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10 Best Documentaries of 2013

Energy

I love documentaries as they have an incredible ability to educate and motivate people to care about the world around them. We need more people to be part of the solution by tackling the most critical issues facing the planet. Check out my list of favorite documentaries of 2013. Share your favorites documentaries in the comment area below.

Internationally syndicated talk show host and bestselling author Thom Hartmann released a devastatingly powerful new film, LAST HOURS. A jolting wake-up call for humanity, this 10-minute film describes a terrifying science-based scenario where runaway climate change is triggered by massive releases of frozen methane.

Advocates of rights for whales and dolphins made strides in October when the documentary Blackfish aired on CNN during prime-time hours. The film tells the story of orca whales kept in captivity at the Seaworld theme parks in California, Florida and Texas.

Josh Fox's Gasland was about people lighting their water on fire. Gasland Part II is about the oil and gas industry lighting our democracy on fire.

Filmmaker Jim Tittle previewed his new documentary film, The Price of Sand, at the historic Sheldon Theatre in Red Wing, Minnesota, to a full house in April. With original interviews, coverage of recent events and local music about frac-sand mining, this visually rich 57-minute film explores the controversy surrounding frac-sand mining.

GMO OMG tells the story of a father’s discovery of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) through researching the symbolic act of poor Haitian farmers burning Monsanto’s gift of 475 tons of hybrid corn and vegetable seeds after the devastating earthquake of January 2010.

Greedy Lying Bastards, produced by actress Daryl Hannah and directed by Craig Rosebraughchronicles the dirty money trail from tobacco companies paying for fake experts to attack the science linking cigarettes and cancer, through to the modern day equivalent of oil companies paying fake experts and think tanks to attack climate science and fight against any government attempts to regulate pollution to protect public health.

SEED: The Untold Story is a feature-length documentary film that unearths the dramatic story of seeds and the global struggle to preserve them. Many irreplaceable seeds are nearing extinction. SEED unveils a David-and-Goliath battle for the future of our seeds, which are at risk from industrial seed companies that control seeds through patents and genetic modification.

A Pacific Northwest coal project is threatening the global environment on a scale greater than the Keystone Pipeline, but most people have never heard of it. Momenta, a documentary collaboration between Plus M Productions and Protect Our Winters, shares the story of the people living along the coal export trail and the project’s global environmental implications.

Trashed examines the encroaching problem of global waste. Director Candida Brady, who describes herself as a childhood asthmatic and a concerned mother, builds a trajectory that illustrates the impact of waste on land, air and water.

Ever wonder about chemicals in your day-to-day life? “What’s in the air I breathe? The water I drink? The food I eat? Even the things I put on my skin?” Ed Brown wondered these same things after his wife suffered two miscarriages. But instead of just wondering, he traveled around the country with his video camera to interview top minds in the fields of science, advocacy and law and learned there are Unacceptable Levels of chemicals in so many things. Including our bodies.

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A new study shows that half of all Arctic warming and corresponding sea-loss during the late 20th century was caused by ozone-depleting substances. Here, icebergs discharged from Greenland's Jakobshavn Glacier. Kevin Krajick / Earth Institute / EurekAlert!

The world awakened to the hole in the ozone layer in 1985, which scientists attributed it to ozone depleting substances. Two years later, in Montreal, the world agreed to ban the halogen compounds causing the massive hole over Antarctica. Research now shows that those chemicals didn't just cut a hole in the ozone layer, they also warmed up the Arctic.

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Diane Wilson holds up a bag full of nurdles she collected from one of Formosa's outfall areas on Jan. 15. Julie Dermansky / DeSmogBlog

By Julie Dermansky

On the afternoon of Jan. 15, activist Diane Wilson kicked off a San Antonio Estuary Waterkeeper meeting on the side of the road across from a Formosa plastics manufacturing plant in Point Comfort, Texas.

After Wilson and the waterkeeper successfully sued Formosa, the company agreed to no longer release even one of the tiny plastic pellets known as nurdles into the region's waterways. The group of volunteers had assembled that day to check whether the plant was still discharging these raw materials of plastics manufacturing.

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By Simon Coghlan and Kobi Leins

A remarkable combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and biology has produced the world's first "living robots."

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Malaysian Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin (front 2nd L) and officials inspect a container containing plastic waste shipment on Jan. 20, 2020 before sending back to the countries of origin. AFP via Getty Images

The Southeast Asian country Malaysia has sent 150 shipping containers packed with plastic waste back to 13 wealthy countries, putting the world on notice that it will not be the world's garbage dump, as CNN reported. The countries receiving their trash back include the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Canada.

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Trump leaves after delivering a speech at the Congress Centre during the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos on Jan. 21, 2020. JIM WATSON / AFP via Getty Images

U.S. President Donald Trump dismissed the concerns of environmental activists as "pessimism" in a speech to political and business leaders at the start of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Tuesday.

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