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It started with a call from actress and animal rights activist Natalie Portman to author Jonathan Safran Foer. The latter had recently taken a break from novel-writing to publish 2009's New York Times best-selling treatise Eating Animals—an in-depth discussion of what it means to eat animals in an industrialized world, with all attendant environmental and ethical concerns. The two planned a meeting in Foer's Brooklyn backyard, and also invited documentary director Christopher Dillon Quinn (God Grew Tired of Us) over. The idea was to figure out how to turn Foer's sprawling, memoiristic book into a documentary that would ignite mainstream conversations around our food systems.

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Pexels

Truly great films about the climate crisis are tough to come by. Allusions to environmental destruction are very familiar in the futuristic dystopias Hollywood churns out like clockwork, but they rarely get the science right—or they abandon it entirely in favor of skipping straight to some post-apocalyptic CGI extravaganza.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Nicky Milne / Thomson Reuters Foundation

By Lucy Guanuna

The devastating storms of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 submerged more than 80 percent of New Orleans and left more than 1,800 fatalities in its wake. Meanwhile, rapidly melting glaciers and ice sheets have caused sea levels to rise by 3.2 millimeters a year since 1995, which some predict could leave New Orleans submerged by the end of the century. In both scenarios—the levee failures in the Lower 9th Ward and the flooding caused by sea level rise—the low-income communities of color along the water's edge are the first to go.

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Wendell Berry writes at his 40-paned window in the 1970s. James Baker Hall

By Katie O'Reilly

Wendell Berry hates screens. The 83-year-old novelist, poet, environmental activist, cultural critic and Kentucky-based farmer is of the mind that TV and technological devices serve to degrade the imagination and threaten literature. His distaste for idolatry is part of why he's turned down several requests to be featured in documentary projects. On April 23, however, a cinematic portrait of America's foremost "prophet of rural America" hits the PBS airwaves. Look & See: Wendell Berry's Kentucky portrays the changing landscapes and shifting values of rural America in an era dominated by industrial agriculture, through the eyes of Wendell Berry.

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Anote's Ark

To some, climate change might feel like a distant problem that does not affect our everyday lives. Some even treat the global phenomenon with downright indifference or label it a "hoax."

Of course, climate change is not a faraway threat. The destructive effects of a warming world are very real and are felt today, especially in the low-lying Pacific island nation of Kiribati.

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It's that time, again!

EcoWatch is proud to be a media partner of the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF), now celebrating its 42nd year. This year, EcoWatch is honored to be sponsoring Anote's Ark. This documentary spotlights Kiribati, a small remote island facing devastating effects due to climate change.

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RiverBlue

Americans do love their denim, so much so that the average consumer buys four pairs of jeans a year. In China's Xintang province, a hub for denim, 300 million pairs are made annually. Just as staggering is the brew of toxic chemicals and hundreds of gallons of water it takes to dye and finish one pair of jeans. The resulting environmental damage to rivers, ecosystems and communities in China, Bangladesh and India is the subject of a new documentary called The RiverBlue: Can Fashion Save the Planet?.

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By Eva Perroni

Film is an incredible tool for effecting change in the food system with its unique ability to educate, inspire and grow the movement for sustainable food and farming. Film can transport viewers to unseen territories, from Colombian coffee-growing regions to the bottom of the ocean, and unveil the stories, struggles and triumphs of those working in the hidden fabric of the food system.

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