Customer Reviews: A Fierce Green Fire
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on October 6, 2013
"A Fierce Green Fire," a documentary in five acts, chronicles the history of the environmental movement, beginning in the early years of the 20th Century and running through the present day.

Written and directed by Mark Kitchell, the movie, based on the book by Phillip Shabecoff, divides its subject into sections entitled "Conservation," "Pollution," "Alternatives," "Going Global" and "Climate Change," each hosted by a different narrator (Robert Redford, Ashley Judd, Van Jones, Isabelle Allende, Meryl Streep, respectively). The movie provides a fascinating and informative survey of the people and events that, for more than a hundred years, have helped to raise the world's consciousness regarding the harm humans are inflicting on nature and the planet. More importantly, the movie shows that people can achieve great things against nearly impossible odds when they work together in a common cause. It also illustrates how the environmental movement and the social justice movement dovetailed over time into a single entity.

By interviewing many of the movers and shakers over the decades who have dedicated their lives to preserving the environment, the movie functions as an indispensable time capsule for future generations to see how people were able to rise up and make a difference. However, the movie also makes it clear that there is still a great deal more that needs to be done, particularly in the areas of global warming and climate change. And here is where the film turns much more pessimistic, pointing out the many seemingly intractable obstacles to rational action that have been thrown up by industrial, governmental and right wing ideological forces, particularly in the United States, since the 1980s. Yet, despite this gloomy assessment, the fight continues, as people of good faith and intentions storm the barricades of entrenched money and power to do battle in a just cause.

"A Fierce Green Fire" is a must-see both for those who lived through and participated in those tumultuous times - sometimes at the risk of their own lives - as well as for those more recent inhabitants of the planet who are reaping the rewards of their forebears' commitment and effort. But, as the movie also keeps telling us, there is still so much more to do.
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on March 9, 2014
This film begins with Love Canal where children were getting sick because of water pollution, followed by Green Peace, which saved the lives of whales, followed by Chico Mendes in Brazil who fought the destruction of the rain forest and concludes with the battle between politicians and oil companies to combat global warming. Unfortunately, the battles continue around the world to save the planet. Don't miss this one..
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on May 1, 2014
Come on America, lets support all enviromental,and EPA efforts. North Dakota once a beautiful refuge of wildlife, ranches and rolling farmland is becoming, a DUMP for the oil industry. No evaporation ponds, thanks to former Vice President Cheney. People not desposing of Radio Active filters properly. Trains moving oil Exploding. We are the highest in workplace deaths in the country. Yes race here for high pay and an Early Death, thats the american way isnt it ??? The medical facilitys are broken... The educational system is broken...Yes living here with the advertising saying OIL CAN ! Should say come roll in it, oh i forgot to mention the man camps to live in? Doesnt it sound great!!! Breath and Eat Oil.......then die.
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on January 9, 2015
Prior to this documentary, the debate centering on environmentalism has often been between warring factions which make the Wars of the Roses of the 15th century look tame by comparison. Each vilifies the other. The more conservative (ironically) who believe in complete free enterprise and capitalism without hindrance have labeled the environmentalists quacks and anti-capitalistic, and therefore "Un-American". Particularly figures like James Watt who was the Secretary of the Interior from 1981 to 1983 under the Reagan Administration felt that environmentalists were delusional in their perspectives, prompting Reagan to say of them "They won't be happy to until the Whitehouse is a bird's nest", which is of course wasn't true at all. Simultaneously, some "Green" activists have accused capitalists of being beholden to only moneyed and corporate interests. Corporations have argued that high regulation of business will stifle the free market and compromise jobs and incomes. The "Greens" have argued that if we destroy our planet's habitability, through Global Warming, we will have no planet upon which to exist and create, be it housing, cars, or corporations, etc. If the human species is extinct, there will be no capitalism in other words.

Strangely, prior to 2012, there hadn't been a documentary which tells the full tale of the environmentalist movement, why they came to believe what they believe, and why they have protested as vehemently as they have. Films like "An Inconvenient Truth" have successfully made the case why Global Warming threatens the existence of the Earth but there hadn't been a film explaining the history of the movement. "A Fierce Green Fire" has filled the gap. This film explains where the movement came from and why it continues today.

The film is divided into five parts: Act 1, The history of Conservation beginning with the origins of the Sierra Club, headed by John Muir in the 19th century and later David Bower in the mid-20th. Act 2, the pollution of the 1970's including demonstrations against toxic waste. Act 3, Green Peace and their exploits to save the whales. Act 4, the fights against the destruction of natural resources such as the Amazon Rain Forests. Act 5, Global Warming.

Despite popular belief, the Environmentalist Movement did not begin in the 1960's with hippie radicals on the Haight-Asbury in San Francisco. It began as early as the 19th century when birds with beautiful plumage were disappearing because they were being hunted and killed for the plumage adorning ladies' hats. A group formed to save these birds from extinction. Shortly thereafter, John Muir fought against the construction of dams which would destroy the habitats of many wildlife areas west of the Mississippi. Families of the mid-west who probably had never been involved in environmentalism before engaged themselves in the debate when their children were becoming and ill and even dying as a result of toxic waste. And the threat of Global Warming is recapped, extending what Al Gore had accomplished in his documentary 10 years earlier.

The view of the documentary is certainly from a particular bias, but at the same time, I think it does a reasonably good job of not vilifying the other side unless that side deserves it. Most political anti-environmentalists didn't believe there was a real problem, and the conventional wisdom prior to circa 1960 was that environments could and should be compromised in favor of "progress". Many people until President Reagan began to sign onto the Environmentalist cause, but this shifted under Reagan, particularly with the appointment of James Watt who wanted the country to drill more and more no matter where and how.

A very professionally-made documentary as good as any PBS documentary being produced today. The talents of several Hollywood heavy-hitters narrate the film, such as Robert Redford, Ashley Judd, and Meryl Streep. Even Isabelle Allende lends her voice to one of the segments. My only hope is that it doesn't just speak to the choir but encourages those on the fence, and maybe even the other side, to take a look at this very real issue. The truth is, if we don't have a world, nothing else really matters that much. I don't want cock roaches to be the only occupants of deserted cities in a few hundred years.
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on September 1, 2014
This is a great overview of the environmental movement in the US. I used it as an introduction to an environmental economics course. It was a great piece to allow students to understand where the movement started, the political processes involved, and where we are today. I highly recommend it.
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on November 1, 2013
In just a couple of hours you get a very close look to a timeline of the environmental movement of the last decades.
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on April 5, 2014
Robert Redford and Meryl Streep have compiled a watchable documentary surrounding the formative relationship to the ecological movement. I purchased in hopes to further the discovery surrounding my father’s participation within the formative social economic environmental circle. My father had hired on to begin formulative developments of the EPA, 1967.

As a Federal Government employee, he progressed concern and science-governmental action for the agency, our Pacific NW Water Pollution Control. He was an economist and administrator, in Oregon. He worked as a Federal Governmental employee until 1967. He got the call to economically and scientifically lead the formation of the EPA. The EPA was a brain child of Nixon. My father performed as hired but Nixon created his own noose with Water Gate. My dad resigned prior to the Water Gate affair due opposing political and economic views.

My father believed in sustainable green economics, enough said. His economics were not, what would become attributed to Milton Friedman’s Neoliberal economics—destroying labor wage value, liberating investment markets to destroy American manufacturing via Asian 1% investments. Nor was MF generally concerned with environmental degradation (due mass contrivance toward social ignorance about our environment.) Milton Friedman believed in liberating tax cuts for the wealthy to invest with—an activity to outsource 1% investments which destroy American manufacturing jobs. The derivative will become opportune as the associative relationship with real estate as the reason for the (planned) market collapse. Liberalized Milton Friedman economics produce home sales today, losses from the labor class, and formations from the bubble market design. The real estate collapse will be labeled as the catalyst, taking the blame to labor purchases contrived by the capitalist banking.

My father might have felt mandates toward environmental concern were as necessary as cigarette tax, gas tax, and alcohol tax, all means to curb our consumption of pollutants. He saw the economic as an environmentalist.

Years later, my assessment in college is: my father observed Nixon killing thorium nuclear reactor funding, circa 1970-71. A design that had been up and running for five years and for 80% of the time, via two test reactors. (Thorium reactors are not pressurized reactors and thorium fuel is safe to hold in a naked hand, (today: Kurt Sorenson, filbe.)) Two test reactors had safely and effectively ‘run’ for 80% of the time, for five years. Nixon went to Hanford and Burbank CA to speak of a great new science, nuclear breeder reactors, fueled by plutonium and/or uranium, not thorium. Nixon’s timing was in promotion of job creation for nuclear scientists (votes) and the formative attraction he was drawing to his upcoming Presidential campaign, the Republican Party. He killed the funding for the thorium fueled reactors and fed that funding into the American war machine, via GE and the uranium and plutonium fuel based breeder reactors.

My dad’s past performance was not mentioned in the documentary, therefore a four star rating.

I would purchase this documentary again, in consideration of my interests and personal search for data.
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Donald T. Coughlin
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on June 19, 2016
The movie runs 1 hour 40 minutes and is a history of the environmental movement, dating back to the 1960s, with a couple of references into the 40s. It covers many early efforts, including the Sierra Club, Love Canal, Earth Day and Green Peace, and goes on to the efforts worldwide, like the forest people in Brazil who tap rubber trees and stopped the clearcutting; and the treehuggers in India who did the same. It ends with the frustrations, and what I find ironic, of how the US, a country that really started many environmental movements, is holding up a worldwide accord on addressing climate change. I now think of the words of George Santanaya, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” and wish all people under 50 years of age would watch this film.
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on December 5, 2013
It is the most thorough, honest, informative environmental film I've ever encountered. It provides for future hope, but also shows how we are indeed a cancer on this earth, Long Live GAIA!(not us)
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on November 10, 2015
A very informative and well presented piece on the environmental movement; very timely and very important to the future of the planet. I am thankful that the people in this movement are as active as they are and understanding of what they are up against. They have performed valiantly.

A creek that ran through my backyard in the 1950 providing habitat for wildlife and paradise for boys like me as been absolutely destroyed. It is gone; diverted into a paved ditch half a mile away that only runs in the winter. That was, by today's standards, an eco-crime.

This is a very forceful piece that definitely delivers its message. We can only hope that people listen before they destroy their own home.
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