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Filmography - Environmental Studies: Home

Titles on DVD and streaming video as of October 2018.

Environmental Studies

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of June 2014.

Most streaming videos listed are available exclusively to AU students, staff and faculty after authentication by AU login.

This is a selective list of video holdings in the American University Library. Filmographies are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the ALADIN catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible.  All DVDs listed below are located in Media Services on the Lower Level of Bender Library. To search the library’s complete videos holdings on environmental topics (including VHS tapes) search the library catalog at:





The 11th hour. 2008, 1 videodisc (92 min.).  Explores the indelible footprint that humans have left on this planet, and the catastrophic effects of environmental neglect and abuse, and calls for restorative action through a reshaping of human activity.  DVD 4175

Addicted to plastic.  2007, 1 videodisc (85 min.).  A global journey investigating the accumulation of plastic debris and exploring possible solutions to its toxicity, recycling, and biodegradability.  DVD 5204 and Streaming video

The age of stupid. 2010, 1 streaming video file (89 min.).  Pete Postlethwaite (the only fictional character) stars as an archivist living alone in the devastated future world of 2055, who spends his days looking at old footage of seven people, from the years leading up to 2015 when a cataclysmic climate change took place. As he sifts through the relics of our lost and misguided civilization, the archivist asks why Earth's inhabitants did nothing to reverse the effects of climate change while they still had the chance.  DVD 7818 and Streaming video

Bag it. 2010, 1 videodisc (78 min.).  Americans use 60,000 plastic bags every five minutes that we then throw away. But where is 'away?' Where do the bags and other plastics end up, and at what cost to our environment, marine life and human health? Follows 'everyman' Jeb Berrier as he navigates our plastic world. Jeb is not a radical environmentalist, but an average American who decides to take a closer look at our cultural love affair with plastics.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 10488               

Banking on disaster. 2002?, 1 streaming video file (78 min.).  A three part documentary filmed over a ten year period exposes the detrimental effects of deforestation interlinked with roadbuilding and colonization in Rondonia, Brazil.  Streaming video and DVD 6137

Big river: a King corn companion. 2009, 1 streaming video file (77 min.).  King Corn tells the story of two college friends from Boston, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, who move to Iowa to plant an acre of corn and follow their harvest into the food system. In Big, they investigate the environmental impact their acre of corn has had on the people and places downstream.  Streaming video

Biophilic design: the architecture of life. 2011, 1 streaming video file (60 min.).  Biophilic design is an innovative way of designing the places where we live, work, and learn. People need nature in a deep and fundamental fashion, but we have often designed our cities and suburbs in ways that both degrade the environment and alienate us from nature. The recent trend in green architecture has decreased the environmental impact of the built environment, but it has accomplished little in the way of reconnecting us to the natural world, the missing piece in the puzzle of sustainable development. The film features buildings that connect people and nature-- hospitals where patients heal faster, schools where children's test scores are higher, offices where workers are more productive, and communities where people know more of their neighbors and families thrive.  Streaming video

Black wave: the legacy of the Exxon Valdez. 2008, 1 streaming video file (99 min.).  "In the early hours of March 24th, 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil supertanker runs aground in Alaska. It discharges millions of gallons of crude oil. The incident becomes the biggest environmental catastrophe in North American history ... For twenty years, Riki Ott and the fisherman of the little town of Cordova, Alaska have waged the longest legal battle in U.S. history against the world's most powerful oil company -- ExxonMobil. They tell us all about the environmental, social, and economic consequences of the black wave that changed their lives forever."--Container.  Streaming video

Blue Gold: world water wars. 2009, 1 streaming video file (90 min.).  Will rampant overdevelopment of agriculture, housing, and industry increase the demands for fresh water beyond the finite supply? This program examines the role of high-level corporate and political players in the shrinking availability of what is already the most precious substance on Earth. Viewers follow numerous worldwide examples of the struggle for the basic right to water-from local protests at grade schools to the slow deliberation of UN conventions to violent revolutions in developing countries. Distributed by PBS Distribution.  Streaming Video

Blue vinyl. 2002, 1 videodisc (97 min.).  An investigation of vinyl siding and its effects on people and the environment. Filmmakers Judith Helfand and Daniel B. Gold set out in search of the truth about polyvinyl chloride (PVC), America's most popular plastic. From Long Island to Louisiana to Italy, they unearth the facts about PVC and its effects on human health and the environment. Back at the starter ranch, Helfand coaxes her terribly patient parents into replacing their vinyl siding on the condition that she can find a healthy, affordable alternative. 
DVD 2188

Burning in the sun. 2011, 1 streaming video file (83 min.).  "26-year-old Daniel Dembélé is equal parts West African and European, and looking to make his mark on the world. Seizing the moment at a crossroads in his life, Daniel decides to return to his homeland in Mali and start a local business building solar panels, the first of its kind in the sun drenched nation. Daniel's goal is to electrify the households of rural communities, 99% of which live without power. [The film] tells the story of Daniel's journey growing the budding idea into a viable company, and of the business' impact on Daniel's first customers in the tiny village of Banko. Addressing climate change, poverty, and self-sufficiency, the film demonstrates how a small-scale, local business model can improve jobs, appropriate products, and empower poor people everywhere." -- Container.  DVD 9248 Streaming video

A burning question propaganda and the denial of climate change. 2012, 1 videodisc (55 min.).  "Paula Kehoe's fascinating and clarifying look at the debate surrounding global warming explores the striking disconnect between the relatively clear-cut concerns of the world's most prominent scientists and the maze of speculation, rhetorical posturing, and outright misinformation that attaches to this issue whenever it's taken up by politicians, PR specialists, and political pundits. Mixing a localized focus on Ireland with insights from scientists and leaders from around the world, the film serves as both a primer on climate science and a penetrating analysis of media framing and the science of perception management"--Container.  DVD 10638

Captain Planet and the Planeteers. 2011, 4 videodiscs (600 min.).  A quintet of teenagers work together to encourage environmentally responsible behavior and can summon a superhero to deal with ecological disasters. Join Captain Planet and the Planeteers as they protect the Earth!  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 8841

The carbon rush. 1 videodisc (84 min.).  "From indigenous rain forest dwellers having their way of life completely threatened, to dozens of Campesinos assassinated, to the livelihood of waste pickers at landfills taken away, THE CARBON RUSH travels across four continents and brings us up close to projects working through the United Nations, Kyoto Protocol designed Clean Development Mechanism. This groundbreaking documentary feature asks the fundamental questions 'What happens when we manipulate markets to solve the climate crisis? Who stands to gain and who stands to suffer?'"--Film website.  DVD 6063

Chasing ice. 2013, 1 videodisc (75 min) .  Chronicles the efforts of nature photographer James Balog to document the receding of the Solheim glacier in Iceland, a consequence of climate change and global warming, in which strategically placed cameras would take one picture every hour for three years. 

Chasing water. 2012, 1 stremaing video file (18 min.).  "For 6 million years the Colorado River flowed to the sea. Today it runs dry some 90 miles shy of its historic terminus at the Sea of Cortez ... [This short documentary] is both revealing and alarming as it highlights the state of the river and the Southwest's drying future."--Distributor's website.  Streaming video

Climate refugees the human face of climate change. 2010,  1 videodisc (86 min.).  "[E]xplore[s] the global human impact of climate change and its serious destabilizing effect on international politics. The film turns the distant concept of global warming into a concrete human problem with enormous worldwide consequences...The film features a variety of leading scientists, relief workers, security consultants, and major political figures, including John Kerry and Newt Gingrich. Whether human-caused or a product of nature, the changing climate is already creating humanitarian disasters and will inevitably lead to worldwide political instability." -- Container. 
DVD 9493

Countdown to zero. 2010, 1 videodisc (91 min.).  Tracing the history of the atomic bomb from its origins to the present state of global affairs: nine nations possessing nuclear weapons capabilities with others racing to join them, with the world held in a delicate balance that could be shattered by an act of terrorism, failed diplomacy, or a simple accident. The film makes a compelling case for worldwide nuclear disarmament, an issue more topical than ever as over 40 nations have the technical capacity to construct nuclear weapons.  DVD 8304

design | e2 China - From Red to Green? 2011, 1 streaming video file (30 min.).  design | e2  (Season 1): Eø. Tad Fettig, the director and co-creator of the eø series, shares his perspectives on filming in China as this sleeping giant of industry, technology, and consumer demand awakens in the 21st century.  Streaming video

design | e2 Deeper Shades of Green. 2011, 1 streaming video file (30 min.).  design | e2  (Season 1): Eø. Meet maverick designer Cameron Sinclair, whose 'design like you give a damn' credo was an inspiration for the eø series.  Streaming video

design | e2 Gray to Green. 2011, 1 streaming video file (30 min.).  design | e2  (Season 1): Eø. A closer look at how much energy is used and how much pollution is created by construction. The impact on our environment is staggering.  Streaming video

design | e2 Green for All. 2011, 1 streaming video file (30 min.).  design | e2  (Season 1): Eø. Learn more about the inspirational architect Sergio Palleroni, who is introducing sustainability to poor and underdeveloped communities around the world. Palleroni is a professor at The University of Texas-Austin.  Streaming video

design | e2 The Green Apple. 2011, 1 streaming video file (30 min.).  design | e2  (Season 1): Eø. David Owen, a writer for The New Yorker, discussues the complex issues of sustainability as they relate to urban and suburban life. 'Green Manhattan,' an article that Owen wrote for The New Yorker about the city's inherent sustainability, was a major inspiration for the eø series.  Streaming video

design | e2 The Green Machine. 2011, 1 streaming video file (30 min.).  design | e2  (Season 1): Eø. Thirty years ago in Freiburg, Germany, the 'green movement' was born. Today, the city serves as a model of environmental consciousness for architects, planners, and even politicians. Its successes inspired Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, who supported many environmental initiatives in his city.  Streaming video

Dirt! the movie. 2010, 1 videodisc (80 min.).  Featuring live action and animation, this movie examines the history and current state of the living organic matter that we come from and will later return to.  DVD 1288
Streaming video

Dirty business "clean coal" and the battle for our energy future. 2011, 1 streaming video file (56 min.).  Half our electricity still comes from coal. Dirty business reveals the true social and environmental costs of coal power and tells the stories of innovators who are pointing the way to an alternative energy future. Guided by Rolling Stone reporter Jeff Goodell, the film examines what it means to remain dependent on a 19th century technology that is the largest single source of greenhouse gases. Can coal really be made clean? Can renewables be produced on a scale large enough to replace coal? The film seeks answers in a series of stories shot in China, Saskatchewan, Kansas, West Virginia, Nevada and New York.  Streaming video

Der traum vom baumhaus das Ökohausprojekt von Frei Otto in Berlin = Dreaming of a treehouse : Frei Otto's ecological housing project in Berlin. 2011, 1 streaming video file (66 min.).  A film about the pioneering community-building project of the architect Frei Otto in Berlin, called the Ökohaus--an experimental, ecological, customized housing project in the city center.  Includes interviews with Frei Otto, Christine Kanstinger-Otto, Hermann Kendel, Yona Friedman, Anne Lacaton & Jean-Philipe Vassal, and other architects, planners, and inhabitants.

E2: the economies of being environmentally conscious2006, 1 videodisc (ca. 180 [i.e. 160] min.).  Examines the economies of being environmentally conscious in green building design. The green apple uses New York City, particularly One Bryant Park and the Solaire, to demonstrates how the ubiquitous skyscraper can be a model of environmental responsibility. The second episode features architect and activist Sergio Palleroni as he works to provide design solutions to regions suffering from social and humanitarian crises. Shows projects in East Austin, Tex. and with the Yaqui Indians in Mexico where architecture students are helping residents build low-cost, environmentally-friendly homes using local materials. The green machine follows Mayor Richard M. Daley as he strives to make Chicago "the greenest city in America" with numerous LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified buildings, a solar-powered public transportation system, and many green roofs, including one on Chicago's City Hall. The fourth episode takes the notion of the three R's (reduce, reuse, recycle) to grand proportions by turning Boston's "Big Dig" steel and concrete waste into spectacular residential design. China : from red to green? depicts a rapidly urbanizing country at its tipping point and finds a sustainable solution in Steven Holl's Beijing project, which will have the largest geothermal heating/cooling and greywater recycling system in the world upon completion. Deeper shades of green presents three visionaries who are changing the face of architecture and environmentalism and features some of their projects. Focuses on Ken Yeang and his "bio-climatic" National Library of Singapore, Werner Sobek and R128, his energy-efficient, steel and glass box house, and William McDonough and his model sustainable village of Huangbaiyu, China.  DVD 5508

Earth, the operators' manual. 2011, 1 videodisc (54 min.).  "Is the planet due for an oil change?  Why are fossil fuels unsustainable?  Can renewable energy power the planet?  These and many other questions are answered in "Earth: The Operator's Manual."  This accurate, understandable and upbeat report on the interconnected stories of humans, fossil fuels, earth's climate history and our future energy options will leave you amazed at the beauty and bounty of the planet, inspired by human ingenuity, and optimistic about the future" -- Container. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 10559

Earth, the operators' manual Energy quest USA. 2012, 1 videodisc (ca. 57 min.).  "Instead of waiting for Washington these folks are rolling up their sleeves and meeting the challenges head on.  In the process, they're becoming energy efficient, saving a buck, protecting the environment, and securing the future for our kids and our country. This third program in the Earth: The operators' manual series is not about a red or blue America, but about the power of people who want to move beyond political labels, debates and paralysis to build a more productive, prosperous and sustainable future."--Container. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 10561

Earth, the operators' manual Powering the planet. 2012,  1 videodisc (57 min.).  "Using compelling stories that showcase the many ways in which great nations and smaller communities are finding sustainable solutions that provide for people and protect the Earth, Power the Planet asks an urgent question: Is America making the right decisions for its own energy future?  This second program in the Earth: the operators' manual series is an eye-opening look at some of the world's most important energy decisions, and a provocative assessment of what it takes to build a sustainable energy infrastructure.  The planet offers lots of choices: what we do with them is up to us."--Container. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 10560

Edward Burtynsky: manufactured landscapes . 2007, 1 videodisc (90 min.).  Follows photographer Edward Burtynsky as he travels through China photographing the effects of that country's massive industrial revolution.  DVD 3406

A fierce green fire the battle for a living planet. 2012,  1 streaming video file (101 min.).  Divided into five "acts", the film is an exploration of the environmental movement--grassroots and global activism--spanning fifty years from conservation to climate change.  Streaming video and DVD 6822

Flow for love of water. 2008, 1 videodisc (84 min.).  A look at the world's water crisis and how the causes of the depleting water supply is connected to pollution, human rights, and even politics. Features interviews with scientists and activists. Includes commentary, expanded interviews, and more.  DVD 5045

Food, Inc. 2009, 1 videodisc (94 min.).  Lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing how our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profits ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. Reveals surprising - and often shocking truths - about what we eat, how it's produced and who we have become as a nation. 

Forks over knives. 2011, 1 videodisc (96 min.).  This documentary "examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods"--Container.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 9100

The future of food. 2005, 2 videodiscs (ca. 88 min.).  An in-depth investigation of the disturbing truth behind unlabeled, patented, genetically engineered foods that have quietly filled U.S. grocery store shelves for the past decade and an exploration of alternatives to large-scale industrial agriculture.  DVD 2357

Garbage warrior. 2008, 1 videodisc (87 min.).  Using empty beer cans, old tires, plastic bottles and other garbage, iconoclastic architect Michael Reynolds, based in New Mexico, has been building ecologically sustainable structures for 35 years. Calling his structures "earthships," Reynolds has had conflicts with government officials over inflexible zoning and housing laws, but his architectural ideas were put to use in the Andaman Islands following the 2005 tsunami.  DVD 5120

GasLand: can you light your water on fire? 2010, 1 videodisc (106 min.).  In 2009, filmmaker Josh Fox learned his land was on top of the Marcellus Shale, a giant reservoir of natural gas, and that he would be paid to lease his land for natural gas extraction. Fox documented his cross-country trek to find out if the controversial process of hydraulic fracking is actually safe. What he unearthed was a shocking discovery about a practice that is understudied and inadequately regulated, and he raced to find answers about fracking before it was too late.  DVD 7968

Gasland II. 1 videodisc (125 min.).  In this explosive follow-up to his Oscar-nominated film Gasland, filmmaker Josh Fox uses his trademark dark humor to take a deeper, broader look at the dangers of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the controversial method of extracting natural gas and oil, now occurring on a global level (in 32 countries worldwide). HOM USE COLLECTION DVD 11113

Go further. 2005, 1 videodisc (78 min.).  Join actor/activist Woody Harrelson and friends as they take a hemp-fuelled bus on an eco-consciousness raising 1300-mile incursion down the beautiful Pacific Coast from Seattle to Santa Barbara. Explores the idea that the single individual is the key to large-scale transformational change. The goal is to show people they encounter that there are viable alternatives to our habitual, environmentally-destructive behaviors.  DVD 10030

The greening of Southie. 2008, 1 streaming video file (72 min.).  The story of The Macallen Building, Boston's first LEED certified residential 'green' building, and the people that made it possible.  Streaming video

How to boil a frog make friends/make fun/make trouble. 2010,  1 videodisc (87 min.).  An eco-comedy (documentary feature film) that mixes rapid-fire humor with hard-hitting facts to show the consequences of overshoot: too many people using up too little planet, much too fast. Gives us an overview of our situation and 5 surprising ways that regular people like you and me can save civilization, while making our own lives better now.  DVD 9186

How to save the world one man, one cow, one planet. 2007,  1 videodisc (104 min.).  "Exposes globalization and its mantra of infinite growth in a finite world for what it really is: an environmental and human disaster.  But across India, farmers are fighting back.  By reviving an arcane form of agriculture, they are saving their poisoned lands and exposing the biocolonialism of multinational corporations" -- Container.  DVD 9041

If a tree falls: a story of the Earth Liberation Front. 2011,  1 streaming video file (85 min.).  The remarkable story of the rise and fall of the Earth Liberation Front, a radical environmental group that the FBI calls America's 'number one domestic terrorist threat,' told through the transformation and radicalization of one of its members, Daniel McGowan. Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Marshall Curry weaves a chronicle of McGowan facing life in prison with a dramatic investigation of the events that led to his involvement with the ELF.  DVD 9427 Streaming video

An inconvenient truth. 2006, 1 videodisc (96 min.).  Former Vice President Al Gore explains the facts of global warming, presents arguments that the dangers of global warning have reached the level of crisis, and addresses the efforts of certain interests to discredit the anti-global warming cause. Between lecture segments, Gore discusses his personal commitment to the environment, sharing anecdotes from his experiences. DVD 2360

The island President. 2012, 1 videodisc (101 min.).  President Mohammed Nasheed of the Maldives is confronting a problem greater than any other world leader has ever faced - the survival of his country and everyone in it. Nasheed, who brought democracy to the Maldives after decades of despotic rule, now faces an even greater challenge: as one of the most low-lying countries in the world, a rise of three feet in sea level would submerge the 1200 islands of the Maldives and make them uninhabitable.  HOME USE COLLECTION 10861

Beijing besieged by waste : the observations from Wang Jiuliang. 2011, 1 streaming video file (80 min.).  While China's rise, and its immense challenges, commands world attention, less light has been shed upon the colossal problem of waste generated by a burgeoning population, expanding industry, and rapacious urban growth. Photographer Wang Jiuliang turns his lens upon the grim spectacle of garbage, excrement, refuse, and wreckage heaped upon the landscape that surrounds China's mega-metropolis, Beijing.  Streaming video

Kilowatt ours energy conservation and renewables. 2004?, 1 videodisc (38 min.).  "Kilowatt Ours reveals an optimistic message, introducing viewers to individuals, businesses and schools that have cut their energy use (and bills) in half. The benefits of energy conservation and renewable power to the consumer, the environment and the economy, empower viewers to become part of the clean energy revolution"--Container.  DVD 6558

King corn. 2007, 1 streaming video file (90 min.).  Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney are best friends and ecological activists who met at Yale and learned that their great-grandfathers were from the same small town, Greene, Iowa. Their existential shock at learning that their " ... generation was at risk of having a shorter life span than our parents, and it was because of what we ate" prompts a return to their ancestral home--a farming town of just over 1000 people--to spend a year planting and harvesting an acre of corn. In the course of playing their minuscule part in the burgeoning corn industry, they learn about government subsidies, ammonia fertilizer, massively increased yields, and how the system favors mass production over small family farms. There is also the ubiquity of corn in food, from corn-fed beef to high-fructose syrup that sweetens sodas and other products. The film is a helpful tutorial on American corn production past and present, and an eminently watchable inquiry into the politics of food and public health .  Streaming video

King corn a film. 2006, 1 videodisc (92 min.).  "In King Corn, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, best friends from college on the east coast, move to the heartland to learn where their food comes from. With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds, nitrogen fertilizers, and powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America's most productive, most subsidized grain on one acre of Iowa soil. But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat-- and how we farm."--container.  DVD 4214

Koyaanisqatsi Life out of balance. 2002, 1 videodisc (87 min.).  Koyaanisqatsi is a Hopi Indian word meaning variously: crazy life, life in turmoil, life disintegrating, life out of balance (the subtitle for this film), and a state of life that calls for another way of life. This film presents a concert of visual images set to the music of Philip Glass that progesses from purely natural environments to nature as affected by man, and finally to man's own manmade environment that is devoid of nature.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 8631

Last call at the oasis. 2012, 1 videodisc (ca. 105 min.).  Water. It's the earth's most valuable resource. Our cities are powered by it, countless industries depend on it, and all living things need it to survive. But it's very possible that in the near future, there won't be enough to sustain life on our planet. This film sheds light on the vital role water plays in our lives, exposes the defects in the current system, and shows communities already struggling with its ill effects.  HOME USE COLLECTION 10773

The last mountain. 2011, 1 videodisc (95 min.).  The fight for the last great mountain in America's Appalachian heartland pits the mining giant that wants to explode it to extract the coal within, against the community fighting to preserve the mountain and build a wind farm on its ridges instead. Robert Kennedy Jr. joins the fight to preserve the mountain.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 9163

Life running out of control. 2004, 1 videodisc (95 min.).  Explores the possibility of a future in which physical strength and assertiveness are the topselling items on "baby menus" and other frightening implications of market-driven genetic engineering. Showing how the government-funded Human Genome Project has become highly lucrative for pharmaceutical companies, the film examines the cases of exploitative gene harvesting in Iceland and Peru. Interviews with prominent scientists and activists highlight the dangers of patenting genetic data and an absence of public discourse about artificial gene selection.  DVD 1561

The light bulb conspiracy: the untold story of planned obsolescence. 2010, 1 videodisc (52 min.).   Traces the untold story of Planned Obsolescence, the deliberate shortening of product life spans to guarantee consumer demand, from its beginnings in the 1920s.  DVD 10648