Environmental Films

Last Updated Saturday, July 7, 2012

Environmental Ethics & Philosophy

Biotechnology: Whose Science? Whose Ethics (VHS, 1997, 31 min.).  Debates biotechnology’s logical and legitimate role, particularly in regard to food biotechnology and how food is produced these days. It is a debate between health, environment and ethics.

Challenges in Environmental Ethics (2005, 55 min., Streamed online here).  Brief video clips, shot at Tamasag, CSU facility near Bellvue, Colorado, of a dozen challenging cases, with commentaries by Holmes Rolston.

Crossing the Stones: A Portrait of Arne Naess (DVD, 1992, 47 min.).  Presents the life and philosophy of Arne Naess, Norwegian philosopher, founder of “deep ecology”. His vision of the world is one in which we protect the environment as a part of ourselves, never in opposition to humanity.

Earthlings (DVD, 2007, 95 min.).  Includes footage obtained through the use of hidden cameras to chronicle the day-to-day practices of some of the largest industries in the world, all of which rely on animals.  Draws parallels between racism, sexism, and speciesism.

Energy and Morality: The Complex Relationship of Energy Use to Different Value Systems (DVD, VHS, 1979, 33 min.).  Explores the complex relationship of energy use to different value systems.  One predominant view is that living things tend to develop patterns that maximize their use of energy and that therefore in human societies it is economics that designs ethics.  Another viewpoint presented by Amory Lovins and E.F. Schumacher is that ethics can, or should, redesign human economics to be in accord with nature’s economy.

Enviroethics: The Rights of Future Generations (DVD, 2002, 60 min.).  What duties, if any, do we the living have to those yet unborn, regarding the quality of the environment we will bequeath them? Does our responsibility diminish as we look further into the future?

Environmental Ethics (VHS, 1996, 28. min.).  Eric Katz discusses the different approaches to environmental ethics and defends his own holistic approach.

Environmental Ethics: Examining Your Connection to the Environment and your Community (DVD, 2005, 67 min.).  Twenty past winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize discuss their various environmental protection projects, focusing especially on the themes of environmental ethics and environmental responsibility.

Environmental Ethics: Constructive Approaches to Difficult Issues (DVD, VHS, 1994, 40 min.).  Provides educators with a model for discussing environmental issues.  Helps students to understand how different ethics are formed and challenges them to observe the origins of their own belief systems.

Generating Life on Earth: Six Looming Questions (DVD, 2006, 71 min.).  Lecture by Holmes Rolston, III given at Ohio State University, November 2, 2006.

Got Rights? (VHS, 2001, 60 min.).  Ken Knisely and guests question What is a right? and Can animals ever be moral agents?

Green Fire (DVD, 2011, 74 min.).  The first full-length, high-definition documentary film made about Aldo Leopold, tracing how he shaped and influenced the modern environmental movement.

Professionals & the Environment (VHS, 1993, 29 min.).  Lisa Newton, director of the Program in Applied Ethics at Fairfield University, discusses ways that humans can reduce their negative effects on the environment.

Rolston-Rollin Debate (1989, 51 min., Streamed online here).  Bernard Rollin defends duties directly to sentient animals only, with other components of the environment having only instrumental value.  Holmes Rolston defends an ethic of respect for all forms of life, flora as well as fauna, including ethical concern at the level of species and ecosytems.

Green Religion

Comparison of Native American and European Worldviews (VHS, 1994, 57 min.), Dan Wildcat presents a traditional Native American world view of man’s place in the world, our relationship to the places where we live and the living things that are a part of those places, and makes comparisons with the roots of western tradition.

Ethics and the World Crisis: A Dialogue with the Dalai Lama (VHS, 2004, 68 min.).  The Dalai Lama discusses the ethical dilemmas of the new millennium with renowned journalists, economists, environmentalists and politicians.

For the Next 7 Generations: 13 Indigenous Grandmothers Weaving a World that Works (DVD, 2011, 85 min.).  In 2004, thirteen grandmothers from indigenous nations formed an alliance and traveled the Earth to pray and share their vision to heal the Earth and promote peace.

Garden of Eden: Fragile Creation (VHS, 2001, 44 min.).  Divided into segments paralleling the biblical days of creation, this visual program is a call for stewardship in a world that has suffered great exploitation at the hands of humankind.

God’s Earth (DVD, 2003, 57 min.).  A Catholic priest and ecologist speaks about the elevation of humankind at the expense of nature and the environment.  The discussion is a challenge to modern western religions to accept their role as stewards of the environment.

Is God Green? (DVD, 2006, 60 min.).  Discusses the debate between evangelical Christians who believe that it is their duty to do something about environmental problems and those who believe that because the end of the world is near, stewardship is unnecessary.

The Greening of Faith: Why the Environment is a Christian Concern (VHS, 1993, 57 min.).  Explores the religious dimensions of caring for the earth with theologians and environmentalists offering ecumenical perspectives on this area of faith and ethics.

Living in Nature: Religion & Science in Dialogue on the Environment (VHS, 1997, 31 min.).

A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World (DVD, 2007, 59. min.).  Addresses the environmental crisis now facing humanity by appealing to ancient teachings of the Torah and other Jewish scriptures.

Spirit & Nature (VHS, 1991, 88 min.).  Representatives of the major world religions address the ethical and spiritual aspects of ecological concern, raising issues of responsibility for each other and for all the species, and the need to see nature as sacred.

Environmental Skepticism

Resisting the Green Dragon: 12-part DVD series with discussion guide (DVD, 2010, 360 min.).  Are you being assimilated into the (eco)collective? Without doubt one of the greatest threats to society and the church today is the multifaceted secular environmentalist movement.  There is no acknowledgment that the earth will one day be destroyed by fire and replaced with a new heaven and earth.  Christians need to understand that the biblical worldview is under massive assault and many Christians are being deceived.


Man’s Natural Environment: Crisis through Abuse (1970, filmstrip, 32 min., Category: Environmentalism)  Examines the effects of air and water pollution on human and animal life, describes the deterioration of natural resources, and discusses plans and programs underway to reverse this trend.

Silent Running (DVD, 1972, 89 min.).  In a future where all flora is extinct on Earth, an astronaut is given orders to destroy the last of Earth’s plant life being kept in a greenhouse on board a spacecraft.

Environmentalism (selected )

The 11th Hour (DVD, 2007, 91 min., Categories: Sustainability, Consumption).  The film asks whether or not it’s too late to avoid the ecological disaster that looms ominously on the horizon and has conversations with 50 leading thinkers.

The Age of Stupid (DVD, 2009, 89 min., Category: Climate Change).  Based on mainstream scientific projections from the present day, The Age of Stupid focuses on an archivist as he tries to work out why we didn’t save ourselves while we still had the chance.

Cane Toads: The Conquest (DVD, 2009, 85 min., Category: Invasive Species).  The movie follows the toads as they make their way across Australia to look at the problems of invasive species.

Carbon Nation (DVD, 2011, 82 min., Category: Climate Change).  The movie makes a very simple point: One does not have to believe in global warming to want clean air and water, more jobs, a sturdier economy, and cheaper energy.

Crude: The Real Price of Oil (DVD, 2009, 104 min. Category: Environmental Justice).  This documentary film explores the story of the infamous $27 billion “Amazon Chernobyl” case in Ecuador that pitted 30,000 indigenous and colonial rainforest dwellers against Chevron.

Earth Days (DVD, 2009, 109 min., Category: Environmental History). This documentary movie explores the origins of the modern environmental movement in the United States through nine Americans who helped propel the beginnings of the movement through the first Earth Day in 1970 and beyond.

Enjoy Your Meal! How Food Changes the World (DVD, 2011, 90 min. Categories: Globalization, Industrial Agriculture).  This program demonstrates that globalization has made almost any food item, no matter how exotic or remote, available to the Western consumer. But the film also shows the downside of that new global access, tracing specific foods to their countries of origin and revealing the impact on indigenous communities and ecosystems.

The Environment: Scientific Spin Doctors (DVD 2004, 29 min. Category: Environmental Policy).  People have counted on science to provide them with objective answers to questions about the world of nature, but on pressing environmental issues, special interest groups are striving to bend science to their agendas.  This program considers the consequences of exploiting science to shape public policy.

Environmental Racism: Corporate Rights, Biotechnology, and Living Democracy (VHS, 2002, 40 min., Category: Environmental Justice).  This video contains two talks.  First, Robert Bullard discusses environmental racism and the environmental justice movement’s role in redefining environmentalism to include where we live, work, play and worship. Second, Vandana Shiva criticizes the inequality and bankrupt policies of the IMF and WTO.

Flow: For Love of Water (DVD, 2008, 93 min., Category: Water).  A documentary investigation into what experts label the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st Century—The World Water Crisis.

Food, Inc. (DVD, 2009, 93 min., Categories: Food & Agricultural Ethics).  An exposé of the food industry in the United States where the food supply is controlled by a handful of corporations that typically put their profits ahead of consumer health, the environment, the livelihood of farmers, and the safety of workers.

Fresh (DVD, 2009, 70 min., Categories: Food & Agricultural Ethics).  Fresh presents solutions to the problems revealed in Food, Inc.

Fuel (DVD, 2009, 100 min., Category: Fossil Fuels).  Explores how the US’s addiction to oil is destroying the environment and the US economy, the pros and cons of biofuels and other green energies, and the connections between the oil industry, the automobile industry, and the government.

The Garden (DVD, 2008, 80 min., Category: Environmental Justice).  The film documents a two-and-a-half-year court battle to save the a 14-acre community garden  n South Central Los Angeles that appeared in the aftermath of the 1992 L.A. riots.

Gimme Green (DVD, 2006, 27 min.  Category: Sustainability, Consumption).  A humorous look at the American obsession with the residential lawn and the effects it has on our environment, our wallets and our outlook on life.

The Last Mountain (DVD, 2011, 94 min., Category: Mountaintop Removal Mining).  The central front in the battle for America’s energy future, with enormous consequences for the health and economic prospects of every citizen, is the fight for Appalachian coal.  The film documents local activists who fight the coal industry.

Leveling Appalachia: The Legacy of Mountaintop Removal Mining (DVD, 2010, 20 min., Category: Mountaintop Removal Mining).  This video provides a first-hand look at mountaintop removal and what is at stake for Appalachia’s environment and its people.

Memoirs of a Plague (DVD, 2010, 75 min., Category: Environmental Ethics).  In documenting a plague of grasshoppers that infested Australia in September 2010, the film explores the tension between ecology, fate, civilization, and science.

Motor (VHS 2000, 38 min., Category: Off-Road Vehicles).  Illustrates the environmental destruction of wild lands and public waters by off-road vehicles (ORVs), all terrain vehicles (ATVs) and personal watercraft (PWCs).

The New Frontier: Sustainable Ranching in the American West (DVD, 2010, 27 min., Categories: Food & Agricultural Ethics).  In the face of growing population and increasing development, three ranchers demonstrate how they are integrating their ranching into their respective ecosystems.

No Impact Man (DVD, 2008, 93 min., Categories: Sustainability, Consumption).  The story of a person who attempts to make as little environmental impact as possible for one year by giving up automated transportation, electricity, non-local foods, material consumption, and toilet paper.

Nova Scotia Garbage (VHS, 1998, 22 min. Category: Environmental Justice).  An inquiry into the feelings of a black Nova Scotia community over a garbage landfill for the city of Halifax being placed near their community, which they feel is environmental racism.

Queen of the Sun (DVD, 2010, 83 min., Category: Ecosystem Services).  The movie examines the dire global bee crisis through the eyes of biodynamic beekeepers, scientists, farmers, and philosophers.

Rewriting the Science (DVD, 2006, 13 min., Categories: Climate Change, Environmental Policy).  In this interview with Scott Pelley, James Hansen, NASA’s top scientist studying climate, accuses the Bush administration of muzzling him and, in effect, rewriting science.

Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives: The Environmental Footprint of War (DVD, 2008, 60 min., Categories: War & Environmental Degradation). This film explores the long-term damage to the planet that has resulted from military conflicts and activities.

Scientists Under Attack: Genetic Engineering in the Magnetic Field of Money (DVD, 2010, 60 min. Categories: GMOs, Environmental Policy).  Examines the efforts of multinational agrochemical corporations to intimidate scientists to prevent them from publishing findings that refute the safety of biotechnology used in food production.