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Earth Day Movies 

Edu-tainment for everyone

Sometimes the best way to celebrate a holiday is to become more educated about important issues surrounding that special day. Hey! Is it Columbus Day? Then learn more about how this country was founded. It's never a bad idea.

So, for this year's Earth Day, here are a few films that can help educate and entertain.

For the young ones: "FernGully: The Last Rainforest" (1992)

The magical creatures that live in a massive and beautiful rainforest must protect their home from an evil corporation called Hexxus. The message of the film doesn't feel like propaganda, and with voice acting by Robin Williams, Tim Curry, Christian Slater and Tone Loc, it's really hard to go wrong with this animated classic focused on the dangers of waiting until it's too late.

Check out the trailer here

For the climate change denier: "Chasing Ice" (2012)

Nature photographer James Balog participated in an Extreme Ice Survey in order to publicize the effects of climate change. His cameras captured scenes of glaciers calving—a term used to describe the breaking off of smaller pieces of ice—that were the longest ever captured on film. The time lapse photography of glacier erosion and the disappearance of ancient glaciers is powerful and undeniable.

Check out the trailer here

For the ones looking to the future: "Tomorrow" (2015)

Focused on sustainable communities, "Tomorrow" identifies concrete examples for solutions to current environmental and social challenges. This documentary looks to the future with a constructive approach and creates a conversation instead of giving in to the current documentary trend of catastrophism. The people of France cite this film as helping expand and support the Hummingbird and Green Belt movement.

For the ones who care where their food comes from: "Food, Inc." (2008)

This gut-punch of a documentary examines corporate farming in the United States. It's hard not to side with the admittedly biased film as it concludes that agribusiness is producing food in a manner that's unhealthy, unsustainable and harmful to the environment. I know more than one person who became a vegetarian after viewing this film.

Check out the trailer here

For the conspiracy theorists: "The Idiot Cycle" (2009)

This French-Canadian documentary goes big with its claims. Now, I'm not stating unequivocally that the film is entirely fact-based, but it sure creates some interesting debates. The film alleges that six of the major chemical companies are irrefutably responsible for causing decades of cancer, while at the same time developing drugs for cancer treatment. The film also states that these same companies own the most patents on GMO modified crops, and aren't being tested for long-term health impacts. A fascinating watch.

Check out the trailer here

For the family who wants to reduce their footprint: "No Impact Man (2009)

This is a fun documentary that looks at a NYC family as they try a year-long experiment to have zero impact on their environment. While some of the things they do in the film aren't realistic for everyone, even just picking up one or two of their tricks for reducing our footprint would make a huge difference.

Check out the trailer here

For those who just want to shut their brain off completely: "Sharknado" (2013)

Just in case you want to forget about the other very real problems we're facing, why not check out a freak cyclone hitting Los Angeles and scooping up man-eating sharks?! There's not a real shark in the entire movie, so don't worry about it too much. It will never happen. Probably.

Check out the trailer here

About The Author

Jared Rasic

Film critic and author of food, arts and culture stories for the Source Weekly since 2010.
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