Recommended Documentary: Recipes for Disaster

In Finish it is called “Katastrofin aineksia

Concerned about the world’s addiction to oil, and its disastrous environmental consequences for the planet such as global warming, the filmmaker convinces his family to go on an “oil diet” for one year to reduce their carbon footprint. Aiming to reduce their contribution to greenhouse gases, Webster-if not his wife and two young sons, who are very reluctant participants-is eager to learn from their experiment and becomes a man on a mission.

Revealing the personal difficulties involved in making such a radical change in lifestyle, and the surprising extent to which petroleum-based products figure in our everyday lives, including home heating and electricity, transportation, food, plastic products and packaging, clothing, even toothpaste, lipstick and shampoo.

The movie is mostly in English, however the wife is more reluctant to speak in English so she is in her native tongue Finnish. I am on the hunt for a version with English subtitles and will post back when one is found. This video is extremely hard to find anywhere online, let me know if you come across one with English-subs. I found a version with Swedish (close to Norwegian) subtitles, and could follow along enough in the non-English parts.

Recommended Documentary: Who Killed the Electric Car?

Who Killed the Electric Car? is a 2006 documentary film that explores the creation, limited commercialization, and subsequent destruction of the battery electric vehicle in the United States, specifically the General Motors EV1 of the mid 1990s. The film explores the roles of automobile manufacturers, the oil industry, the US government, the Californian government, batteries, hydrogen vehicles, and consumers in limiting the development and adoption of this technology.

The film deals with the history of the electric car, its modern development, and commercialization. The film focuses primarily on the General Motors EV1, which was made available for lease mainly in Southern California, after the California Air Resources Board passed the Zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandate in 1990 to combat urban air pollution. Nearly 5000 electric cars were designed and manufactured by GM, Toyota, Honda, Ford, Nissan, and Chrysler; and then later destroyed . Also discussed are the implications of the events depicted for air pollution, oil dependency, Middle East politics, and global warming. [wiki]

Recommended Documentary: King Corn

“King Corn is a feature documentary about two friends, one acre of corn, and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation. 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, 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.”

I highly recommend that you watch this, it is very interesting to see where America was in the 1960’s and what it has become today in terms of farming. While I think it was interesting to see how the corn was made – the whole process – I do think that they just touched the surface here. Ole and I were chatting after the movie about how we think they went into making the movie only curious about how it was grow – strictly because they knew it a a large product in the US. However there is a scene you will see where they are talking to ‘cornfed’ and it seems to be their wake up call – they did not realize what (or really what is not?) made out of corn in the US. Since we have seen FOOD inc, we know the dangers of having corn in everything. One thing that was said toward the end really has stuck in my head. The pretext is that feeding corn to cows who cannot properly process corn nor do they get the proper ingredients from it – makes sick cows. So here is the wow moment I had -They said that 70% of the antibiotics used in the USA are used on cattle! WOW! That means that the ton of antibiotics that people are taking is only 30% of what is produced. The sad thing is if we just feed the cows grass, we would not have this problem and would be able to stop producing probably 65% of that 70% for animals!

Recommended Documentary: Tapped

Is access to clean drinking water a basic human right, or a commodity that should be bought and sold like any other article of commerce?

Stephanie Soechtig investigates the unregulated and unseen industry that is bottled water. Industries are moving into neighborhoods, taking water, not paying taxes to said neighborhood, and selling there water across America and the world. The 2 big kickers – the water is only filtered tap water being sold for 1900 times the price of its bottled worth and America alone is making 30 billion one use plastic bottles a year. 80% of the PET manufactured in America is in Pepsi, Coke and Nestle’s water bottles – wow.

From the plastic production to the ocean in which so many of these bottles end up, this inspiring documentary trails the path of the bottled water industry and the communities which were the unwitting chips on the table. A powerful portrait of the lives affected by the bottled water industry, this revelatory film features those caught at the intersection of big business and the public’s right to water.

Recommended Documentary: Addicted to Plastic

Addicted to Plastic is an 85 minute documentary about solutions to plastic pollution. The point-of-view style documentary encompasses three years of filming in 12 countries on 5 continents, including two trips to the middle of the Pacific Ocean where plastic debris accumulates. The film details plastic’s path over the last 100 years and provides a wealth of expert interviews on practical and cutting edge solutions to recycling, toxicity and biodegradability. These solutions – which include plastic made from plants – will provide viewers with a hopeful perspective about our future with plastic. Every piece of plastic that’s ever been made, except a small amount that’s been incinerated, still exists. The truth is, only about 5% of all plastic actually gets recycled.

I have had this on my ‘to watch list’ for some time now, and I am glad I finally had the chance too. It is very educational and I feel I understand more about the system and potential solutions. I really hope that more businesses pick up bio plastics.

As much as I like this movie, there was just one thing that bothered me. Ian, the guy making the film, ask at one point – could we live without plastic. Well the reality is kinda – some things are just not safe to not have made out of plastic – like your bottles in the shower, not good to have glass in a slippery environment like that. However, I personally believe that we can live with much less plastic. There are many alternatives and ways to avoid it, and I felt that Ian did not point this out well – in this particular section on the film, he tries to go through his morning routine without plastic. How to wake up with out an alarm, where to sleep since there are plastics in mattresses, how to brush his teeth and how to shower. Maybe I am becoming abit extreme (some would say hippie – and I am sad that has such a negative meaning these days), but I know there are other options. You can have an alarm clock that is plastic free, there are plastic free beds, there are also wooden and bristle tooth brushes and alternatives to toothpaste in a plastic tube. Some of these might be out of our comfort zone, but I am sure that they would become the norm.

I am currently attempting to clear out as much plastic from our lives as possible. We will never be 100% free- and this is not the goal. However I need to take it slow so I don’t freak Ole out – so I am slowly making this transition. In a follow up article I will outline what it is a I am planning to do to reduce my plastic consumption.