian deserts to American urban jungles. In the age of collapse and converging emergencies, the solution to many of our ills might just be getting back to basics, for material reasons and for spiritual reasons, both personal and political.

    First Earth features curving art-poem dwellings in the Pacific Northwest in Canada and the US; thousand-year-old apartment-and-ladder architecture of Taos Pueblo; centuries-old and contemporary cob homes in England; classic round thatched huts in West Africa; bamboo-and-cob structures now on the rise in Thailand; and soaring Moorish-style earthen skyscrapers in Yemen. Featuring appearances by renowned cultural observers and activists Derrick Jensen, Daniel Quinn, James Howard Kunstler, Richard Heinberg, Starhawk, Chellis Glendinning, and Mark Lakeman as well as major natural building teachers Michael G. Smith, Becky Bee, Joseph Kennedy, Sunray Kelly, Janell Kapoor, Elke Cole, Ianto Evans, Bob Theis, and Stuart Cowan.

    DVD (With English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese Subtitles) / 2010 / 90 minutes

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    Directed by Curt Ellis

    Following up on their Peabody Award-winning documentary KING CORN, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis have returned to Iowa with a new mission: to investigate the environmental impact their acre of corn has had on the people and places downstream.

    In a journey that spans from the heartland to the Gulf of Mexico, Ian and Curt trade their combine for a canoe, and set out to see the big world their little acre of corn has touched. On their trip, flashbacks to the pesticides they sprayed, the fertilizers they injected, and the soil they plowed now lead to new questions, explored by new experts in new places. Half of Iowa's topsoil, they learn, has been washed out to sea. Fertilizer runoff has spawned a hypoxic 'dead zone' in the Gulf. And back at their acre, the herbicides they used are blamed for a cancer cluster that reaches all too close to home.

    A lively investigation and a worthy follow-up, BIG RIVER grows to ask is industrial agriculture worth its hidden costs?

  • "A sharp and clever reminder that nothing ever really goes away." - Bill McKibben, Author, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

  • "Cheney and Ellis narrate, but there are moments when they just silently paddle a canoe or listen to experts. The men's silence is powerful...[Big River] successfully re-creates the earlier film's [King Corn] tone, which is calm, curious and, above all, quietly despairing." - Isthmus

    DVD (Closed Captioned) / 2009 / (Grades 9-12, College, Adults) / 27 minutes

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    Green design or designing with the environment in mind is not just a trend, but a personal choice to consider your impact on the earth. In fact, on average, homes are 20% smaller now than they were being built just 10 years ago.

    Join principal designer Brandi Hagen of Eminent Design as she shares the components of green interior design. Explore green furnishing that not only create beautiful spaces but also take an extra consideration for environmental impact. Discover "green" options as Brandi shows examples environmentally friendly design options, including:

  • Low-flow and water restricting plumbing choices
  • Tile options, including recycled glass and handmade clay tiles
  • Unique countertops from recycled paper, concrete, copper, and glass
  • Reclaimed or FSC certified wood flooring and recycled or natural-source carpet options
  • Energy-efficient appliances
  • Lighting, including compact fluorescent bulbs and LEDs
  • VOC-free paints
  • Organic fabric

    DVD / 2009 /

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    The first hybrid car was introduced in 1905. It had two distinct power sources working together to make it run; gas and electric power. However, using only gasoline back then was cheap and easy to power, and the hybrid car was forgotten; until recently. Since the fuel widely used now is a non-renewable resource and becoming increasingly less affordable, the hybrid car is making a comeback. Hybrid cars are operated by a computer system called the Digital Drive Line. When you step on the gas pedal, you are telling the system how fast you need to go and the car decides whether to use gas, electric power or both. The benefit of the hybrid is that instead of running on gas for an entire trip, it uses non-polluting electric power when possible. The hybrid car is ideal for city driving and traffic. By using less gas, hybrid cars help cut pollution and helps save drivers money at the gas pump.

    DVD / 2008 / (Elementary - Senior High) / 12 minutes

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    Solar power is defined as the energy we produce by converting sunlight into heat or electricity. It is one of the most abundant and affordable sources of energy available. However, it is difficult to harness and impractical in some parts of the world. So, it is important to explore in-depth, the process of converting sunlight to power. The three primary ways to produce solar power on a large scale are solar power generating plants, photovoltaic cells and solar thermal heaters. The Eco Kids will take us through each process of energy conversion to help us better understand this clean energy technology.

    DVD / 2008 / (Elementary - Senior High) / 17 minutes

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    Sustaining the world's resources for future generations can start with small changes around your home. Watch as a group of students - The Go Green Team - are called to action after they learn statistics about waste. See how they come up with ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle products in their homes to create a healthier lifestyle and environment.

    Viewers will discover:
  • Tips to minimize waste and reduce toxins
  • Small ways to save a lot of energy
  • Important items to recycle
  • Items that shouldn't be put in the trash
  • Eco-friendly ways to shop
  • Benefits of eating organic foods
  • Environmentally-safe products to use

    DVD (Closed Captioned) / 2008 / (Grades 6-Adult) / 20 minutes

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    Do you remember the children's tale, "Three Little Pigs?" Build a strong house made out of bricks and mortar, and you'll be safe from the big, bad wolf. Build Green is here to show audiences that a house built from sticks and straw is better protection from the elements, and it mitigates your personal impact on global climate change.

    In a refreshing hour, Build Green advises making the sun, wind and rain - along with dirt, straw and sewage - your friends. By building a house using innovative practices and materials, you'll not only do the earth a favour, but you could save big bucks too.

    In Build Green, Canada's best architects hype their green creations. From retro-fitting a hip, old Montreal housing complex with state-of-the-art sustainable energy systems, to pitching hay for strawbale houses, to building transportable "mini-homes" with their own small power plant, take a close look at the materials and means we can all adopt for building green homes.

    DVD (Closed Captioned) / 2007 / (Grades 7-12, Adult Education, Post Secondary) / 45 minutes

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    The story of Boston's first LEED-certified residential green building, and the people who made it possible.

    Directed by Ian Cheney

    In the traditionally Irish-American working-class neighborhood of South Boston, MA, a new kind of building has taken shape. From wheatboard cabinetry to recycled steel, bamboo flooring to dual-flush toilets, the Macallen building is something different: a leader in the emerging field of environmentally friendly design.

    But Boston's steel-toed union workers aren't sure they like it. And when things on the building start to go wrong, the young developer has to keep the project from unraveling.

    Building Boston's first LEED Gold-certified building turns out to be harder than anyone thought. Yet among the I-beams and brickwork emerges a small cadre of unlikely environmentalists who come to connect their work with the future of their children

  • "I cannot recommend this film enough to anyone who is or wants to be a part of green building." - Joel Bittle, GreenBuildingElements.com

  • "This inspiring film...argues for widespread adoption of green building practices, while still presenting the contradictions and quandaries...and revels in the greening of southern Boston's construction workers, born skeptics who rise to the occasion." - True/False Film Fest Program

  • "A balanced but incisive look at a complex issue that affects us all." - Bostonist

  • "An engaging documentary that offers an exciting glimpse into the future of Earth-friendly construction...Literally a globetrotting affair that forcuses on the materials and personnel involved in the design and construction of the Macallen building...Recommended." - Video Librarian

  • "Recommended for those interested in the environmental aspects of city planning." - Library Journal

    DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2007 / ( Grades 7-12, College, Adult) / 72 minutes

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    Curitiba is known worldwide for it's innovative ideas in sustainable urban management. This case study looks at the city's initiatives and how these have benefited residents. The video examines:

  • The integrated transport system which uses buses and not rail. Remarkably, this system moves the same numbers of people at a fraction of the cost of rail
  • Planning for parks and gardens, alleviating flooding and squatter settlements
  • Garbage and recycling operations
  • Effective social initiatives assisting the city's poorer residents
  • Environmental benefits flowing from these initiatives

    Appearing on camera are:
  • Jaime Lerner, the world renowned architect behind the city's outstanding success
  • Cassio Taniguchi, current mayor and upholder of Lerner's ground-breaking reforms

    Please contact us for primary and secondary schools pricing.

    Note : The above titles may have some territorial restrictions. Please feel free to send us an enquiry.

    DVD / 2003 / 25 minutes

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    By Margaret Zambrano, Patsy Northcutt

    The World Commission on Environment and Development has defined sustainability as "meeting the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

    Guided by the scientific principles of the Natural Step, the University of Houston Health Science Center is designing one of the most ecologically-friendly large scale buildings ever constructed. In order to achieve this, great care is being put into planning and collaboration between the faculty, students, architects, and engineers. Experts in lighting, renewable resources, life cycles, climate control, recycling, composting, and energy conservation are also involved.

  • "Lip service is cheap; action has real value. Here is an organization that is letting its actions do the talking." - Ray Anderson, CEO Interface, Inc. and Co-Chair, President's Council for Sustainable Development

  • Honorable Mention, Earthvision Film & Video Festival
  • Bronze Award, 2000 Worldfest-Houston Festival

    DVD / 1999 / (Grades 10-Adult) / 22 minutes

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    By Geoff Holland

    Renewable Power offers an exciting vision of a world transformed by clean energy. We see how solar and wind generated energy can be stored for later use by splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen. Cutting edge computer animation shows how fuel cells reverse the process, combining hydrogen and oxygen into electricity and water.

    The program also profiles a new generation of zero pollution cars and trucks run by the fuel cell. This offers an inspiring and reassuring window on the dawning age of solar and hydrogen energy.

  • "Highly recommended! The program follows a logical sequence of ideas. Computer generated graphics along with clear and concise explanations give the viewer a good explanation of the renewable technologies." - Educational Media Reviews Online

  • Gold Apple Award, National Educational Media Network
  • CINE Golden Eagle Award

    DVD / 1999 / (Grades 9-Adult) / 28 minutes

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    Explore planning and design; basic building design; embodied energy and resource use in buildings; heating, cooling and ventilation; lighting; infrastructures; and a holistic, or complete, view of the whole building and design process. This program has interviews with Robert & Diane Gilman, Amory Lovins of Rocky Mountain Institute and Mike & Judy Corbett of Village Homes. You'll also hear from professors of Vernacular Architecture, Sustainable Design and Community Planning, an Indoor Environmental Quality Specialist, two Solar Architects, a General Building Contractor, a Landscape Architect and two other Architecture Professors.

    DVD / 1994 / 38 minutes

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    The third DVD in this series shows in-depth examples of good, accessible design involving the path-of-travel through buildings. Visit the designers and/or users of a universally designed recreation center, a shopping center, residences, business establishments and a library to name a few. In addition to the accessible, functional and appropriate design of new structures, alterations of existing structures are also shown. Numerous design specifications are interwoven throughout this interesting and comprehensive program.

    DVD / 1994 / 35 minutes

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    Throughout the world, innovative thinkers and entrepreneurs are transforming their communities, making the dream of sustainable living a reality. The United Kingdom's push for sustainable housing developments raises awareness of energy efficiency and promotes eco-friendly home design. Cement alternatives developed in Australia reduce the carbon footprint for concrete production by 60%. Two industrial designers from Colombia are creating fashion items from recycled tires. In the Philippines, the inventor of coconut fiber nets shows how his company helps prevent devastating mudslides in the region and provides employment to locals.

    DVD / 2011 / (Senior High - College) / 24 minutes

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    Sustainability in urban areas is coming into sharp focus as urban residents struggle to cope with social, economic and environmental issues. This programme examines the concept of urban sustainability and the changes that can be made to improve quality of life locally, nationally and globally.

    Please contact us for primary and secondary schools pricing.

    Note : The above titles may have some territorial restrictions. Please feel free to send us an enquiry.

    DVD / 2010 / 24 minutes

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    Radical changes in building design are needed to protect our fragile planet. This program studies the work of leading architects around the globe, all of whom employ green concepts and eco -friendly materials. Through extensive interviews and detailed visuals, the film provides insight into a wide range of residential and office design innovations - such as green roof technology, geothermal and passive solar energy, counterintuitive use of space, and more. Interviewees include Thom Mayne, Daniel Pearl, Jaime Lerner, Ivan Harbour, Francoise -Helene Jourda, Christoph Ingenhoven, Massimiliano Fuksas, Markku Komonen, Georg Reinberg, Kengo Kuma, and Qingyun Ma.

    Note: Only available in the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia and Japan.

    DVD (other languages with English Subtitles) / 2007 / 76 minutes

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