Waste  Land

Renowned artist Vik Muniz embarks on one of the most inspired collaborations of his career, joining creative forces with Brazilian catadores — garbage pickers who mine treasure from the trash heaps of Rio de Janeiro’s Jardim Gramacho landfill. In this Oscar-nominated documentary, the catadores prove to be unique and surprising individuals in their own right, waxing philosophic as they impart a valuable lesson about what society discards.

I was taken by the documentary’s bold statement about the human spirit’s strength and depth. Make no mistake, this documentary is more about people and art than it is about trash. Highly recommended.



Food Inc.

Drawing on Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, director Robert Kenner’s Oscar-nominated documentary explores the food industry’s detrimental effects on our health and environment. Kenner spotlights the men and women who are working to reform an industry rife with monopolies, questionable interpretations of laws and subsidies, political ties and rising rates of E. coli outbreaks.




Blind Spot

According to filmmaker Adolfo Doring, humankind is facing a catastrophic catch-22: Destroy the world by exhausting its supply of fossil fuels, or stop using oil and let the modern economy collapse. This documentary presents evidence of waning petroleum reserves and explores why industrial society has become so dependent on oil. Experts also explain how gasoline use leads to global warming and predict what will happen when it’s gone.


Award-winning photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand directs this breathtaking ode to planet Earth, an aerial voyage that captures the interdependence of the world’s ecosystems — and the bruises left behind by human indifference. From the agricultural revolution to our ever-increasing reliance on oil, narrator Glenn Close examines the changes that have wreaked havoc on our home, urging viewers to preserve the Earth’s remaining natural treasures.




National Geographic: Collapse

This National Geographic production looks ahead to a bleak hypothetical future, in which our civilization has completely collapsed. In the year 2210, a team of scientists set out to learn exactly what took down our seemingly indestructible society. Did we make the same mistakes the Romans, Incas and Mayans did that led to the collapse of their empires, or did a whole new set of circumstances lead to our downfall?





The high cost — to both the environment and our health — of bottled water is the subject of this documentary that enlists activists, environmentalists, community leaders and others to expose the dark side of the bottled water industry. Americans may rethink their obsession with bottled H20 when they learn of the unregulated industry’s willingness to ignore environmental and health concerns, and the problems that arise as a result.




Blue Gold: World Water Wars

Narrated by Malcolm McDowell, this award-winning documentary from director Sam Bozzo posits that we’re moving closer to a world in which water — a seemingly plentiful natural resource — could actually incite war. As water becomes an increasingly precious commodity, corrupt governments, corporations and even private investors are scrambling to control it … which leaves everyday citizens fighting for a substance they need to survive.





In an avant-garde soliloquy, investigative journalist Michael Ruppert details his unnerving theories about the inexorable link between energy depletion and the collapse of the economic system that supports the entire industrial world. Helmed by filmmaker Chris Smith (American Movie), Ruppert’s monologue explains how the lies and political propaganda fed to Americans by big business will eventually lead to human extinction.




Broken Limbs

The son of an apple grower on the brink of going out of business, filmmaker Guy Evans explores the efforts of small farmers to compete against global corporations by adopting sustainable agriculture techniques. With an engaging mix of humor and drama, this documentary shares simple ways viewers can participate in this growing movement and offers a hopeful outlook on the future of independent farming.




No Impact Man

A Fifth Avenue family goes very green when writer Colin Beavan leads his wife, Michelle Conlin, and their baby daughter on a yearlong crusade to make no net impact on the environment in this engaging documentary. Among their activities: eating only locally grown organic food, generating no trash except for compost and using no carbon-fueled transportation. Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein’s film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.




The Age of Stupid

In the desolate future of 2055, an archivist (Pete Postlethwaite) combs through a vast collection of videos to learn what went wrong with the planet. His research points to the first decade of the century, when humans blithely ignored the warning signs of climate change. The footage he views is actually culled from real-life interviews conducted by the filmmaker, whose sharp — and darkly funny — insights populate this sobering documentary.





Frontline: Heat

“Frontline” producer Martin Smith investigates the environmental impact of big business. For years, corporations fought against compliance. That all changed when investors, advocacy groups and governments pressured companies into responsibility. But going green isn’t necessarily the norm in developing countries, as Smith reveals in his journey around the world to learn how businesses everywhere are dealing with the issue.





is a 2010 American documentary film written and directed by Josh Fox. The film focuses on communities in the United States impacted by natural gas drilling and, specifically, a stimulation method known as hydraulic fracturing.






Taken For a Ride

Why Does America Have the Worst Public Transit in the Industrialized World, and the Most Freeways?

Taken for a Ride reveals the tragic and little known story of an auto and oil industry campaign, led by General Motors, to buy and dismantle streetcar lines. Across the nation, tracks were torn up, sometimes overnight, and diesel buses placed on city streets. The highway lobby then pushed through Congress a vast network of urban freeways that doubled the cost of the Interstates, fueled suburban development, increased auto dependence, and elicited passionate opposition. Seventeen city freeways were stopped by citizens who would become the leading edge of a new environmental movement. With investigative journalism, vintage archival footage and candid interviews, Taken for a Ride presents a revealing history of our cities in the 20th century that is also a meditation on corporate power, city form, citizen protest and the social and environmental implications of transportation. Taken for a Ride was funded by the Independent Television Service (ITVS).

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