Environmental Film Reviews

New PBS Documentary Features Work on the Eastern Shore

A documentary that aired on PBS highlights the challenges the Eastern Shore faces, with an emphasis on UVA’s work to address flooding and resilience on the coast.

“Against the Current” provides a powerful glimpse of how Virginia’s Eastern Shore residents are subject to the challenges of rising water’s effects on their lives and livelihood. Through resilience and perseverance, they learn to co-exist and celebrate their rural home. How can this unique community shed light on the national conversations happening around these climate issues?

 


Environmental stalwart Stewart Udall celebrated in new documentary

Stewart Udall sits behind the desk in his Washington, D.C., law office, one block from the White House, Aug. 13, 1977. After serving as Secretary of the Interior to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, Udall opened a private legal practice, specializing in environmental, energy and Indian affairs. (AP Photo/Jeff Taylor)

The former Secretary of the Interior helped establish the Pacific Crest Trail, four national parks – including one in Washington – and many groundbreaking environmental laws.

Rachel Carson. David Brower. Aldo Leopold. These luminaries are often credited with igniting the modern environmental movement. Yet there’s another monumental figure, now sometimes overlooked, who spearheaded many of the movement’s most important ideas and initiatives: Stewart Udall.

A Westerner who fought what he called “the myth of superabundance,” and a prevailing attitude of growth for its own sake, Udall appealed for a new “land conscience” to conserve public lands already threatened by deforestation and exploitation. Washingtonians of a certain age may remember this conservation icon, a secretary of the interior through the 1960s, for establishing the North Cascades and Redwood national parks, among others, and for creating the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail, part of the massive National Trails System Act that now comprises a network of more than 86,000 miles of trails across the country.

Having entered public office as a Congressman representing Arizona, Udall was appointed Secretary of the Interior by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. He later served under President Lyndon Johnson until 1969.

Many of the landmark environmental laws that we now take for granted can be traced back to Udall’s leadership, making him, according to Seattle filmmaker John de Graaf, “one of the unsung heroes of 20th-century American history.”

Read more


Deep Rising

Join us on an epic journey from the deepest depths of our ocean – the most uncharted and inaccessible place on our planet – to the future of green energy, and learn how the two are inextricably linked.

Narrated and executive produced by Jason Momoa, and interwoven with awe-inspiring footage of the deep’s most dazzling creatures, Deep Rising illuminates the vital relationship between our ocean’s fragile and mysterious ecosystems, and sustaining all life on Earth.

A riveting tale of geopolitical, corporate and scientific intrigue, the film exposes the inner workings of the International Seabed Authority (ISA): a secretive United Nation instrument which oversees nearly half our planet’s surface on the ocean floor. The ISA is empowered to greenlight the massive extraction of metals from the seabed which are deemed essential by some to fulfill demand for the current electric battery technology.

As extractive conglomerates pivot investments from oil and gas to deep-ocean mining, Deep Rising asks why we don’t instead choose to develop abundant resources to solve our growing energy demands.

Deep Rising reminds us that the seabed is the common heritage of humankind and highlights the urgent need to make the right decision for generations to come.


Virunga

Conservation is war.
This critically acclaimed account of the battle to save endangered gorillas garnered an Oscar nod for Best Documentary.

In the forested depths of eastern Congo lies Virunga National Park, one of the most bio-diverse places in the world and home to the last of the mountain gorillas. In this wild, but enchanted environment, a small and embattled team of park rangers – including an ex-child soldier turned ranger, a carer of orphan gorillas and a Belgian conservationist – protect this UNESCO world heritage site from armed militia, poachers and the dark forces struggling to control Congo’s rich natural resources. When the newly formed M23 rebel group declares war in May 2012, a new conflict threatens the lives and stability of everyone and everything they’ve worked so hard to protect.Watch here


The Cloud Forest

Sometimes, ordinary people can create extraordinary positive change.  The people of a small community in Veracruz are the guardians of one of the ecosystems facing the most risk in the country: the cloud forest.  Hoping to save their sacred and fog-laden land, they work for a simpler and sustainable life.  Sixteen families redesign their needs, food, education and relationship with other people and with nature.  They create an entirely self-sustaining and independent society.  The Cloud Forest weaves this community’s singular quest with gorgeous scenes of their endangered surroundings. Read more


Polar Bear

Narrated by two-time Academy Award® nominee Catherine Keener (“Capote,” “Being John Malkovich”), Disneynature’s “Polar Bear” tells the story of a new mother whose memories of her own youth prepare her to navigate motherhood in the increasingly challenging world that polar bears face today. Helmed by Alastair Fothergill and Jeff Wilson, the directing team behind Disneynature’s “Penguins,” and produced by Fothergill, Wilson, Jason Roberts, Keith Scholey and Roy Conli.


Official Trailer | Disneynature’s Polar Bear | Disney+

A mother polar bear and her cub swim across the waters that was once the ice of the Arctic Tundra, as the film tells us the story of how she and her family survived during her youth. She had loved playing with her twin brother as they were watched & protected by their mother, as she goes seal hunting & keeping a look out for male polar bears who threaten the cubs, they even came across a dead whale, and they, along with many other bears, feasted on it. Sadly one day, the polar bear’s brother died, and it was only her & her mom left, she successfully hunted a baby walrus abandoned by a panicked mother. The bear’s mother knew it’s time to fend for herself again, and departs. The Polar Bear then spent years not seeing another ice bear, until she meets another male her age & they spend a day playing together, as he bids farewell, she realizes she was being tracked by a much bigger male. Thinking he was going to kill her, she stands her ground, but soon realizes she was being courted. As the big male & the female go their separate ways, The Polar Bear soon becomes a mother of one cub. In the present day, the mother and daughter spend their days surviving in the disappearing Arctic, the female knows her daughter will have what it takes to become a good ice bear, with a concerned question on what kind of world will she call home. The film ends with a message reading “the Arctic could be ice-free by the summer of 2040, the actions we take today can positively change the future of polar bears”. Click here to stream