Getting the Message Across in the Age of the 21st Century Media
No one can deny the power of the 21st century media as a tool for getting an urgent message across. Environmentalists know this power and have utilized it as well to increase the world’s awareness of key environmental issues. Cousteau’s innovative underwater photography that drew attention to the delicate balance of marine ecosystem and how human actions are contributing to the decline and gradual destruction of it. Elena’s haunting photo journal of the destruction the Chernobyl nuclear tragedy had left behind. And yet, in the age of 24 hour TV programs, commercials, Internet, and thousands of movies made each year, the average person tends to attach little importance to ground breaking documentaries or another crucial report on endangered species. Clearly, a new, creative approach is necessary if the message of environmental conservation is to receive the proper amount of attention and interest it deserves.
In the last few decades the message of environmental conservation had infiltrated into the consciousness of the masses through the clever disguise of movies. Here is a partial list of movies, documentaries, and television shows/movies with environmental themes, taken from the list compiled by GrinningPlanet.com. Some of these films maybe accessible through Netflix online if you are a subscriber.
Environmental Movies about Activism and Taking Action
The purpose of getting the message of various environmental crises across is to generate awareness, response, and ultimately action. These films and documentaries are intended not just to stir hearts and emotions, but propel action and effort towards change.
Be the Change (2008) (Documentary)
Call of the Hummingbird (2007) (Documentary)
The Constant Gardener (2005) (Film)
Emperor Zehnder (2004) (Film)
Go Further (2003) (Film)
Hempsters: Plant the Seed (2003) (Film)
Hoot (2006) (Film)
Lithium Springs (2006) (Film)
Noam Chomsky: Rebel Without a Pause (2003) (television movie)
The Project (2002) (television movie)
Shooting Vegetarians (2000) (Film)
The Yes Men Fix the World (2009) (Documentary)
Environmental Movies about Animals/Biodiversity/Species/Evolution
Animal lovers who care about their own pets and livestock are just a small step away from being impassioned and active partners in environmental conservation and care. These films and documentaries deliver not only the cuteness and the majesty of the animal kingdom, but the creatures’ struggle for survival and the dangers that threaten their existence as well.
Arctic Tale (2007) (Documentary)
Beavers (1988) (Film)
Born Free (1996) (Film)
Born to be Wild (10995) (Film)
Cane Toads – An Unnatural History (1987) (Documentary)
Deeds not Words (1998) (television movie)
Fierce Creatures (1997) (Film)
Free Willie (1993) (Film)
Genesis (2004) (Documentary)
Gentle Ben (1967) (Film)
Gorillas in the Mist (1988) (Film)
Hoot (2006) (Film)
March of the Penguins (2005) (Documentary)
MicroCosmos (1996) (Documentary)
Never Cry Wolf (1983) (Film)
Night of the Wolf (2002) (television movie)
Orangutans: Grasping the Last Branch (1989) (Film)
Say No to Bushmeat (2003) (Film)
Sharkwater (2006) (Documentary)
Song of the Land (1953) (Film)
Spirit: Stallion of theCimarron(2002) (Film)
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) (Film)
WhaleMission: Keepers of Memory (2005) (Documentary)
Whale Rider (2002) (Film)
Winged Migration (2001) (Film)
Environmental Movies about Chemicals, Pesticides, and Toxics
Who can forget the ordinary people turned into villains and superheroes by a single toxic chemical reaction in Marvel comics? Long before Spiderman got bitten by a toxic spider and Sandman got trapped in a toxic waste dump, there was Dr. Jekyll a.k.a. Mr Hyde. The issue of chemical and toxic effects on human health continues to be a controversial ground for scientists and science fiction alike as these films and documentaries prove.
Acceptable Risks (1986) (television movie)
Blue Vinyl (2002) (Documentary)
A Chemical Reaction (2009) (Documentary)
A Civil Action (1998) (Film)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) (Film)
Erin Brokovich (2000) (Film)
Homo Toxicus (1981) (Documentary)
Kingdom of the Spiders (1977) (Film)
Michael Clayton (2007) (Documentary)
Monster (1979) (Film)
A Sense of Wonder (2009) (Documentary)
Today there are websites, magazines, television networks and channels dedicated solely for the message of environmental conservation and care. The question is not how effective these approaches have been for getting the message across, but what actions and efforts have been generated by the resulting increased awareness and consciousness. Getting the message across is no doubt crucial, but only as half as important as rising up and taking action to produce beneficial and lasting change.
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