Friday, February 17, 2012

The New Facts of Life

by Fritjof Capra

In the coming decades, the survival of humanity will depend on our ecological literacy – our ability to understand the basic principles of ecology and to live accordingly. This means that ecoliteracy must become a critical skill for politicians, business leaders, and professionals in all spheres, and should be the most important part of education at all levels – from primary and secondary schools to colleges, universities, and the continuing education and training of professionals.

We need to teach our children, our students, and our corporate and political leaders, the fundamental facts of life – that one species' waste is another species' food; that matter cycles continually through the web of life; that the energy driving the ecological cycles flows from the sun; that diversity assures resilience; that life, from its beginning more than three billion years ago, did not take over the planet by combat but by networking.

Nature sustains life by creating and nurturing communities. No individual organism can exist in isolation. Animals depend on the photosynthesis of plants for their energy needs; plants depend on the carbon dioxide produced by animals, as well as on the nitrogen fixed by bacteria at their roots; and together plants, animals, and microorganisms regulate the entire biosphere and maintain the conditions conducive to life.

Sustainability, then, is not an individual property but a property of an entire web of relationships. It always involves a whole community. This is the profound lesson we need to learn from nature. The way to sustain life is to build and nurture community. A sustainable human community interacts with other communities – human and nonhuman – in ways that enable them to live and develop according to their nature. Sustainability does not mean that things do not change. It is a dynamic process of co-evolution rather than a static state.

Systems thinking
The fact that ecological sustainability is a property of a web of relationships means that in order to understand it properly, in order to become ecologically literate, we need to learn how to think in terms of relationships, in terms of interconnections, patterns, context. In science, this type of thinking is known as systemic thinking or "systems thinking."

Systems thinking emerged from a series of interdisciplinary dialogues among biologists, psychologists, and ecologists, in the 1920s and '30s. In all these fields, scientists realized that a living system – organism, ecosystem, or social system – is an integrated whole whose properties cannot be reduced to those of smaller parts. The "systemic" properties are properties of the whole, which none of its parts have. So, systems thinking involves a shift of perspective from the parts to the whole. The early systems thinkers coined the phrase, "The whole is more than the sum of its parts."

What exactly does this mean? In what sense is the whole more than the sum of its parts? The answer is: relationships. All the essential properties of a living system depend on the relationships among the system's components. Systems thinking means thinking in terms of relationships. Understanding life requires a shift of focus from objects to relationships.

Understanding relationships is not easy for us, because it is something that goes counter to the traditional scientific enterprise in Western culture. In science, we have been told, things need to be measured and weighed. But relationships cannot be measured and weighed; relationships need to be mapped. So there is another shift: from measuring to mapping.

Now, when you map relationships, you will find certain configurations that occur repeatedly. This is what we call a pattern. Networks, cycles, feedback loops, are examples of patterns of organization that are characteristic of life. Systems thinking involves a shift of perspective from contents to patterns.

I also want to emphasize that mapping relationships and studying patterns is not a quantitative but a qualitative approach. Systems thinking implies a shift from quantity to quality. A pattern is not a list of numbers but a visual image.

The study of relationships concerns not only the relationships among the system's components, but also those between the system as a whole and surrounding larger systems. Those relationships between the system and its environment are what we mean by context. Systems thinking is always contextual thinking. It implies a shift from objective knowledge to contextual knowledge.

Finally, we need to understand that living form is more than a shape, more than a static configuration of components in a whole. There is a continual flow of matter through a living system, while its form is maintained; there is development, and there is evolution. The understanding of living structure is inextricably linked to the understanding of metabolic and developmental processes. So, systems thinking includes a shift of emphasis from structure to process.

Systems thinking means a shift of perception from material objects and structures to the nonmaterial processes and patterns of organization that represent the very essence of life.

This is extracted from the adapted essay from a speech Fritjof Capra delivered at a professional development institute, "Linking Food, Health, and the Environment," hosted by the Center for Ecoliteracy and Teachers College Columbia University in the summer of 2008.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Capturing Rainwater from Rooftops An Efficient Water Resource Management Strategy that Increases Supply and Reduces Pollution

Cities and Flooding - A Guide to Integrated Urban Flood Risk Management for the 21st Century

12 Guiding Principles for Integrated Flood Risk Management

1. Every flood risk scenario is different: there is no flood management blueprint.
Understanding the type, source and probability of flooding, the exposed assets and their vulnerability are all essential if the appropriate urban flood risk management measures are to be identified. The suitability of measures to context and conditions is crucial: a flood barrier in the wrong place can make flooding worse by stopping rainfall from draining into the river or by pushing water to more vulnerable areas downstream, and early warning systems can have limited impact on reducing the risk from flash flooding.

2. Designs for flood management must be able to cope with a changing and uncertain future.
The impact of urbanization on flood management is currently and will continue to be significant. But it will not be wholly predictable into the future. In addition, in the present day and into the longer term, even the best flood models and climate predictions result in a large measure of uncertainty. This is because the future climate is dependent on the actions of unpredictable humans on the climate – and because the climate is approaching scenarios never before seen. Flood risk managers need therefore to consider measures that are robust to uncertainty and to different flooding scenarios under conditions of climate change.

3. Rapid urbanization requires the integration of flood risk management into regular urban planning and governance.
Urban planning and management which integrates flood risk management is a key requirement, incorporating land use, shelter, infrastructure and services. The rapid expansion of urban built up areas also provides an opportunity to develop new settlements that incorporate integrated flood management at the outset. Adequate operation and maintenance of flood management assets is also an urban management issue.

4. An integrated strategy requires the use of both structural and non-structural measures and good metrics for “getting the balance right”.
The two types of measure should not be thought of as distinct from each other. Rather, they are complementary. Each measure makes a contribution to flood risk reduction but the most effective strategies will usually combine several measures – which may be of both types. It is important to identify different ways to reduce risk in order to select those that best meet the desired objectives now – and in the future.

5. Heavily engineered structural measures can transfer risk upstream and downstream.
Well-designed structural measures can be highly effective when used appropriately. However, they characteristically reduce flood risk in one location while increasing it in another. Urban flood managers have to consider whether or not such measures are in the interests of the wider catchment area.

6. It is impossible to entirely eliminate the risk from flooding. Hard-engineered measures are designed to defend to a pre-determined level.
They may fail. Other non-structural measures are usually designed to minimize rather than prevent risk. There will always remain a residual risk which should be planned for. Measures should also be designed to fail gracefully rather than, if they do fail, causing more damage than would have occurred without the measure.

7. Many flood management measures have multiple co-benefits over and above their flood management role.
The linkages between flood management, urban design, planning and management, and climate change initiatives are beneficial. For example, the greening of urban spaces has amenity value, enhances biodiversity, protects against urban heat island and can provide fire breaks, urban food production and evacuation space. Improved waste management has health benefits as well as maintaining drainage system capacity and reducing flood risk.

8. It is important to consider the wider social and ecological consequences of flood management spending.
While costs and benefits can be defined in purely economic terms, decisions are rarely based on economics alone. Some social and ecological consequences such as loss of community cohesion and biodiversity are not readily measureable in economic terms. Qualitative judgments must therefore be made by city managers, communities at risk, urban planners and flood risk professionals on these broader issues.

9. Clarity of responsibility for constructing and running flood risk programs is critical.
Integrated urban flood risk management is often set within and can fall between the dynamics and differing incentives of decision-making at national, regional, municipal and community levels. Empowerment and mutual ownership of the flood problem by relevant bodies and individuals will lead to positive actions to reduce risk.

10. Implementing flood risk management measures requires multi-stakeholder cooperation.
Effective engagement with the people at risk at all stages is a key success factor. Engagement increases compliance, generates increased capacity and reduces conflict. This needs to be combined with strong, decisive leadership and commitment from national and local governments.

11. Continuous communication to raise awareness and reinforce preparedness is necessary.
Ongoing communication counters the tendency of people to forget about flood risk. Even a major disaster has a half-life of memory of less than two generations and other more immediate threats often seem more urgent. Less severe events can be forgotten in less than three years.

12. Plan to recover quickly after flooding and use the recovery to build capacity.
As flood events will continue to devastate communities despite the best flood risk management practices, it is important to plan for a speedy recovery. This includes planning for the right human and financial resources to be available. The best recovery plans use the opportunity of reconstruction to build safer and stronger communities which have the capacity to withstand flooding better in the future.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Farmers Go Wild

Going beyond organic, a new generation of farmers is nurturing nature as well as crops.


Jack Gray photo by Paul Dunn
Jack Gray of Winter Green Farm outside of Eugene, Ore., is committed to farming without harming surrounding wildlife and natural ecosystems.
Photo by Paul Dunn.
“Frogs are an indicator species,” Jack Gray explains, leaning over a small, muddy pond to look for tadpoles.
Here on the 170-acre Winter Green Farm, 20 miles west of Eugene, Ore., Gray has raised cattle and grown vegetables and berries for 30 years.
It’s a sunny April day, but water pools in the pastures, evidence of the rains this part of Oregon is known for.
Gray is in his mid-50s and agile from decades of working outside. He built this pond to provide habitat for native amphibians, because bass in another pond were eating the red-legged frogs and Western pond turtles.
They envision a landscape where farms meld into the environment and mimic the natural processes that surround them.
Cows graze in a field behind him; wind whispers through a stand of cattails, and two mallards lift off. Gray points out the calls of killdeer, flycatchers, and blackbirds. Up the hill a flock of sheep chomp on long grass. “They’re part of a controlled grazing to try to control reed canary grass, which is an invasive species,” Gray explains. “It tends to smother areas. It makes deserts almost.”
Gray, his wife, Mary Jo, and two other families co-own Winter Green Farm. They are committed to something Jo Ann Baumgartner, director of the Wild Farm Alliance, calls “farming with the wild.”
Winter Green Farm photo by Paul Dunn
Photo by Paul Dunn.
The words “wild” and “farming” may seem at odds. In the last century, with the development of petroleum-based pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, farms were increasingly modeled on industry. “Fencerow to fencerow,” mono-crop farming emphasized high production and minimized the importance of biodiversity. Farmers ripped out vegetation, cut down forests, shot predators, and filled in wetlands and streams. Today, agriculture is a major cause of the habitat loss that puts endangered species at risk.
Practitioners of wild farming, also called conservation-based agriculture, seek to reverse industrial agriculture’s devastating effects on wildlife by adopting farming methods that support nature. They envision a landscape where farms meld into the environment and mimic the natural processes that surround them. If wild farming sounds like organic farming, that’s because both are based on a similar vision: that farms should be managed as natural systems. Most wild farmers employ organic practices, like nontoxic pest management, composting, and crop rotation, all of which encourage biodiversity.
However, farming with the wild goes a step beyond organic and looks at how farms can support nature and wildlife at the larger ecosystem or watershed level. For a farmer, that might mean planting native plants and hedgerows along the borders of fields to provide habitat for wildlife and beneficial insects, finding ways to accommodate fish and large carnivores, preventing genetically engineered organisms from interacting with native species, and networking with other farmers and agencies to create wildlife corridors that connect wilderness areas.

The Mountain Lion and the Lamb

Wild farms exist all over the country, from North Dakota’s grasslands to Florida’s marshes, and by their nature, they vary based on the farm and the geography. In the Bridger Mountains of Montana, at Thirteen Mile Lamb & Wool Company, Becky Weed and Dave Tyler are committed to predator-friendly ranching. They use guard llamas, instead of guns, traps, or poison, to protect their cattle and sheep from coyotes, bears, mountain lions, wolves, and eagles. They take a risk with their non-lethal approach to predation and occasionally lose sheep, but they support a healthy ecosystem where predators control populations of their natural prey, like mice, rabbits, gophers, and deer. They also qualify for certification from Predator Friendly, an “ecolabel” that touts the sustainability of their products and helps ranchers get premium prices from conservation-minded customers.
farming wild playbutton
Photo Essay:
Farming With the WIld

How agriculture and wildlands can both flourish—together.
In the arid Mimbres Valley of Southwestern New Mexico, at the No Cattle Company, Michael Alexander and Sharlene Grunerud grow fruit, vegetables, and flowers using an ancient Spanish “acequia” canal system for irrigation. They’ve installed bird perches and bat boxes on the sides of their fields, and the free-tail and big brown bats they attract feed on their worst insect pests: codling moths, cucumber beetles, and corn earworm moths. Alexander and Grunerud also see benefits from accommodating larger wildlife at their farm, like bears, foxes, mountain lions, bobcats, and coyotes. The bears feed on fallen apples, eating the codling moth larvae inside, and the coyotes, as well as ravens and hawks, help control the population of pocket gophers.
The families and farm animals at Winter Green share their land with elk, deer, coyotes, beavers, possums, skunks, osprey, black-shouldered kites, red-tailed hawks, and other wildlife.
Winter Green Farm boasts certification from Salmon-Safe, an eco-organization that protects endangered wild salmon and steelhead habitat. Last summer Gray rebuilt a culvert on Evans Creek so that fish could swim through, and he’s installed fencing along Evans and Poodle creeks to keep cattle away from the waterways.
But farming with the wild is not only about protecting nature and ecosystems, says Baumgartner, who, along with other conservation-minded agricultural experts, founded the Wild Farm Alliance in 2000. Wild agriculture also benefits farmers. Planting native plants to attract beneficial insects can increase pollination of fruits and melons and protect farmers from the consequences of declining honeybee populations. Moving cattle every few days to mimic the actions of wild migratory grazers, a practice called management-intensive grazing, keeps cattle healthier and improves the land. Studies show that by restoring wetlands and waterways, farmers can reduce pesticide runoff and E. coli contamination on a farm by as much as 99 percent. Gray has implemented all of the above practices and says he sees the benefits in healthy soil, grass, cattle, and crops.
And in 2001, he and his fellow farmers planted a hedgerow, a narrow strip of trees, shrubs, ground cover, and vines bordering fields. Jude Hobbs, a horticulturist and permaculture expert who helped the farmers at Winter Green plant their 300-foot hedgerow, explains that hedgerows can create shade for waterways and provide wildlife habitat. Hedgerows also benefit farms; they can decrease wind damage, reduce soil erosion, attract pollinators, and provide extra income opportunities.
Wild farming always requires management—and compromises. Gray laughs as he talks about some of his problems with wild animals, particularly the crows that like to feast on his blueberries.
“We used these tapes in the fields that supposedly sound like the death song of a crow—horrendous squeals and stuff,” Gray says.“You’d come out and find them perched right on top of it.”
Gray also tried hanging Mylar tape and putting out huge balloons with eyes on them. But nothing distracted the crows from their favorite food. Finally he put netting over the blueberries and a mile of woven-wire fence to stop elk from eating the berries. He laments some of the trade-offs. “It changed the patterns of the elk. They’ll go elsewhere, where they used to cross at certain spots of certain streams. We loved to have the elk right outside our kitchen window.”

A Field of Weeds

Winter Green Solar Panel photo by Paul Dunn
Photo by Paul Dunn.
Wild farmers face political and economic challenges that can be more formidable than crows and elk. Baumgartner and other wild-farming advocates have witnessed a shift away from conservation-based farming in the last five years, especially in the Salinas Valley of California, the top vegetable-producing region in the country, where the Wild Farm Alliance is based. In September 2006, bagged spinach grown in the valley was contaminated with E. coli, which sickened 205 people in 26 states and killed three. Cattle, feral pigs, and grazing deer were implicated, although the source of the outbreak was never found.
“There was this gunshot reaction of, ‘Let’s get rid of all wildlife and habitat on farms,’” Baumgartner says. Farmers throughout the Salinas Valley, under pressure from large buyers and suppliers, bulldozed trees and hedgerows, filled in ponds, and removed and trapped wildlife. The Wild Farm Alliance has worked overtime trying to educate farmers and certifiers about the benefits of wild farming and convince government officials to include conservation in food-safety legislation. The shift away from conservation was particularly distressing, because many more large conventional farms will need to transition to wild farming to reconnect the nation’s fragmented wildlife habitat. And it can be slow and difficult for farmers to learn new methods—even with government assistance.
Less than 50 miles from Winter Green Farm, in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, farmer Clint Lindsey is adopting a number of conservation measures. Lindsey, 31, and his dad run A2R, an 870-acre farm near Corvallis. Two years ago, like the majority of farmers in the valley, they grew conventionally grown grass seed, a pesticide-and-fertilizer-intensive crop. Then the grass-seed market collapsed, a victim of the economy and the housing market.
A2R was on the brink of bankruptcy when Lindsey met a group of farmers who were testing the viability of growing edible crops in the valley for local markets. He and his dad decided to transition the majority of their acreage to organic grains, beans, and edible seeds.
A2R qualified for a grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a department of the USDA, which invests millions of dollars of grant money each year in helping farmers support healthy ecosystems. The grant helped Lindsey and his dad replace chemical pesticides and fertilizers with a pungent-smelling compost tea made of liquefied fish, kelp, and compost. They also agreed to a number of other practices, including planting peas during the winter months to help fertilize the soil, curtail runoff, and attract beneficial insects.
Winter Green Farm Sign photo by Paul Dunn
Photo by Paul Dunn.
Lindsey says it’s too early to tell whether the area will benefit the farm by attracting pollinators or pest-eating birds. But preserving the land helped A2R gain certification from The Food Alliance, an ecolabel that requires farmers to meet an extensive list of biodiversity and wildlife conservation requirements.
The challenges of transitioning are not just economic. Lindsey says his dad, who has grown conventional grass seed for 30 years, struggles to adjust psychologically to a style of agriculture that more closely resembles nature. “For a conventional farmer, these fields are a complete mess,” Lindsey says. “One of the biggest challenges is getting used to seeing a field full of weeds and figuring out what to do about it, because you can’t spray herbicide on it.”
A2R is at the beginning of a long journey to becoming a healthy ecosystem. Despite the challenges, Lindsey is enjoying the process. “It just became a heck of a lot more fun to farm. For a long time we’d been looking at ways to turn our farm from just a factory turning out grass seed into something that was a valuable asset to the community and to our family.”

A Wild Hope

Even in a nation dominated by giant mono-crop farms and animal feedlots, there are hopeful signs about the future of conservation-based agriculture. The acreage of farmland in conservation and wetlands-reserve programs jumped 20 percent between 1997 and 2007, and the 2008 Farm Bill further increased funding for conservation projects.
Greenhorns play buttonThe Greenhorns
Young farmers dig their way to an agricultural revolution.
Since 2002 the government has studied the environmental impacts of NRCS agricultural conservation projects and found that wild farming makes a difference. For instance, stream improvements made by ranchers on private land in Montana increased the population of trout by 59 percent, and native vegetation buffers planted by farmers along the borders of fields dramatically increased the population of Northern bobwhites and several upland songbirds in 14 different states, according to the NRCS.
In its decade of existence, the small, nonprofit Wild Farm Alliance has been successful at getting conservation included in national organic standards and state and federal food safety legislation. But wild farming’s greatest hope may be the growth of local food networks, farmers markets, and community-supported agriculture, as well as the emergence of third-party ecolabels. These movements connect farmers with consumers, enabling all of us to choose food grown in ways that protect and support wild nature.

Abby Quillen Abby Quillen wrote this article for The YES! Breakthrough 15, the Winter 2012 issue of YES! Magazine. Abby is a freelance writer in Eugene, Ore. She blogs at

Monday, February 6, 2012

Free documentary Films Archive

Documentary Films Archive

  • After People (History Channel) - Complete Season One - What would happen if every human being on Earth disappeared? This isn t the story of how we might vanish it is the story of what happens to the world we leave behind. Building off the success of the HISTORY two-hour special Life After People, this series continues the exploration of a world wiped clean of humanity, in even more vivid detail.
  • Planet Earth: The Complete BBC Series - 11 Documentary Films Online - With an unprecedented production budget of $25 million, and from the makers of Blue Planet: Seas of Life, comes the epic story of life on Earth. Five years in production, over 2,000 days in the field, using 40 cameramen filming across 200 locations, shot entirely in high definition, this is the ultimate portrait of our planet. A stunning television experience that captures rare action, impossible locations and intimate moments with our planet's best-loved, wildest and most elusive creatures. From the highest mountains to the deepest rivers, this blockbuster series takes you on an unforgettable journey through the daily struggle for survival in Earth's most extreme habitats.

  • Indigenous Community Resilience (short documentary films) - Resilience shows the stories of 5 indigenous communities who are increasing their resilience to climate change and natural resource scarcity by strengthening their traditional knowledge, customary law and agricultural systems
  • Channel 4: Grand Designs: Ben Law - Build an Eco-Home from the woods - In this monumental documentary, the famous British woodsman Ben Law is covered as he plans and executes the development of the wooden house of his (and monay others') dreams. Build entirely of wood that he himself has husbanded, on land that he has cared for, this represents the culmination of a lifetimes work and acheivement in modern environmentalism.

  • Permaculture in Cambodia - Full-length version of documentary focusing on a Permaculture Design Course conducted by Rico Zook in Cambodia during December 2008.

  • (2010) - "The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history has swept across the United States. The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of "fracking" or hydraulic fracturing has unlocked a "Saudia Arabia of natural gas" just beneath us. But is fracking safe? When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. A recently drilled nearby Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire.
  • Agroforestry, Forest Farming - Documentary Film - Agroforestry is an integrated approach of using the interactive benefits from combining trees and shrubs with crops and/or livestock. It combines agricultural and forestry technologies to create more diverse, productive, profitable, healthy and sustainable land-use systems.

  • Systems of Change: Edible Forest Gardening - Documentary of edible forest garden installation at the Evergreen State College by filmmaker Phred Swain-Sugarman. Edible forest gardens are perennial polycultures of food-bearing and other useful species. Includes interviews with volunteers and project coordinator.

  • Saving the Bumblebee - Short Documentary Film - This short film is about the plight of the humble bumblebee which has declined dramatically in numbers and range during the 20th Century, to the extent that half of the 25 British species are now rare and 2 are extinct.

  • End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of The American Dream - Global oil peak and the inevitable decline of fossil fuels are upon us now, Are today's suburbs destined to become the slums of the future? This is a short version of "The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of The American Dream", a documentary about the end of the age of cheap oil. The film is hosted by Canadian broadcaster Barrie Zwicker and features discussions with James Howard Kunstler, Peter Calthorpe, Michael Klare, Richard Heinberg, Matthew Simmons, Michael Ruppert, Julian Darley, Colin Campbell, Kenneth S. Deffeyes, Ali Samsam Bakhtiari and Steve Andrews.

  •! The Movie (2009) - takes you inside the wonders of the soil. It tells the story of Earth's most valuable and underappreciated source of fertility--from its miraculous beginning to its crippling degradation. The opening scenes of the film dive into the wonderment of the soil. Made from the same elements as the stars, plants and animals, and us, "dirt is very much alive." Though, in modern industrial pursuits and clamor for both profit and natural resources, our human connection to and respect for soil has been disrupted.

  • Holzer - The Agro Rebel: Permaculture in Salzburg Alps (Der Agrar-Rebel) - Sepp Holzer, the Austrian farmer and forester practices "permaculture" a different kind of farming on his mountain property. With this certain form of organic-agriculture, he is very convincing and successfully. Contrary to all conventional rules and despite annual average temperatures of 4.5°C and an altitude of between 900m-1400m, he cultivates cherries, apples, mushrooms, kiwis, lemons, pumpkins, potatoes and zucchinis. This year he also started big permaculture-projects in Brazil, Columbia, Peru and Venezuela.

  • Permaculture - A Quiet Revolution - This timely documentary offers practical steps on how to 'permaculturize' our lives. It invites viewers into a permaculture community that spans the globe. Most importantly, it gives the critical inspiration needed to turn our backs on that which is failing us, and to create a sustainable future of our own making.

  • HEAVEN ON EARTH - Permaculture with Rico Zook - Heaven On Earth is a video travelogue documenting the work of permaculturist Rico Zook. Join us as we travel with Rico to the Northern most part of India in the shade of the towering Himalayas, to glimpse the future through Rico's eyes and learn what permaculture is, and what it has to offer both humanity and the planet. Is it possible we might find heaven on earth here, and now? Watch and see.
  • A River Runs Through Us (2011) - A personal and hopeful introduction to one of the biggest threats facing our world's lifelines, as told by the people at the forefront of the global movement. Filmed at Rivers for Life 3 -- a 2010 gathering of 350 river activists from 50 countries, held in rural Mexico -- this documentary touches on issues such as how climate change will affect rivers and dams; what happens to communities displaced by or living downstream of large dams; and what kinds of solutions exist that both preserve our life-giving waterways while meeting our needs for energy and water.

  • Doctrine: The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism (2009) - Naomi Klein - Documentary Film - Offering illuminating insight into the investigative journalism behind Naomi Klein's bestselling book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, this riveting hour-long lecture and interview explains the ideas and research behind the book that exposed the popular myth of the free market economy’s peaceful global victory. From Chile in 1973 to today, this is the chilling tale of shock doctors, those powerful few making a killing around the world by cashing in on chaos and exploiting bloodshed and catastrophe to brutally implement their policies.

  • D.I.Y. Or Die: How to Survive as an Independent Artist - D.I.Y. or Die: How to Survive as an Independent Artist is a low-budget documentary film released by Music Video Distributors in 2002. The film is a "celebration of the underdog" and deals with why artists do what they do, regardless of the lack of a continuous paycheck.
  • Fuel (2010) - Eleven years in the making, FUEL is the in-depth personal journey of filmmaker and eco-evangelist Josh Tickell, who takes us on a hip, fast-paced road trip into America’s dependence on foreign oil. Animated by powerful graphics, FUEL looks into our future offering hope via a wide-range of renewable energy and bio-fuels. Winner of the Sundance Audience Award.

  • Resist Or Die (2010) - examines our culture’s addiction to systematic violence and environmental exploitation, and probes the resulting epidemic of poisoned landscapes and shell-shocked nations. Based in part on Endgame, the best-selling book by Derrick Jensen, END:CIV asks: “If your homeland was invaded by aliens who cut down the forests, poisoned the water and air, and contaminated the food supply, would you resist?”
  • Arne Naess and Deep Ecology Movement - The Call of the Mountain (1997) - Portrait of the Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess and the Deep Ecology Movement. Made in 1997 by Rerun Productions, The Netherlands. Shot on location in Naess's hut Tvergastein on the Hardangervidda mountain plateau, and in Berkeley, USA. With Bill Devall, Vandana Shiva, George Sessions, Helena Norberg-Hodge, and Harold Glasser.

  • Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil - “The Power of Community” is creating excitement in localization groups, and with good reason. In this film, individual Cubans tell us how they responded to an artificially imposed “Peak Oil” in the 1990s, when the fall of the Soviet Union caused the loss of most food and oil imports. Their stories serve as a valuable model for a world facing Peak Oil on a global scale. Cuba’s transition to a low-energy society is hopeful and instructive.
  • BBC Panorama "BP: In Deep Water" (2010) + Transcript - A report examining the consequences of the explosion in April on BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, which is being called `America's greatest environmental disaster. Two months after an explosion on BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 people, Panorama's Hilary Andersson tells the story of America's 'greatest environmental disaster.'
  • Food, Inc. (2008) - filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment.

  • VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY: The Poetic Alternative to Consumer Culture - documentary explores the philosophy behind Voluntary Simplicity, what potential or significance it has as a quietly emerging social movement and what its limitations might be. Presented by Samuel Alexander, a part-time lecturer and doctoral student at the University of Melbourne Law School, and the founder of the Life Poet’s Simplicity Collective

  • Impact Man (2008) - As the news stories go: "Colin Beavan is a liberal schlub who got tired of listening to himself complain about the world without ever actually doing anything about it" Thus, in November, 2006, Beavan launched a year-long project in which he, his wife, his two-year-old daughter and his four-year-old dog went off the grid and attempted to live in the middle of New York City with as little environmental impact as possible.

  • For Love of Water - Interviews with scientists and activists intelligently reveal the rapidly building crisis, at both the global and human scale, and the film introduces many of the governmental and corporate culprits behind the water grab, while begging the question “CAN ANYONE REALLY OWN WATER?” Beyond identifying the problem, FLOW also gives viewers a look at the people and institutions providing practical solutions to the water crisis and those developing new technologies, which are fast becoming blueprints for a successful global and economic turnaround.

  • Crimes (aka Chemtrails) - Over the years aerosol/chemtrail research has provided some leads but even more questions as to who and why the spraying occurs. It is clear jets are deliberately spraying the sky’s and it will not stop until enough people are aware and willing to stand up for the operations exposure and termination.

  • (documentary film) - Former actor Yann Arthus-Bertrand directed this visually astonishing portrait of the Earth as seen from mesmerizing aerial views. Home is not the first documentary to survey our planet from the air, but Arthus-Bertrand brilliantly and dreamily captures the miraculous linkage within delicate eco-systems. For viewers whose eyes glaze over at descriptions of the way Earth recycles energy and matter, Home underscores the beautiful and awesome reality of that complex process.
  • Satoyama: Japan's Secret Watergarden (BBC Natural World) - Over a thousand years, towns and villages have developed a unique system to make springs and water part of their homes. From inside their houses, the stream pours into Japan’s largest fresh water lake, near the ancient capital of Kyoto. This is a habitat so precious, the Japanese have a special word for it, satoyama, villages where mountains give way to plains. They are exceptional environments essential to both the people who maintain them and to the wildlife that now share them.

  • The Sustainable City documentary - Sustainable architecture, or green architecture, aims to minimize the negative impact of buildings on the environment by enhancing efficiency and moderating the use of materials, energy, and space.

  • Eampe Punie Pajeami - The Chaco Forest and Its People - documents the work of the Amotocodie Initiative and Ayoreo leaders to support – from a distance – groups of uncontacted Ayoreo in the Chaco Forest and to protect their rights to life and self-determination.

  • WARRIOR (2008) - Earthship Biotecture by Michael Reynolds - What do beer cans, car tires and water bottles have in common? Not much unless you're renegade architect Michael Reynolds, in which case they are tools of choice for producing thermal mass and energy-independent housing. For 30 years New Mexico-based Reynolds and his green disciples have devoted their time to advancing the art of "Earthship Biotecture" by building self-sufficient, off-the-grid communities where design and function converge in eco-harmony.

  • Bill Mollison - Global Gardener - I - "In the tropics" - BILL MOLLISON is a practical visionary. For nearly two decades he has traveled the globe spreading the word about permaculture, the method of sustainable agriculture that he devised. Permaculture weaves together microclimate, annual and perennial plants, animals, soils, water management and human needs into intricately connected productive communities. Mollison has proved that even in the most difficult conditions permaculture empowers people to turn wastelands into food forests.

  • Mike Adams - Monopoly Medicine - How Big Pharma takes your money and makes you sick. Mike Adams interviewed by G. Edward Griffin Mike Adams, known as the Health Ranger to his fans, is the author of numerous books on natural health and editor of the popular internet site called News Target. Although self-taught, his knowledge of natural medicine is nothing short of phenomenal, as you will see from this interview. Be prepared for an enlightenment that could change your life.
  • Hoxsey: How Healing Becomes a Crime - This documentary concerns Harry M. Hoxsey, the former coal miner whose family’s herbal recipe has brought about claims of a cancer cure. Starting in 1924 with his first clinic, he expanded to 17 states by the mid 1950s, along the way constantly battling organized medicine that labeled him a charlatan.

  • documentary on WikiLeaks: "WikiRebels" - In less than a year Wikileaks has grown from a rather obscure website to a global political player, shaping world history and events, by revealing secret documents about warcrimes, corporate corruption and shady political backdoor dealings. Over several months a crew from Swedish Television has been following the secretive media network and its work behind the scenes. The result is a one hour feature documentary that tells the story behind the story.

  • Earth: Uncompromising Ecological Architecture (2010) - FIRST EARTH is a documentary about the movement towards a massive paradigm shift for shelter -- building healthy houses in the old ways, out of the very earth itself, and living together like in the old days, by recreating villages. It is a sprawling film, shot on location from the West Coast to West Africa. An audiovisual manifesto filmed over the course of 4 years and 4 continents, FIRST EARTH makes the case that earthen homes are the healthiest housing in the world; and that since it still takes a village to raise a healthy child, it is incumbent upon us to transform our suburban sprawl into eco-villages, a new North American dream.

  • to Have Known - The Evidence Behind Natural Healing (2008) - In DYING TO HAVE KNOWN, filmmaker Steve Kroschel goes on a 52-day journey to find evidence supporting the effectiveness of the Gerson Therapy -- a long-suppressed natural cancer cure. His travels take him from Alaska to Mexico with stops in San Diego, New York, Japan, Holland and Spain. In the end, he presents the testimonies of patients, scientists, surgeons and nutritionists who testify to the therapy s efficacy in curing cancer and other degenerative diseases, and presents the hard scientific proof to back up their claims.
  • Life running out of control - Genetically Modified Organisms - In the mid 1980s, scientists unlocked the genetic keys to manipulating our world. Suddenly everything seemed possible! There would be no more hunger or malnutrition; diseases would be vanquished and poverty wiped out. But twenty years on the situation looks very different. From the loss of biodiversity to health scares about GM food, the effects of genetic technology are prompting more and more debate. Our documentary this week is an intelligent look at both sides of the issue. Made for ARTE.

  • Inconvenient Truth (2006) - Director Davis Guggenheim eloquently weaves the science of global warming with Al Gore's personal history and lifelong commitment to reversing the effects of global climate change in the most talked-about documentary of the year. An audience and critical favorite, An Inconvenient Truth makes the compelling case that global warming is real, man-made, and its effects will be cataclysmic if we don’t act now.

  • Experience: Earth Days (2009) - It is now all the rage in the Age of Al Gore and Obama, but can you remember when everyone in America was not Going Green ? Visually stunning, vastly entertaining and awe-inspiring, Earth Days looks back to the dawn and development of the modern environmental movement from its post-war rustlings in the 1950s and the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson s incendiary bestseller Silent Spring, to the first wildly successful 1970 Earth Day celebration and the subsequent firestorm of political action. Earth Days secret weapon is a one-two punch of personal testimony and rare archival media.

  • Goldsworthy’s Rivers & Tides - Wildly praised by the nation's top critics, the smash theatrical hit RIVERS AND TIDES is a mesmerizing, poetic and curiously contemplative portrait of revered Scottish sculptor Andy Goldsworthy, whose long-winding rock walls, icicle assemblages and other intricate, druidic masterpieces are made entirely of materials found in the wild.

  • World According to Monsanto - The World According to Monsanto tells the little-known yet shocking story of this agribusiness giant--the world's leading producer of GMOs (genetically modified organisms)--and how its new "green" face is no less malign than its PCB- and Agent Orange-soaked past.
  • Natural World – A Farm for the Future - With her father close to retirement, Rebecca returns to her family's wildlife-friendly farm in Devon, to become the next generation to farm the land. But last year's high fuel prices were a wake-up call for Rebecca. Realising that all food production in the UK is completely dependent on abundant cheap fossil fuel, particularly oil, she sets out to discover just how secure this oil supply is.

  • Late Night Sunrise - The story of the resistance in Cabanas, El Salvador, to the El Dorado mine, owned by Canadian mining company Pacific Rim. A film by Michael Watts & David McNulty.

  • [The+merchats+of+cool.png]The Merchants of Cool (2001) - They are the merchants of cool: creators and sellers of popular culture who have made teenagers the hottest consumer demographic in America. But are they simply reflecting teen desires or have they begun to manufacture those desires in a bid to secure this lucrative market? And have they gone too far in their attempts to reach the hearts--and wallets--of America's youth?

  • Holocaust: When It’s All Over I’ll Still Be Indian - The powerful and hard-hitting documentary, American Holocaust, is quite possibly the only film that reveals the link between the Nazi holocaust, which claimed at least 6 million Jews, and the American Holocaust which claimed, according to conservative estimates, 19 million Indigenous People.
  • Outdoor Kindergarten - Back to Nature (2009) - Outdoor nurseries are trying to counteract concerns that childhood has become overprotected and believe external education makes children more creative and independent. We´re competing with computer games, says Heidi, Its important to give children the desire to be outdoors.
  • In Transition: from oil dependence to local resilience - ‘In Transition’ is the first detailed film about the Transition movement filmed by those that know it best, those who are making it happen on the ground. The Transition movement is about communities around the world responding to peak oil and climate change with creativity, imagination and humour, and setting about rebuilding their local economies and communities.

  • Battle for the Trees (1993) - It is a complex battle being fought on many fronts--in corporate board rooms, in legislatures, on the streets, and in the woods. The weapons range from million-dollar public relations campaigns to quiet acts of civil disobedience. At stake are the last stands of old-growth coastal forest of British Columbia, which are being clearcut at an increased rate every year. Soon they will be gone forever.
  • Dirty Oil (2009) - Dirty Oil dramatically explores the battle between industry, government, local communities and environmentalists. From the heart of the oils sands in Northern Alberta, Dirty Oil follows the pipelines to the U.S. Midwest refineries, to witness how refineries, much like its Canadian counterparts, try to increase toxic dumping into the Great Lakes. These disturbing stories profoundly illustrate the price dirty oil is taking on both sides of the border.

  • Amazonia for Sale - Awajun People and their struggle - Approximately 35 minutes in length, Amazonia for Sale tells the story of the Awajun Peoples, who, like so many other Indigenous People around the world, are struggling to preserve their land, protect their way of life, and defend their dignity and rights in the Peruvian Amazon.
  • Natural Building and a New Sense of the Earth - This DVD takes you to visit: Linda Smiley and Ianto Evans who pioneered the use of building with earth, straw and sand called cob in the U.S. and who now run the North American School of Natural Building in Coquille, Oregon where they and their students have used natural building methods to create a little village. Coenraad and Courtney Rogmans who took a piece of undeveloped land, built straw bale and cob buildings complete with solar electricity and a water catchment system, and who teach natural building workshops.
  • Moneyless in Moab (2006) - Interweaving philosophical conversations with suelo in his cave and treehouse with colorful footage of his daily activities in town and in nature, MONEYLESS IN MOAB offers an intimate look at a person who embodies a radical alternative to our excessively consumeristic american way of life. The film opens our eyes to the fact that it is indeed possible to live happily without money, and to do so with joy, grace, and dignity, even in a world gone mad with attachment.

  • [ready+steady+skip.jpg]Ready, steady, skip (2008) - Ready Steady Skip is a short film made by a community of friends in response to our continual amazement at the things we find in skips; to share what we experience of the staggering amounts of food waste seen by retailers as nothing more than a factor in the cost of doing business.

  • Greening the Desert II: Greening the Middle East (Permaculture) - This half hour video documents the ongoing work of Permaculture Gurus, Geoff and Nadia Lawton, in the Dead Sea Valley. It begins with the famous original 'Greening the Desert' five minute video clip, and then continues into Part II, a 2009 update to the 2001 original.