From Songs to Film
So the obvious next step — in follow-up to the debate about the top ten environmental songs — is to debate film. Sean, Cara and I had an e-mail exchange about the topic and decided that environmental films could be divided, roughly, into three or four categories. First are the toxic torts/nuclear horror films. Silkwood, The China Syndrome, Erin Brokovich and A Civil Action come to mind. Then there are the envirornmental apocalypse films: Avatar, of course, Wall-E, Happy Feet, Waterworld, Logan’s Run, Soylent Green, Children of Men, The Road and so forth. Then there are films that celebrate the beauty of a place or resource: Out of Africa and A River Runs Through It. And finally, there’s the exploitation-of-a-resource films, the category for the greatest enviornmental movie of all time, Chinatown. Okay maybe it’s just one of the greates movies of all time, not one of the greatest environmental movies of all time.
I’m intentionally leaving out documentaries for now, though perhaps I shouldn’t (think An Inconvenient Truth, The Cove, March of the Penguins, Planet Earth, and early classic TV series like the Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau and Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom).
Now the hard part begins. Rankings? Do we need a special category for worst environmental films of all time (with Waterworld leading the pack, perhaps?) And does the film have to at core be about the environment or is it enough that environmental destruction/protection/harm is a theme?
So add to the list, help rank the films or tell me why I’m wrong.
Ann Carlson is the Shirley Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law and the co-Faculty Director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School…READ more