Two Battles That Helped Spark the Global Environmental Movement

From the Love Canal disaster to Greenpeace's efforts to save the whales and beyond, a new documentary tracks the rise of environmentalism.

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A Fierce Green Fire, a documentary directed by Mark Kitchell, is a sweeping history of the environmental movement recounted through archival footage, interviews with activists, and a host of celebrity narrators. Based on a book with the same name by Philip Shabecoff, the film hopes to be "the first big-picture exploration of the environmental movement – grassroots and global activism spanning fifty years from conservation to climate change."

The filmmaker, who is screening the film in Washington, D.C., on May 3, shared two excerpts with us highlighting two key themes. The clip above tells the story of the Love Canal environmental disaster in the late 1970s -- a community near Niagara Falls that suffered from the effects of toxic waste buried there years earlier. Lois Gibbs, featured in the film, and other parents fought to get relocated while authorities dismissed their reports of birth defects and other health problems.

Another excerpt, below, covers Greenpeace's fight to stop whaling ships -- by physically maneuvering between a Russian ship and its target, a pod of whales. Faced with nonviolent intervention, the harpooner didn't back down so easily. Paul Watson, a co-founder of Greenpeace out there on the boat that day, recounts, "that's when I realized Gandhi wasn't gonna pull through for us that day." 

 

For more information about the film, visit http://firstrunfeatures.com/fiercegreenfire/.

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.
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