Hollywood movies have often warned us about protecting the environment. If we do not live greener lifestyles and embrace renewable technology then devastating, even apocalyptic events will happen.
Take, for example, The Day After Tomorrow which warned of global warming. Storms rage and the temperatures drop to leave civilisation on the brink of total annihilation.
This isn’t the only instance. Science-fiction film Avatar mused on our disregard for the environment, while Erin Brockovich highlighted the sad, real life tragedy of profit over people’s health and well being.
Part of tackling the issues posed in these films is about learning about and promoting the value of alternative fuels, renewable energy sources, and greener living. Let’s take a look at some films that have celebrated the green energy effort.
Switch, a documentary film that forms a wider educative programme of media and initiatives including the Switch Energy Project, set out to highlight how we can move from energy derived from coal and oil to emerging energy technology and renewable alternatives. It features geologist Scott W. Tinker, an energy researcher who runs the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas. It’s an even-handed, well-researched and fascinating film.
Josh Tickell’s follow-up to 2008 film Fuel is once again inspired by the industrialised world’s use of fossil-based fuels with a critical view of America’s efforts to reduce its reliance on coal and oil. It goes on to celebrate alternative fuels including ethanol and methanol fuels, dual-fuel vehicles, and electric vehicles including Tesla Motors.
GO FURTHER (2003)
This celebration of greener living and green energy technology features a Hollywood star in the form of Woody Harrelson. In the documentary, the actor and a small group of fellow travellers take a road trip on a bio-fueled bus, demonstrating along the way how we can be more environmentally responsible. Along the journey, which they called the Simple Organic Living Tour, many contributors who live “green” lives are featured such as a tree-friendly paper producer and an eco-friendly farmer.
THE FOURTH REVOLUTION: ENERGY (2010)
In this German documentary, filmmaker Carl-A. Fechner muses on the idea of a global society deriving all its energy from renewable sources. Based on the book by the German member of parliament Hermann Scheer, the film considers how the economy will be shaped by this greener existence.
Josh Tickell’s documentary film highlights North America’s relationship with oil and the challenges to extricate itself from this long-established relationship. He relates this addiction to “black gold” to many of America’s woes such as unemployment and the national debt. In an otherwise optimistic endeavour, he seeks to shed light on how creating green jobs will produce widespread benefit.
Honourable mention to Al Gore’s word of warning…
AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH (2006)
Inspired by Al Gore’s efforts to highlight the threat of global warming, An Inconvenient Truth is filmmaker Davis Guggenheim’s account of the former United States Vice President’s environmental lecture circuit. The stark message throughout is that swift and significant action must be taken to reduce the destructive impact our reliance on fossil-based fuels is having on the environment. Not just hot air, Gore gets the science right in a way general audiences can understand.
If you’re interested in cinema, you can find more movie recommendations on Top 10 Films.