To go green is a decision with a complex process of transformation. Having an inspiration helps because it serves as a wake-up call, eye-opener, and something that feeds your passion. It also informs and helps set the tone of your transformation.
I hope you find your inspiration from this short list of films. They are a combination of serious, epic, heart-breaking, and funny because inspiration should come in different shapes to appeal to the different corners of human emotions.
This futuristic film portrays an inhabited, garbage-filled earth and an effort to restore it to life. What melts our hearts is its hero, a sentient love-sick robot who makes sure it happens.
Wall·E is a great film that is hilarious and charming, but underneath the cuteness is a pressing message to humanity: over-consumption is a serious environmental issue we need to address now.
180 Degrees South: Conquerors of the Useless (2010)
180 Degrees South is a documentary of Jeff Johnson’s trip to Patagonia to climb the Corcovado Volcano. As Johnson went at sea, to Easter Island, surfing, and rock climbing on his way to Chile, he also took the viewers in a “thinking affair” that involves realizing one’s regard for the environment.
The concept and meaning of the subtitle “Conquerors of the Useless” is also expounded somewhere in the film. My take is that things like climbing and backpacking are things you do even if you don’t get anything – as in material things. It uncovered a way of life that we should subscribe to.
Unlike films that portray environmental destruction and its culprits, this one calls us to look at our personal practices. I have the feeling that if every person watched this film and understood what it meant, each will start “examining” the way he/she lives.
We may have forgotten much about the film except for the general plot of a group of gold-seekers arriving in a foreign land, its captain falling for the chief’s daughter. It’s a nice story; I enjoyed it as a kid. And it portrayed racial issues more than environmental ones.
The important messages about the environment and man’s ambitious ways, however, can be gathered from the theme song. “You think you own whatever land you land on..” Familiar? It sounds to me as an outright judgement against people who conquer lands for personal or political gain.
We all love Avatar for its cutting-edge visual effects and unique story, but environmentalists commend it for demonstrating 4 environmental matters: tribe threatened to be displaced, a lush, sustainable ecology approaching destruction, poaching humans, and the ultimate battle to set things right.
Some believe that the film was meant to be an environmental propaganda. To me and maybe many others, the film is a complete package of entertainment and revelations. The part where Jake Sully communes with Hometree for the first time and Neytiri, in the background, reveals a basic principle that all livings things are connected to one another? It made me cringe, with a remembrance of Barry Commoner’s “everything is connected to everything else” principle.
I’ve seen the film a number of times – in Star Movies, during a plane trip, in my computer and that part still gets me. If you haven’t seen Avatar with a conscious mind for its environmental principles, watch it again and cringe.
The Cove (2009)
The Cove is a documentary of dolphin slaughter in Japan. Albeit controversy for its filming practice, it gained attention around the world and many called to stop the horrifying and heart-breaking practice.
Aside from animal rights, the film touches on issues that may be happening elsewhere in the world, such as human perversion that drives wildlife to extinction.
This film may seem out of place in this short list, but I believe that an inspiration also comes from a disturbing truth.
I believe these are good films so getting your inspiration to go green should be entertaining as well. However, remember that this is not enough as it doesn’t happen overnight. You have to make your transformation personal by examining your life, altering your practices, and influencing others by setting examples.
Kate Meridew is a tutor and dissertation writer who switched to green ways after visiting Costa Rica and watching the film The Cove. She dreams of traveling the world and publishing her own book. Find her on Google+