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Environmental Films
Explore, enjoy and protect the planet
This is a list of Environmental Films that people have recommended.
See legal issues below.

To submit a new film suggestion, use the form below.

NL = No License Required
Title Subject Year Length
Who can Loan/NL1
An Inconvenient Truth A documentary on Al Gore's campaign to make the issue of global warming a recognized problem worldwide. 2006 100 Speck-Bartynski
The 11th Hour Actor Leonardo DiCaprio's documentary on the global environmental crisis paints a portrait of a planet at risk while also offering some exciting and radical solutions for making life on earth sustainable. Tapping the brains of leading scientists and thinkers including Stephen Hawking and Mikhail Gorbachev, the film ultimately delivers a hopeful message: Our planet may be in crisis, but that doesn't mean it's too late change. 2007 95
Disruption Disruption takes an unflinching look at the devastating consequences of our inaction on climate change. The exploration lays bare the terrifying science, the shattered political process, the unrelenting industry special interests and the civic stasis that have brought us to this social, moral and ecological crossroads.The film also takes us behind-the-scenes of the efforts to organize the largest climate rally in the history of the planet during the UN world climate summit.
2014 60
Do the Math A film about Bill McKibben's "Do The Math," campaign from See the facts affecting climate change.
Trailer 2 min
Video of "Do The Math" presentation at Rutgers. 1 hr. 26 min.
2013 45
Chasing Ice A documentary about one man's quest to photograph the glacier melts that are thought to be linked to global warming 2011 74 Speck-Bartynski
A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Living Planet An exploration of the environmental movement - grassroots and global activism spanning fifty years from conservation to climate change. 2012 101
The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream A movie that discusses the dwindling supply of cheap energy in the form of fossil fuels and its effect on society. 2004 78
Cape Spin! An American Power Struggle Offshore wind project off Cape Cod 2011 90
Kilowatt Ours Problems with producing electricity and ways of using energy conservation, efficiency and renewable, green power all while saving money and the environment. 2006 38 Speck-Bartynski
Unlimited: Renewable Energy in the 21st Century
A short documentary film about renewable energy; filmmaker Daniel Califf-Glick (Bloomfield, NYC), may be available to speak as well. Film is narrated by high school kids: gives a great subtle message that understanding this isn't rocket science. 2009 26
Empowered: Power from the People Tompkins County, NY (Ithaca) is one of the cloudiest, least windy places in the country, and yet its residents are proving that they can meet their energy needs through totally renewable resources. From solar and wind to biodiesel and geothermal, Empowered: Power from the People tells the story of one community's role in the energy independence revolution.
Stream the whole film for only $2.99 in April!
2011 76
Gasland Focuses on communities in the United States impacted by natural gas drilling and, specifically, fracking. 2010 104
Gasland Part II Focuses on communities in the United States impacted by natural gas drilling and, specifically, fracking. 2013 125
Promised Land Follows two corporate salespeople who visit a rural town in an attempt to buy drilling rights from the local residents. 2012 106
Bidder 70 A documentary film about Tim DeChristopher, the college student who derailed an illegal BLM oil and gas lease auction in 2008. 2012 73 Speck-Bartynski
Oil on Ice (SCP) Examines the the battle over oil development within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. 2004 60
Who Killed the Electric Car? Explores the creation, limited commercialization, and subsequent destruction of the battery electric vehicle in the United States, specifically the General Motors EV1 of the mid 1990s 2006 92 Speck-Bartynski
Revenge of the Electric Car Chronicles the story of the global resurgence of electric cars. 2012 90
Koch Brothers Exposed Two of the world's richest and most powerful men bankroll a vast network of organizations that work to undermine the interests of the 99% on issues ranging from Social Security to the environment to civil rights. 2012 60 NL
Koch Brothers Exposed 2014 We've reissued Koch Brothers Exposed in an updated version, Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition, to shine a light on them. We've delved even deeper into where their money is going, who their money is hurting, and how much they are making during this whole process leading up to the 2014 Elections. 2014 52 NL
Bag It Exposing the effects of plastic bags and other plastic consumer merchandise 2010 74
Addicted to Plastic Documentary focusing on the worldwide production and environmental effects of plastic. The host takes a 2-year trip around the world to give us a better understanding of the life cycle of plastic. 2009 85 & 52
The Story of Stuff Sustainability proponent, Annie Leonard, produced a short animated documentary about the lifecycle of material goods. The documentary is critical of excessive consumerism and promotes sustainability.
Free Range Studios
2007 20 NL
Food Inc. Examines corporate farming in the United States, concluding that agribusiness produces food that is unhealthy, in a way that is environmentally harmful and abusive of both animals and employees. 2008 93
Flow: For Love of Water The film concentrates on the big business of privatization of water infrastructure which prioritizes profits over the availability of clean water for people and the environment. 2008 93
Last call at the Oasis The rapid depletion of water supplies caused by agricultural overuse, rampant development and global climate change. 2011 105 McBride
Liquid Assets Tells the story of essential infrastructure systems: water, wastewater, and stormwater. Largely out of sight and out of mind, these aging systems have not been maintained, and some estimates suggest this is the single largest public works endeavor in our nation's history. 2008 90
Thirst (SCP) Politicians, international bankers, and corporate executives gather to decide who will control global fresh water supplies. Their consensus for large dams and privatized, corporate water systems is challenged by experts and activists who assert that water is a human right, not a commodity to be traded on the open market. 2004 148
carbo2n nation An optimistic (and witty) discovery of what people are already doing, what we as a nation could be doing and what the world needs to do to prevent (or at least slow down) the impending climate crisis. 2010 86 *
Greedy, Lying Bastards Investigates the climate change misinformation campaign waged by the oil industry and its funded think tanks. 2012 89
Rescuing the River: The Raritan This documentary tells the story of New Jersey's Raritan River, a water source profoundly contaminated for over 200 years, and the extraordinary efforts to clean it up. The film reveals how government agencies, corporations, environmentalists, developers, scientists, and lawyers have clashed for years in their attempts to deal with the aftermath of extensive pollution and environmental neglect.
Streaming video at
Eric Schultz, the NJN producer may be available to speak.
2012 57
Fuel Director-narrator Josh Tickell's personal journey of enlightenment, which started in childhood after moving with his family from idyllic Australia to murkier Louisiana, where he came to realize the oil-rich environment was being ravaged by the omnipotent petrochemical industry. It has interviews with a wide range of environmentalists, policy makers and educators. One might very well come out of the theater ready to invest in companies deriving energy from wood chips and algae, or growing food in vertical, inner-city farms. 2008 112
No Impact Man Follow the Manhattan-based Beavan family as they abandon their high consumption 5th Avenue lifestyle and try to live a year while making no net environmental impact. 2009 93 Speck-Bartynski
Surviving Progress Technological advancement, economic development, population increase - are they signs of a thriving society or too much of a good thing? Executive Produced by Martin Scorsese, this provocative documentary explores the concept of progress in our modern world, guiding us through the major "progress traps" facing our civilization in the arenas of technology, economics, consumption, and the environment. Featuring powerful arguments from such visionaries as Jane Goodall, Margaret Atwood and Stephen Hawking, this enlightening and visually spectacular film invites us to contemplate the progress traps that destroyed past civilizations and that lie treacherously embedded in our own. 2011 86
Lake Tahoe: Can We Save It? Lake Tahoe's famously blue waters - which make it the clearest lake of its size in the United States - attract three million visitors to California and Nevada each year. But decades of development, and now climate change, threaten this national treasure. This QUEST half-hour documentary takes you behind the scenes with the scientists working to keep the lake pristine and protect it for generations to come. 2013 86
The Ecological Footprint: Accounting for a Small Planet In an effort to promote dialogue on the future of our planet, Dr. Mathis Wackernagel outlines the Ecological Footprint, an accounting tool that he co-created to measure Earth's supply of natural resources and how much of that supply we are using. With most countries currently running on ecological deficits, consuming more resources than the planet generates, Wackernagel emphasizes the need for a global commitment to sustainability. 2005 30 SS
A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash Award-winning filmmakers Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack examine the world's dependency on oil and the impending chaos that's sure to follow when the resource is dry in this straight-from-the-headlines documentary. Through expert interviews on a hot-button topic that might represent the world's most dire crisis, the film underscores our desperate need for alternative energy and spells out in startling detail the challenge we face in finding it. 2006 82 SS
A Life Among Whales Weaving together natural history and biography, A LIFE AMONG WHALES delves deeply into the unique relationship between humans and whales as told by renowned whale biologist Dr. Roger Payne. For four decades Payne has advanced the boundaries of science and activism - beginning with his pioneering work on whale songs in the 1970's to his study of ocean pollution today. With beautiful and haunting imagery, the film forces us to question our stewardship of the Earth and our coexistence with some of its most intriguing creatures. 2006 57 SS
Everything's Cool In this documentary, filmmakers Daniel B. Gold and Judith Helfand (Blue Vinyl) follow a troupe of self-proclaimed global warming "warriors" on a mission to get the world to care about rising temperatures and melting polar ice caps. Taking a topic that's inherently serious and applying their signature blend of humor and emotional heft, Gold and Helfand advance the environmental dialogue in a surprisingly entertaining way. 2007 90 SS
Trashed "Trashed" is a provocative investigation of one of the fastest growing industries in North America, the garbage business. The film examines a fundamental element of modern American culture...the disposal of what our society defines as "waste." It is an issue influenced by every American, most of whom never consider the consequences. Nor, it seems, the implications to our biosphere. At times humorous, but deeply poignant, "Trashed" examines the American waste stream fast approaching a half billion tons annually. What are the effects all this waste will have on already strained natural resources? Why is so much of it produced? While every American creates almost 5 pounds of it every day, who is affected most? And who wants America to make more? The film analyzes the causes and effects of the seemingly innocuous act of "taking out the garbage" while showcasing the individuals, activists, corporate and advocacy groups working to affect change and reform the current model. "Trashed" is an informative and thought-provoking film everyone interested in the future of sustainability should see. 2007 60 SS
EARTH AID: Recycling Emmy Award Nominee and active environmentalist Ed Begley, Jr. (host of the TV show Living with Ed on Planet Green) demonstrates innovative tips on staying green and sustainable living that cost nothing yet help us dramatically reduce waste through Pre-Cycling, Reuse, and Recycling. In one day, the U.S. disposes of more than 136 million bottles, jars, and cans. Recycling has become a must in order to preserve the delicate balance of the natural eco systems that are vital to life on this planet. By adopting a few easy suggestions, this DVD teaches you how to minimize pollution, reduce our landfill overflow, and help preserve nature's resources for generations to come. For example, did you know that making new paper from used paper instead of from trees takes about 50% less energy, and creates a 95% reduction in related air pollution? Millions and millions of trees could be saved if we recycled our papers. 2008 17 SS
Blind Spot Description: 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. 2008 85 SS
The Age of Stupid In the desolate future of 2055, an archivist 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. 2008 88 SS
Tapped 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. Is access to clean drinking water a basic human right, or a commodity that should be bought and sold like any other article of commerce? An unflinching examination of the big business of bottled water. A behind-the-scenes look into the unregulated and unseen world of an industry that aims to privatize and sell back the one resource that ought never to become a commodity: our water. From the plastic production to the ocean in which so many of these bottles end up, this inspiring documentary trails the path of the bottled water industry and the communities which were the unwitting chips on the table. A powerful portrait of the lives affected by the bottled water industry, this film features those caught at the intersection of big business and the public's right to water. 2009 75 SS
The End of the Line A gripping, sobering documentary with gorgeous undersea photography for anyone who loves fish, the ocean and the health of the earth's oceanic ecosystems. British filmmaker Rupert Murray has created a true call to action that compellingly makes the case that the earth's oceans must be preserved. He traverses the world to examine modern fishing practices, the devastating effects on fish stocks, the real solutions to solve the crisis, and the lack of agreement in the global community Based on Charles Clover's book The End of the Line: How Overfishing Is Changing the World and What We Eat. 2009 82 SS
Dirt! The Movie Dirt takes center stage in this entertaining yet poignant documentary from Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow, which unearths our cosmic connection to soil and explores how diverse groups of people are uniting to save the natural resource. Drawing inspiration from William Bryant Logan's book Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, the filmmakers combine lively animations with personal accounts from farmers, scientists, activists and more. 2009 80 SS
Climate of Change In this inspiring documentary, director Brian Hill profiles grassroots activists around the world who are acting locally to save Earth's environment, including a spirited group of teens in India crusading against the use of plastic bags. Narrated by actress Tilda Swinton, the film also honors the work of West Virginia citizens struggling against encroaching coal mines, a West African man educating youngsters about global warming and more. 2010 87 SS
DEEP GREEN: Solutions to Stop Global Warming Now It's a dirty fact that Global Warming cannot be stopped as long as fossil fuels run our planet. We can fix this and Deep Green is devoted to showing us how. Director, Matthew Briggs takes us on a compelling journey to 9 countries to uncover the best ideas, cutting-edge technologies and restorative solutions to get the job done. Based on 6 years of intensive research to uncover: the best applications worldwide in energy efficiency, green building, de-carbonizing transportation, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy and smart grids, and forest restoration. Also offers profoundly personal solutions to lower individual carbon load. Includes legendary authors Lester Brown and Michael Pollan; renowned scientists Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute and Dr. David Suzuki. Through rare new footage, we go behind-the-scenes of China's green revolution; journey to France for a close-up of Alstom's 224-mph high-speed trains; drop in on "the greenest city in Europe" (Sweden); listen in on a town hall meeting in Germany; get a preview of Project DESERTEC: a super-sized smart grid to supply diverse renewable energies to all of Europe and North Africa. 2010 101 SS
Blue Gold: World Water Wars This award winning documentary is based on the book "BLUE GOLD: THE FIGHT TO STOP THE CORPORATE THEFT OF THE WORLD'S WATER" by Maude Barlow and Tony Clark. The film examines the problems created by the privatization and commoditization of water. This chilling, in-depth examination of a rapidly emerging global crisis shows how, contrary to received wisdom, water mainly flows uphill to the wealthy. Our most basic resource may one day be limited as our consumption doubles every twenty years--twice the rate of population increase. Meanwhile, transnational corporations are moving to control the world's dwindling water supply. In England and France, where water has already been privatized, rates have soared, and water shortages have been severe. The major bottled-water producers, Perrier, Evian, Naya, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are part of one of the fastest-growing and least-regulated industries, buying up freshwater rights and drying up crucial supplies. "The wars of the next century will be about water." - World Bank VP 2008 90 SS
Hempsters: Plant the Seed Hemp has been grown for the past 12,000 years for fiber and food. Yet, is has been prohibited from growing since the 1950s. If you've felt indifferent to the Industrial Hemp movement so far, this lively documentary will jumpstart your thinking. More than a political study of cannabis, HEMPSTERS is a rousing portrait of our country's most spirited and sensible free-thinkers. After witnessing Woody Harrelson's arrest for planting four feral hemp seeds in Kentucky, his subsequent trial and acquittal, filmmaker Michael Henning travels across the country in search for the mysterious and demonized plant in United States history. From the Tiospaye Clan of the Native American Lakota to Julia Butterfly Hill and Gatewood Galbraith, HEMPSTERS is a hyper-paced film with a sizzling soundtrack that gets to the heart of just about every grassroots issue in America today. 2009 78 SS
An Unreasonable Man: Ralph Nader, how do you define a legacy? "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." - George Bernard Shaw. Henriette Mantel and Steve Skrovan's illuminating documentary begins in the 1950s with Nader's career as a consumer advocate and ends with his more recent reputation as election spoiler. Along the way, they look at a provincial childhood steeped in politics (his parents were community activists). Throughout, they speak with a broad spectrum of interested observers, including Phil Donahue, Pat Buchanan, Howard Zinn--even Bill Murray. They also feature commentary from the man himself. The film's perspective: On the one hand, Nader has saved thousands of lives. On the other, his third party candidacy ruined the 2000 election for many voters. An Unreasonable Man may not convince anyone that the campaign was a wise move, but Skrovan and Mantel, a former Nader associate, make a convincing case that he's a Democrat in the truest sense, i.e. a man committed to the idea that one citizen can make a difference. 2007 122 SS
The Economics of Happiness This upbeat film offers not only a big-picture analysis of globalization, but a powerful message of hope for the future. The thinkers and activists we interviewed share a clear message: in order to respect and revitalize diversity, both cultural and biological, we need to localize economic activity. A systemic shift - away from globalizing economic activity and towards the local - is an almost magic formula that allows us to reduce our ecological footprint while increasing human well-being. 2011 67 SS
Call of Life: Facing the Mass Extinction All over the world species are becoming extinct at an astonishing rate, from 1000 to 10,000 times faster than normal. The loss of biodiversity has become so severe that scientists are calling it a mass extinction event. This beautiful informative film by Monte Thompson and Chera Van Burg of the Species Alliance is a call to action. This is the first feature documentary to investigate the growing threat to Earth's life support systems from this unprecedented loss of biodiversity. Through interviews with leading scientists, psychologists, anthropologists, philosophers, and indigenous and religious leaders, the film explores the causes, the scope, and the potential effects of the mass extinction, but also looks beyond the immediate causes of the crisis to consider how our cultural and economic systems, along with deep-seated psychological and behavioral patterns, have allowed this situation to develop, continue to reinforce it, and even determine our response to it. SS
The Last Mountain A tale of greed and courage, The Last Mountain is an environmental documentary about mountain-top-removal coal mining, but it is also an exploration of the threat that strong corporations can pose to democracy. Set deep in the heart of Appalachian West Virginia, the film chronicles how coal company Massey Energy is currently blowing the tops off of mountains to collect coal, dumping the waste into local gullies and man-made storage lakes, and then "reconstructing" the mountain tops. The negative effects of this coal-mining practice include deforestation, increased local flooding, and deteriorating water quality to negative health impacts such as increased rates of cancer, autism, asthma, and premature death in local populations. The process even contributes to job loss, thanks to its highly mechanized nature. The film describes the extensive influence Massey Energy has over local government, and the even wider influence of the coal-mining industry on countrywide government. A searing indictment of America's energy policy. Juxtaposed with that enormous political clout are a host of local citizens, among them a waitress, a former marine, a 92-year-old grandmother, and a school-age child and her grandfather, who've banded together with the help of environmental activist and lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to oppose mountain-top-removal coal mining. The Last Mountain is brimming with the coal hard facts and vivid testimony from the hardscrabble people whose lives are intertwined with coal. 2010 95 SS
Natural Connections - January 10th This 5 Emmy award winning, effective and positive program underlines the importance of maintaining biodiversity, if we as a species want to survive and thrive on our home planet. The program introduces the basic concepts of biodiversity, and takes a close-up look at salmon, rainforests, and marine ecosystems as examples. Amongst those interviewed are Harvard's Edward O. Wilson, known as the "father of biodiversity"; Dr. Robert Paine, who coined the phrase "keystone species"; and forester Dr. Jerry Franklin. 1999 57 SS
Earth Days Director Robert Stone traces the origins of the modern environmental movement through the eyes of nine Americans who propelled the movement from its beginnings in the 1950s to its moment of triumph in 1970 with the original Earth Day and to its status as a major political force in America. The film draws heavily on eyewitness testimony and a wealth of never before seen archival footage, examines the revolutionary achievements - and missed opportunities - of a decade of groundbreaking activism. The result is both a poetic meditation on man's complex relationship with nature and a probing analysis of past responses to environmental crisis. Includes interviews with Earth Day organizer Denis Hayes and Apollo Nine astronaut Rusty Schwecikart. 2009 102 SS
America Revealed Series Host Yul Kwon climbs, leaps, and rides across the U.S. to find out what makes this nation tick. He traces the mighty infrastructures that miraculously come together to manufacture goods, transport people, grow our food, and power our increasingly tech-dependent nation. From the glaciers of Alaska to the crowded New York subways; from Chicago's bustling freight yards to the lonely badlands of Wyoming, Yul takes us to spectacular and unexpected places and introduces us to the people whose effort and expertise puts food on our tables, keeps our lights on, our transport systems moving and our factories busy.
  • Food Machine: How America keeps pace with its insatiable appetite. The story of how a revolution in food production turned deserts into orchards, prairies into a bread basket, and created the biggest food machine in the world.
  • Nation on the Move: Americans are the most mobile people on earth and their transport systems are the biggest and most complex. From the rural school bus to the busiest airport, we explore the vast infrastructure that keeps Americans on the move.
  • Electric Nation: We take electricity for granted but how is it generated and how does our vast but aging grid get it to every house, office and factory in the nation?
  • Made in the U.S.A.: This is the story of how American manufacturers embraced new ideas and technologies to transform themselves into world leading producers of everything from sleek new cars to mighty ships to microchips.
2012 60/
Becoming Green: Growing Environmental Awareness Series Car of the Future: What will the car of the future be like? Will it run on hydrogen, batteries, ethanol, or some as-yet undiscovered technology? Find out as NOVA and the much-loved Car Talk brothers, Tom and Ray Magliozzi, from public radio, take a light-hearted but knowledgeable look at the serious issue of what s to come for our transportation.
  • Solar Energy: Saved by the Sun: Can solar power help save the Earth from the ravages of global warming? In the face of steeply rising oil prices and political turmoil in the Middle East, there s new urgency and enthusiasm for finding ways to make solar power more efficient and affordable. NOVA presents a provocative mix of scientist, economists, and ordinary citizens who are all pushing the envelope of solar power s untapped potential.
  • Global Warming: What s Up With the Weather?: Deadly flooding in Africa. Catastrophic hurricanes in the U.S. Record high temperatures worldwide. Are these natural, temporary glitches in our global climate, or is the devastation the result of global warming? The weather is different now but why? Find out when NOVA and FRONTLINE join forces to determine what s up with the weather.
  • Rachel Carson s Silent Spring: Rachel Carson s great love of the natural world drove her to write an expose of the chemical industry and its unregulated use of DDT. Though she was viciously attacked, called "an ignorant and hysterical woman," Silent Spring became an instant bestseller, was translated into 22 languages and changed the way we think about the natural world.
2008 60/
FRONTLINE: Climate of Doubt FRONTLINE correspondent John Hockenberry of PRI's The Takeaway goes inside the organizations that fought the scientific establishment, environmental groups, and lawmakers to shift the direction of debate on climate issues and redefined the politics of global warming. Four years ago, climate change was hot. Politicians from both parties, pressed by an anxious public, seemed poised to act. But that was then. Today, public opinion about the climate issue has cooled, and politicians either ignore the issue or loudly proclaim their skepticism of scientific evidence that human activity is imperiling the planet. What's behind this reversal? 2012 60 SS
Carbon Nation: A Climate Change Solutions Movie This film is about solutions, not problems, proclaims its US director and producer, Peter Byck. More than that, it's a film about solutions that will make every-day Americans cold hard cash. So, they can get behind action on emissions even if they don't believe that climate change is a big problem or that people are causing it -- as, the movie tells us, a third of Americans still do. An optimistic, solutions-based, non-preachy, non-partisan, big tent film, shows tackling climate change boosts the economy, increases national and energy security, promotes health and a clean environment. With Richard Branson, Tom Friedman, Jim Wooley, Van Jones, Gary Hirshberg, Col. Dan Nolan, Amory Lovins, John Rowe, Jim Rogers, Lester Brown and many more clean energy pioneers. 2011 84
Sourlands From award-winning journalist Jared Flesher, Sourlands is a provocative tale of ecology, energy and agriculture. In the Sourlands of New Jersey, a rampaging deer herd, invasive plants and wholesale habitat destruction threaten the local ecosystem. Farmers in the surrounding valley battle against high land prices, high property taxes, and increasingly erratic weather patterns. A group of local engineers searches for new ways to save energy and stop global warming. Pay close attention, and the challenges facing this community look a lot like the challenges facing ecosystems, farmers and energy visionaries everywhere 2012 78 SS
Ingredients Inspiring and rich, INGREDIENTS unearths the roots of the local food movement and digs into the stories of the chefs, farmers and activists transforming our broken food system. This upbeat, beautifully-photographed film introduces us to the verdant farms and pioneering restaurants where good food is produced and served. From innovative farm-to-table programs in Harlem to picturesque sheep farms in Oregon s Willamette Valley, INGREDIENTS shows the heart of an alternative food system healthy, sustainable and tasty. 2009 67 SS
Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us? A profound, alternative look at the bee crisis. Taking us on a journey through the catastrophic disappearance of bees and the mysterious world of the beehive, this alarming and ultimately uplifting film weaves together an unusual and dramatic story of the heart-felt struggles of beekeepers, scientists and philosophers from around the world. 2012 82 SS
FRESH xThe underground documentary that became a massive grassroots success, FRESH is the embodiment of the good food movement. FRESH outlines the vicious cycle of our current food production methods, while also celebrating the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are reinventing our food system, from a basketball player and former-executive-turned-urban-farmer to a poetic prophet of the fields who tells us: We can raise everything we need without any of the industrial food system. Director Ana Joanes takes her camera coast to coast and explores the lives of amazing Americans who are redefining the way we eat and how we live. FRESH features urban farmer and activist, Will Allen, the recipient of MacArthur s 2008 Genius Award, sustainable farmer and entrepreneur, Joel Salatin, made famous by Michael Pollan s book, The Omnivore s Dilemma, and supermarket owner, David Ball, who continues to challenge our discount superstore-dominated economy. Both an enlightening documentary and a stirring call to action, FRESH transforms the way we look at food. 2009 72 SS
Red Gold This film documents the run of sockeye salmon in Alaska's Bristol Bay and attempts to answer which is a more valuable resource; the self-sustaining runs of salmon that have enriched the local environment & fisherman for 1000s of years or the 300 billion dollars worth of gold, copper & molybdenum buried at the headwaters of the watershed. 55 SS
YERT Your Environmental Road Trip--follows three friends as they hit the road - traveling America with hope, humor and all of their garbage - to explore the good, the bad, and the weird across every state in search of the extraordinary innovators and courageous citizens who are tackling humanity's greatest environmental crises. The catch: The team turned the camera on their own lifestyle and set their own road rules, vowing to create less than one shoebox of garbage each month, including recyclables, never turning on an incandescent light (except car lights), or using approximately 25 gallons of water per person per day. As the YERT team layers outlandish eco-challenges onto their year-long quest, an unexpected turn of events throws the project for a loop in this award-winning docu-comedy. Featuring Bill McKibben, Wes Jackson, Will Allen, Janine Benyus, Joel Salatin, and David Orr.
Films from Sierra Club Productions - most are available commercially from $15 - $45 (average $20)
Coal Country (SCP) Visit the homes of people most directly affected by mountaintop removal mining (MTR) and hear about health problems, dirty water in their wells and streams, and dust and grime on their floors. 2009 85 *
Sierra Club Chronicles (SCP) Seven David vs. Goliath stories: the dramatic efforts of committed individuals across the country working to protect the health of their environment and communities, hosted by Daryl Hannah. 2006 30 *
Ansel Adams (SCP) A Ric Burns documentary explores the meaning and legacy of Adams's life and work within the context of the great themes that absorbed him throughout his career: the beauty and fragility of "the American earth," the inseparable bond of man and nature, and the moral obligation our present owes to the future. See Ansel Adams 2002 101
Monumental: David Brower's Fight for Wild America (SCP) The story of David Brower, a true American legend, an artist, a publisher, a filmmaker, First Executive Director of the Sierra Club, and a zealous crusader whose fiery dedication and activism inspired the environmental movement. See David Brower 2004 77
The Appalachians (SCP) The story of Appalachia is about the struggle for and with the land. But through their struggles the people of Appalachia held on to their love of land and family. Music continued to be an important part of their lives, and they adapted old, traditional ballads into songs that told the story of their lives 2005 180
Vertical Frontier: A History of the Art, Sport and Philosophy of Rock Climbing in Yosemite (SCP) From John Muir in the 1860s to the super athletes of today, Vertical Frontier tells the saga of the free-spirited climbers whose uniquely American contribution to mountaineering techniques, equipment, and ethics allowed them to be the first to conquer the legendary big walls of Yosemite. 2004 90
* - On order from National
1 NL = No License required (SCP) - Films produced in conjunction with Sierra Club Productions
  - most are available commercially from $15 - $45 (average $20)

See Also:
Environment | Watch Free Documentaries Online
Doaskdotell Movie Reviews of Global warming films
Films For Action: Watch the Best Social Change Documentaries Ever Made
Princeton Environmental Film Festival
TED talks on the Environment No License Required
  Stewart Brand: 4 environmental 'heresies' | TED
TEDx talks on the environment
TEDx talks are designed for independently organized events.

Sierra Club Resources:
Environmental Films from Susan Schirmer - South Highlands Group
Adrianne Bramhall - - (707) 861-9647 - "Sierra Club Productions" (SCP)
  Short videos on The Sierra Club - YouTube Channel
  SCP has more films
Films and Videos at the Colby Library in clubhouse.
  This is not a lending library
The Best Internship on Earth ( is a contest for creating Sierra Club videos.
      It looks like some exist already but it isn't clear from their website. Contact Jason Halal (415) 977-5521
      Best Internship Videos on YouTube.

List of films at Sierra Club's Oct. 2012 Coal to Clean Energy Campus Film Fest

Legal Issues:
Most documentaries require a license ($125-$300) for a public screening, even if you are a non-profit and don't charge for admission. A few do not require licenses and Sierra Club Productions has licenses for some.

"Sierra Club Productions (SCP)" sent out the following Notice in April 2007.
From: Adrianne Bramhall - - (707) 861-9647


If you have more than a handful of people watching a film in a way that would be classified as home video, e.g. for a larger group or open to the public, then it is necessary to obtain Public Exhibition Rights. Not doing that can get us in the kind of hot water that those FBI blue background spots on videos talk about - namely unauthorized use.

Sierra Club Productions (SCP) has such rights to several films that we have been involved with, and also to a few others that have been produced internally.

SCP is happy to help research films that may be available for public screening. If you have found a film and the rights-holder is willing to let you screen it, please have them fill out a form and send a copy of the completed release to SCP by fax to 866-790-3988.

If you plan to charge admission, that generally requires additional license terms and generally a higher fee. A film like An Inconvenient Truth can cost $250-500 just for a screening free to attendees. Other distributors let you screen films for fundraising purposes for a portion of the door (proceeds). Please let us know if you plan to do a fundraising screening.

See: Public Performance Law at Motion Picture Association of America (
They list several companies which will get licenses for you.
Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. - - (800) 876-5577
Motion Picture Licensing Corp. - - (800) 462-8855
Criterion Pictures (800) 890-9494

MPLC does facility based licensing - The place you are showing it gets a license from them for any film on a list they have agreements with and they can host showings of any of them. They only have licenses from two of the major studios for libraries but have a lot more for community centers, etc. Rates can vary depending on the size of the venue.

Swank sends you a licensed copy of the film for $125-$150 which you show and send it back to them.
If admission is charged for your event, your movie rental rate is the quoted rental price OR 50% of your gate receipts, whichever is greater.
There were only 5 out of 75 films on our list that you can license thru swank. Food Inc., The 11th Hour, Last call at the Oasis, No Impact Man and Promised Land.

Educational distributor New Day Films sells copies of some films for public showing.
E.g. Bag It has a link on their web site where Community Groups can get a copy for $150

The Federal Copyright Act (Title 17 of the U.S. Code) governs how copyrighted materials, such as movies, may be used. Neither the rental nor the purchase of a copy of a copyrighted work carries with it the right to publicly exhibit the work.

Sierra Club Productions said, "If you wanted to host a larger public event, $300 is good number to have available for screening rights."

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  Page Last Modified 8/28/2014