February 2018
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Documentaries

This is a list of what I consider to be worth watching documentaries. Many of them are tightly connected to biology, though some of them are more related to the most dominant and destructive species this planet has ever seen: humans, the naked monkeys. There are several documentaries that I do not agree 100% with, but I am listing them here because I believe they offer a very good summary of a particular topic or a valuable and different point of view about important issues today. Click on each one to read its summary, some can be watched online! a link is provided in that case.



Addicted to plastic (2008, Ian Connacher). IMDB rating 7.2

From styrofoam cups to artificial organs, plastics are perhaps the most ubiquitous and versatile material ever invented. No invention in the past 100 years has had more influence and presence than synthetics. But such progress has had a cost. For better and for worse, no ecosystem or segment of human activity has escaped the shrink-wrapped grasp of plastic. Addicted To Plastic is a global journey to investigate what we really know about the material of a thousand uses and why there's so darn much of it. On the way we discover a toxic legacy, and the men and women dedicated to cleaning it up

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An Inconvenient Truth. (2006, Davis Guggenheim). IMDB rating 8.0

thumb_inconv truthIt has been proven that basically everything in this video is correct (a review appeared in the prestigious magazine "Nature"). I am still surprised to find educated people who believe humans cannot be responsible for the global warming and climate change problem. I hope this video helps many people understanding what the situation is, and to realize how close we are in decades to a possible massive disaster if we do not shift to an energy source different than oil and charcoal. I wish Al Gore had pointed more specifically, what we should do about the human population, as our rate of increase is a factor strictly connected with the amount of damage we are making to the environment and the chances of keeping the Earth livable for future generations.

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A River of Waste: The Hazardous Truth About Factory Farms (2009, Don McCorkell). IMDB rating 8.0

Watch online! This documentary exposes a huge health and environmental scandal in our modern industrial system of meat and poultry production. Some scientists have gone so far as to condemn current factory farms as Mini Chernobyls. In the U.S. and elsewhere, the meat and poultry industry is dominated by dangerous uses of arsenic, antibiotics, growth hormones and by the dumping of massive amounts of sewage in fragile waterways and environments. The film documents the vast catastrophic impact their practices have on the environment and public health, as well as the individuals' lives

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Black Fish (2013, Gabriela Cowperthwaite). IMDB rating 8.1

"Blackfish," is a documentary film about the multiple incidents, including three deaths, the last one being a top killer whale trainer working at SeaWorld. This prompted the ongoing court case between Sea World, and OSHA, the "Occupational Safety and Health Admissions". These 3 deaths, which included 2 Orca trainers, were caused by Sea World's infamous bull Orca "Tilikum." Through a series of interviews with former Orca trainers that worked with, or around Tilikum, and other problematic captive Orca, the film tries to find an explanation for what happened

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Blue Gold: World Water Wars (2008, Sam Bozzo). IMDB rating 7.8

Wars of the future will be fought over water as they are over oil today, as the source of human survival enters the global marketplace and political arena. Corporate giants, private investors, and corrupt governments vie for control of our dwindling supply, prompting protests, lawsuits, and revolutions from citizens fighting for the right to survive. Past civilizations have collapsed from poor water management. Can the human race survive?

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Burzynski (2010, Eric Merola). IMDB rating 7.3

Watch online! link1 - Watch online! link2 Ph.D biochemist, Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, won one of the largest legal battles against the Food & Drug Administration in U.S. history. Dr. Burzynski and his patients endured a treacherous 14-year journey in order to obtain FDA-approved clinical trials for a new cancer-fighting drug. His groundbreaking medical and legal battles have brought revolutionary cancer treatment to the public. Upon completion, his treatment will be available the world over - sending a shock wave through the cancer industry.- Written by Newport Beach Film Festival

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Capitalism: a Love Story (2009, Michael Moore) IMDB rating 7.0

thumb_capitalism"...Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story comes home to the issue he's been examining throughout his career: the disastrous impact of corporate dominance on the everyday lives of Americans (and by default, the rest of the world)..." "... Capitalism: A Love Story explores a taboo question: What is the price that America pays for its love of capitalism? Years ago, that love seemed so innocent. Today, however, the American dream is looking more like a nightmare as families pay the price with their jobs, their homes, and their savings... " Read complete review at IMDB

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Carbon Nation (2010, Peter Byck) IMDB rating 6.9

"An optimistic (and witty) discovery of what people are already doing about renewable energy, what we as a nation could be doing and what the world needs to do to prevent (or at least slow down) the impending climate crisis

 

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Crude Impact (2006, James Jandak Wood) IMDB rating 7.7

"Since the 1850s, mankind has become increasingly dependent on petroleum. This documentary explores the history and ramifications of that dependence. Through a series of interviews, it explains the concept of "peak oil" and traces often surprising connections between our consumption of fossil fuels and global problems such as poverty, famine and war. Though offering a bleak prognosis about the sustainability of our current lifestyle, it also provides suggestions for a more hopeful future

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Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (2014, Kip Andersen, Keegan Kuhn) IMDB rating .8.4

Watch online! Follow the shocking, yet humorous, journey of an aspiring environmentalist, as he daringly seeks to find the real solution to the most pressing environmental issues and true path to sustainability. The documentary focuses mostly on the intensive meat production industry in the US and its tremendous implications on water use and contribution to global warming by habitat destruction, desertification, and methane released by cattle. It also exposes worldwide famous environmental groups for not tackling the issue in fear of upsetting corporations and people about not eating meat.

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Darwin's Nightmare (2004, Hubert Sauper) IMDB rating 7.5

thumb_darwin's nightmaereWatch online! (Synopsis from the official website) The Nile Perch was introduced into Lake Victoria in the late 60's as a little scientific experiment. This voracious predator extinguished almost the entire stock of the native fish species but it multiplied so fast, that its white fillets are today exported all around the world. Huge hulking ex-Soviet cargo planes come daily to collect the latest catch in exchange for their southbound cargo… Kalashnikovs and ammunitions for the uncounted wars in the dark center of the continent.  This booming multinational industry of fish and weapons has created an ungodly globalized alliance on the shores of the world’s biggest tropical lake: an army of local fishermen, World bank agents, homeless children, African ministers, EU-commissioners, Tanzanian prostitutes and Russian pilots

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Don't Panic - The Truth About Population (BBC, 2013)

thumb_darwin's nightmaereWatch online! (Synopsis from the official website) Using state-of-the-art 3D graphics and the timing of a stand-up comedian, world-famous statistician Professor Hans Rosling presents a spectacular portrait of our rapidly changing world. With seven billion people already on our planet, we often look to the future with dread, but Rosling's message is surprisingly upbeat. Almost unnoticed, we have actually begun to conquer the problems of rapid population growth and extreme poverty. Across the world, even in countries like Bangladesh, families of just two children are now the norm - meaning that within a few generations, the population explosion will be over. A smaller proportion of people now live in extreme poverty than ever before in human history and the United Nations has set a target of eradicating it altogether within a few decades. In this as-live studio event, Rosling presents a statistical tour-de-force, including his 'ignorance survey', which demonstrates how British university graduates would be outperformed by chimpanzees in a test of knowledge about developing countries

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Energy Crossroads. (2007, Christophe Fauchere)

Most experts agree that global peak oil production, when demand exceeds supply, will occur within the next 15 years and will drastically change the very fabric of our industrialized world. As fossil fuels power every facet of the American economy, how can we avoid an energy crisis and a possible collapse of our economy? Today, China and India have aspirations to attain our western quality of life; but at the rate and the way we use the world's energy resources, their ambition will be physically impossible. In addition to increasing geopolitical conflicts, the process of extracting and using these crucial resources is endangering the very own habitat that we depend on to prosper as a species - pushing the earth's climate and ecosystem to a point of no-return. It is clear that in order for us to survive our modern self-destructive societies, we will have to change course drastically and as fast as possible. Scientists and experts agree that the use of renewable energy such as solar and wind power, coupled with higher efficiency and conservation, will be key factors in preserving our quality of life and paving the way to a sustainable world for our children. Will America be up to the task as it consumes 25% of the world's energy, 85% of which comes from non-renewable fossil fuels?

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Evolution series. (2001, PBS) webpage link

thumb_evolutionThis series of videos about evolution covers everything we know about what people has voted as the most important scientific contribution of all (according to Discovery channel's 100 greatest discoveries videos). It includes 8 videos: The evolutionary arms race (or how microbes are the only real biological threat to humans), Why sex -watch online- (or why sex exists in nature as the dominant form of reproduction, one of my favorites!), Great transformations (or how evolutionary changes that triggered the earth's diversity came about), Extinction (or how humans are responsible for the next and not natural mass extinction), The mind's big bang (or what triggered our creativity that allowed humans to become the dominant species on Earth), What about God? (or how religious people struggle to find a balance between God and science), and Darwin's dangerous idea (or Darwin's life and how all his ideas came about)

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Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004, Michael Moore) IMDB rating 7.6

thumb_fahrenheit911Michael Moore's view on what happened to the United States after September 11; and how the Bush Administration allegedly used the tragic event to push forward its agenda for unjust wars in Afghanistan and Iraq .  For an even more detailed information on the "fishy" or "ghost" evidence found for the planes that in theory participated on the attack, see the documentary Zeitgeist: The Movie (2007). You can watch this one online here

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Food Inc (2008, Robert Kenner) IMDB rating 7.9

thumb_food inc(From the official website, you can watch the trailer there) In Food, Inc., 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.

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Forks over Knives (2011, Lee Fulkerson) IMDB rating 7.7

(From the official website, you can watch the trailer there) Researchers explore the possibility that people changing their diets from animal-based to plant-based can help eliminate or control diseases like cancer and diabetes

 

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Fuel (2008, Joshua Tickell) IMDB rating 7.1

Director Josh Tickell takes us along for his 11-year journey around the world to find solutions to America's addiction to oil. A shrinking economy, a failing auto industry, rampant unemployment, an out-of-control national debt, and an insatiable demand for energy weigh heavily on all of us. Fuel shows us the way out of the mess we're in by explaining how to replace every drop of oil we now use while creating green jobs and keeping our money here at home. The film never dwells on the negative, but still shows us the easy solutions already within our reach. Written by Rebecca Harrell

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Garbage Warrior (2007, Oliver Hodge) IMDB rating 7.8

Imagine a home that heats itself, that provides its own water, hat grows its own food. Imagine that it needs no expensive technology, that it recycles its own waste, that it has its own power source. And now imagine that it can be built anywhere, by anyone, out of the things society throws away. Thirty years ago, architect Michael Reynolds imagined just such a home - then set out to build it. A visionary in the classic American mode, Reynolds has been fighting ever since to bring his concept to the public. He believes that in an age of ecological instability and impending natural disaster, his buildings can - and will - change the way we live

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Gas Land (2010, 2013, Josh Fox) IMDB rating 7.7

gas landAn exploration of the fracking petroleum extraction industry and the serious environmental consequences involved. A documentary that declares the gas industry's portrayal of natural gas as a clean and safe alternative to oil is a myth, and that fracked wells inevitably leak over time with serious consequences for life around the extraction sites. Watch online!

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Human Planet (2011, BBC) IMDB rating 9.3

This series of six episodes examines how humans have adapted to almost every ecosystem as well as many other animals did. Every episode deals with a different type of ecosystem, all challenging in different ways for human life, from Arctic to desert and jungle, from coasts to mountains. This series of videos is as good as any others produced by BBC, do not miss it!. Watch the grasslands episode online (the only I could find available when I made this)

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Inside job. (2010, Charles Ferguson)IMDB rating 8.1

Takes a closer look at what brought about the financial meltdown. Charles Ferguson's exemplary documentary about the USA's recent banking crisis is intelligent and jaw-dropping. The documentary exposes how bankers and what is worse, government, were aware of the crisis but did nothing to really prevent it. Even more, banks became more concentrated after that and made even more profits.

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Journey of Man. (PBS) (2003, Dr. Spencer Wells) IMDB rating 8.6

thumb_journey of manWatch online! The video traces the expansion of the human race from central Africa to Asia to the edge of South America. Using DNA obtained form blood samples, Wells travels to every continent in search of the people whose DNA holds humanity's secret history. He explains tough scientific concepts in a clear way, perfectly understandable to every one. A great video that combines anthropology, archaeology, linguistics and obviously population genetics.

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King Corn. (2007, Aaron Woolf)IMDB rating 7.1

King Corn is a feature documentary about two friends, one acre of corn, and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation. In King Corn, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, best friends from college on the east coast, move to the heartland to learn where their food comes from. With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds, and powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America's most-productive, most-subsidized grain on one acre of Iowa soil. But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat-and how we farm Written by King Corn

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Life (2009, BBC) IMDB rating 9.1

LIfe BBCOur planet is teeming with myriad life forms, both plant and animal, all interlocked in a struggle for survival. As time goes on, some living things are forced to adapt and change to survive. This series chronicles some of the most unusual, if not downright bizarre, behaviors that living organisms have devised to keep their species alive. The 11-episode series was four years in the making, taking camera crews to every continent and habitat.

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March of the Penguins (2005, Luc Jacquet) IMDB rating 7.8

thumb_march penguinsA look at the annual journey of Emperor penguins as they march some 70 miles inland every antarctic winter in order to reproduce in their traditional breeding ground, the only place safe from predators and far enough from the unstable ice as to ensure chicks will not risk death. The whole lice cycle is shown in this incredible documentary, in which males and females must share parenthood in equal parts in order to ensure survival of their only offspring.

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More than Honey (2013, Markus Imhoof) IMDB rating 7.5

more than honeyAn in-depth look at honeybee colonies in California, Switzerland, China and Australia. The documentary shows how our huge mono crops agricultural system has made bees just another business. Some of the diseases and other problems related to the increased population density or overcrowding bees for this purpose are shown

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Planet Earth series. (2005, BBC) IMDB rating 9.8M

thumb_planet earthPlanet Earth is a breathtaking 2006 television series produced by the BBC, the IMDB rating tells you everything... how often do we see a movie whose rating is almost perfect? That is precisely the point, many of the scenes in these documentaries are remarkable and unique (Several of them can be seen in the "Life on Earth videos" category on this site). The series comprises eleven episodes, each of which features a global overview of a different habitat on Earth. At the end of each episode, a special behind-the-scenes footage shows the challenges of filming the series.

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Racing Extinction (2015, Louie Psihoyos) IMDB rating 8.2

Scientists predict we may lose half the species on the planet by the end of the century. They believe we have entered the sixth major extinction event in Earth's history. Number five took out the dinosaurs. This era is called the Anthropocene, or 'Age of Man', because the evidence shows that humanity has sparked this catastrophic loss. We are the only ones who can stop it as well. The Oceanic Preservation Society, the group behind the Academy Award (R) winning film THE COVE, is back for "6". Along with some new innovators, OPS will bring a voice to the thousands of species on the very edge of life. An unlikely team of activists is out to expose the two worlds endangering species across the globe. The first threat to the wild comes from the international trade of wildlife. Bogus markets are being created at the expense of creatures who have survived on this planet for millions of years. The other threat is all around us, hiding in plain sight

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Six Degrees could change the world. (2008, National Geographic) IMDB rating 7.3

The film runs through the effect each degree in temperature change has on the world. Excellent documentary describing what the impact of every single degree would have on this planet.  From sea level changes to the relocation of rains and droughts around the world, the scenario becomes really worse with every single degree change in the average temperature of the planet. Even if the film presents a maximum scenario of 6 degrees increase in temperature, it is agreed than more than 3 degrees would produce catastrophic consequences for all life on planet Earth.

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SharkWater (2006, Rob Stewart) IMDB rating 7.9

thumb_shark waterWatch online!. (official website) Shark water shows, through the love Rob Stewart has for sharks, how delicate the biology of these ferocious predators is when they face the dominant species on the planet: humans. Shark finning has become the main problem for shark populations, where all fins are removed and the animal (still alive) is thrown back to water. China is the main market for fins, being used to make a shark fin soup! Sharkwater takes you into the most shark rich waters of the world, exposing the exploitation and corruption surrounding the world's shark populations in the marine reserves of Cocos Island, Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

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Sicko (2007, Michael Moore) IMDB rating 8.3

thumb_sickoIn this film Moore investigates the American health care system, with special attention to its health insurance and pharmaceutical industry. The film compares the for-profit, non-universal U.S. system with the non-profit universal health care systems of Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Cuba. As many people, you might not like Moore's style very much, but he always offers a valuable and very different point of view of the reality we are used to in America.

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Strange Days in Planet Earth. (2005, National Geographic) IMDB rating 8.0

thumb_strange days1Watch online! (click on the links) Around the globe, scientists are racing to solve a series of mysteries. Unsettling transformations are sweeping across the planet and clue by clue investigators are discovering ways that seemingly disparate events are connected. The four videos in this series focus on how animals and plants populations are being affected by humans interference, habitat destruction and modification, and  pollution. Predators (how predators play a critical role in all ecosystems), Troubled waters ( how water chemical pollution is affecting life at all levels), Invaders (nonnative species and their devastating effects), and the one degree factor (how global warming is affecting populations all around the world)

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Strange Days in Planet Earth 2. (2008,National Geographic)

thumb_strange days2This new video is as good as the previous ones, but focuses in water related problems. From hidden water caves in Mexico's Riviera Maya to currents in the North Pacific Gyre to Africa's wild savannas. The documentary shows how overfishing, waste disposal, and casually discarded plastics have created an unsettling domino effect on the planet's land, animals, and climate.

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Tapped(2009, Stephanie Soechtig, Jason Lindsey) IMDB rating 6.9

This documentary examines the role of the bottled water industry and its effects on our health, climate change, pollution, and our reliance on oil. It also emphasizes the use and problems connected with plastic, something that can also be seen in "Addicted to Plastic". If you want to see a broader picture of the water problem worldwide, watch "Blue gold: world water wars"

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The Age of Stupid(2009, Franny Armstrong) IMDB rating 6.9

Watch online! (Synopsis written by Adela Pickles on IMDB). This ambitious documentary/drama/animation hybrid stars Pete Postlethwaite as an archivist in the devastated world of the future, asking the question: "Why didn't we stop climate change when we still had the chance?" He looks back on footage of real people around the world in the years leading up to 2015 before runaway climate change took place.

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The Beautiful Truth (2008, Steve Kroschel) IMDB rating 5.1

thumb_beautiful truthWatch online! Not many have reviewed this documentary and I really think the rating should be around a 6.5 a t least.  It makes so much sense at many levels that I was surprised to see such a low rating. The movie moves around eating a healthy diet, food chemicals and agrochemicals, pharmaceutical companies, and cancer treatments. The video presents, as an alternative to conventional cancer treatments (radiation and chemotherapy), the Gerson therapy, but I honestly would pay more attention to the other things presented in the movie more than the cancer treatments.

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The Blue Planet series. (2001,BBC) IMDB rating 9.3

thumb_the blue planetWith five years in the making, this series takes a look at the rich tapestry of life in the world's oceans. The series includes four DVDs, each having two videos. titles are: Open oceans, The Deep, Ocean world, Frozen seas, Tidal (coastal) seas, Coasts (which focuses a lot on marine mammals), Seasonal seas, and Coral seas

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The Corporation (2003, Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott) IMDB rating 8.1

This documentary begins with an unusual detail that came from the 14th Amendment: Under constitutional law, corporations are seen as individuals. So, filmmaker Mark Achbar asks, what type of person would a corporation be? The evidence, according to such political activists as Noam Chomsky and filmmaker Michael Moore and company heads like carpet magnate Ray Anderson, points to a bad one, as the film aims to expose IBM's Nazi ties and these large businesses' exploitation of human rights.

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The End of Poverty. (2008, Philippe Diaz)IMDB rating 6.3

Watch Online!. A phenomenal discourse on why poverty exists when there is so much wealth in the world. A must see for anyone wanting to understand not only the US economic system but the foundations of today's global economy.

 

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The End of the Line. (2009, Rupert Murray)IMDB rating 7.0

The End of the Line, the first major feature documentary film revealing the impact of overfishing on our oceans. In the film we see firsthand the effects of our global love affair with fish as food.It examines the imminent extinction of bluefin tuna, brought on by increasing western demand for sushi; the impact on marine life resulting in huge overpopulation of jellyfish; and the profound implications of a future world with no fish that would bring certain mass starvation. Filmed over two years, The End of the Line follows the investigative reporter Charles Clover as he confronts politicians and celebrity restaurateurs, who exhibit little regard for the damage they are doing to the oceans.

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The Future of food. (2004, Deborah Koons) IMDB rating 7.9

Watch online!. THE FUTURE OF FOOD offers an in-depth investigation into the disturbing truth behind the unlabeled, patented, genetically engineered foods that have quietly filled grocery store shelves for the past decade

 

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The Power of Nightmares. (2004, Adam Curtis) IMDB rating 9.1

thumb_power of nightmaresWatch online!. Composed of three parts, the films compare the rise of the Neo-Conservative movement in the United States and the radical Islamic movement, making comparisons on their origins and claiming similarities between the two. More controversially, it argues that the threat of radical Islamism as a massive, sinister organized force of destruction, specifically in the form of al-Qaeda, is a myth perpetrated by politicians in many countries—and particularly American Neo-Conservatives—in an attempt to unite and inspire their people following the failure of earlier, more utopian ideologies... (extracted from Wikipedia)

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The Raging Planet. (2000, Discovery)

thumb_raging planetEl Niño is the mysterious weather phenomenon that has brought about the destruction of entire societies. The complexity of its causes and effects has led meteorologists to regard El Niño as the biggest weather phenomenon on the planet. This video includes almost everything we know about this phenomenon, and establishes interesting connections between the fall of past civilizations and the severity of these weather events. A connection among the increase in the severity of El Niño and the increase in human population and use of resources is suggested as well.

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The Search for the Ultimate Survivor. (2005, National Geographic) IMDB rating 4.0

thumb_search for ultimateWell, my guess is that whoever rated this video with a 4 must be below average in intelligence or be one of those folks that really embraces intelligent design as the way to go with life on Earth! I personally think is a 9 out of 10 documentary. The video covers everything we know about human evolution, the ancestors we had and the possible reasons why they are gone, everything explained by the same scientists that made many of the findings. From giants of unmatched size and strength to hobbit-like people half the size of humans today, scientists are reconstructing moments in time to find many species competing for survival simultaneously.

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The Storm that Swept Mexico (2011, Ray Telles) MDB rating 7.5

Watch online! The Storm That Swept Mexico tells the gripping story of the Mexican Revolution of 1910,irst major political and social revolution of the 20th century. The revolution not only changed the course of Mexican history, transforming economic and political power within the nation, but also profoundly impacted the relationships between Mexico, the U.S. and the rest of the world (extracted from the official website)

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The Story of Stuff (2007, Annie Leonard)

thumb_story of stuffWatch online! From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever (extracted from the official website)

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Trashed (2007, Bill Kirkos)IMDB rating 7.0

Trashed is a provocative investigation of one of the fastest growing industries in North America. The garbage business. The film examines a fundamental element of modern American culture...the disposal of what our society defines as "waste." It is an issue influenced by every American, most of whom never consider the consequences. Nor, it seems the implications to our biosphere. At times humorous, but deeply poignant, Trashed examines the American waste stream fast approaching a half billion tons annually. What are the effects all this waste will have on already strained natural resources? Why is so much of it produced? While every American creates almost 5 pounds of it every day, who is affected most? And who wants America to make more? The causes and effects of the seemingly innocuous act of "taking out the garbage" are analyzed.

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Vanishing of the Bees(2009, Maryam Henein, George Langworthy)IMDB rating 7.1

This documentary takes a piercing investigative look at the economic, political and ecological implications of the worldwide disappearance of the honeybee. The film examines our current agricultural landscape and celebrates the ancient and sacred connection between man and the honeybee. The story highlights the positive changes that have resulted due to the tragic phenomenon called "Colony Collapse Disorder." To empower the audience, the documentary provides viewers with tangible solutions they can apply to their everyday lives. Vanishing of the Bees unfolds as a dramatic tale of science and mystery, illuminating this extraordinary crisis and its greater meaning about the relationship between humankind and Mother Earth.

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Waiting for Superman (2010, Davis Guggenheim) IMDB rating 7.4

Here an excellent documentary about the US education system. Special thanks to Andrés Alvarado, from my East LA class of fall 2010, who went to see the movie and wrote this great review. The film “Waiting for Superman”, highlights the chain of problems that are present with education in the United States. I believe that the United States has become a country in which the rich have a tremendous advantage to receive a better education than people with little money. The type of education you receive depends on the area you live in, and the amount of money you have. Throughout the movie, it shows the poor education that children receive from a very early age. I think that the root to all these problems is the teachers and the lack of interest with the students. To be an effective teacher you need to be focused on the students as well as be available for them. One thing that really stuck out for me was that in some schools, some teachers can not be fired because of a contract that they have. I was amazed how many teachers just think about getting paid, and do not care if the student is learning. Some of these lazy teachers can “teach” the student only about 50% of what the student is supposed to learn for the entire year. Other teachers, however, can teach the students more than the 100% that they are supposed to learn. The student begins to get behind on material, every year more and more. These students get pushed through the system, regardless if they have mastered the material. Eventually, there comes a point in which the student finds the material difficult for them to learn, subsequently resulting in them dropping out of school. When Michelle Rhee was assigned chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools system of Washington, D.C., I was surprised how even when she was attempting to make a big change for the benefit of the children and the community, there was always something that impeded her from proceeding. When she attempted to close some schools down and fire many of the teachers that had not been doing their job to their full potential, many of the parents, employees as well as the teachers went on strike and did not allow it to take place. Michelle Rhee also attempted to compromise with the teachers in getting rid of the contract and instead making it possible for teachers to earn more based on their performance, which I thought was a good idea. The teachers however, did not even consider this option, and did not even vote for it. I think Geoffrey Canada has a good concept in attempting to solve this major problem; he had a great idea in founding his charter schools. These schools have already shown results in students going to college, and should be implemented nationally! Another problem that we have as a community in general, is that we are all selfish and only think about ourselves. The only way to make a change in the school system is come up with a concrete plan and for everyone to put their part and stick with it! However, everyone just thinks about themselves, about your kids, about your money, how it can affect you. We never see the big picture and about the future, we never think in terms of how it can affect everyone. In addition, many of us just seem to ignore the problems going on around us, while others simply choose to wait, wait, and keep waiting, for a so called “Superman”

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What the bleep!?: Down the rabbit hole (2006, William Arntz) IMDB rating 6.1

thumb_what the bleepOne more rating I do not agree with... mine? 8 out 10. The film underlies the concept of the interconnectedness of all things and through its course, the distinction between science and religion becomes increasingly blurred, as in essence both science and religion describe the same phenomena. The film employs animation to realize the radical knowledge that modern science has unearthed in recent years. Powerful cinematic sequences explore the inner-workings of the human brain. Quirky animations introduce us to the smallest form of consciousness in the body – the cell. Fourteen top scientists and mystics are interviewed in documentary style during the film (extracted from the official website)

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Where to Invade Next? (2015, Michael Moore) IMDB rating 7.4

where to invade nextAlways with his awesome way to address critical issues, Michael Moore visits various countries to see how (mostly) Europeans view work, education, health care, sex, equality, and other issues. From cafeteria food to sex ed, Moore looks at the benefits of schooling in France, Finland and Slovenia. In Italy, he marvels at how workers enjoy reasonable hours and generous vacation time. In Portugal, Moore notes the effects of the decriminalization of drugs. In Norway he shows how murder convicted people rehab to be part of society again in a system where wardens do not carry guns. In Iceland he shows how the US helped incarcerate the bankers during the 2008 meltdown... even if we actually bailed all of them out in the US. Through his travels, we discover just how different America is from the rest of the world. Even if I some of these wonders would be hard to apply to a country of over 330 million people... he highlights that many of these wonders were originally actually american ideas!

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Who killed the electric car? (2006, Chris Paine) IMDB rating 7.8

thumb_who killedA documentary that investigates the birth and death of the electric car (EV), as well as the role of renewable energy and sustainable living in the future. In 1996, electric cars began to appear on roads all over California. They were quiet and fast, produced no exhaust and ran without gasoline. However, companies never really advertised these cars, and ten years later all companies "decided" these cars should be destroyed. The film reveals what the car companies did to kill the reality of the EV, and the efforts of supporters to save them. Also, oil companies stood to lose enormous profits if EV sales took off and they colluded with others to kill the electric car (extracted from IMDB)

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Why We Fight  (2005, Eugene Jarecki) IMDB rating 8.1

thumb_why we fightWhy We Fight describes the rise and maintenance of the United States military-industrial complex and its fifty-year involvement with the wars led by the United States to date, especially its 2003 Invasion of Iraq. The documentary asserts that in every decade since World War II, the American public was told a lie, so that the Government (incumbent Administration) could take them to war and fuel the military-industrial economy maintaining American political dominance in the world (read full synopsis at Wikipedia)

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World in the Balance: the population paradox (2004, NOVA)

thumb_world in the balanceThis video covers some interesting points about demography in different areas of the world and natality problems related to the increase in welfare and opportunities in some countries (as Japan and Europe), and the mortality problems related to the lack of resources in some others (typically those in Africa and also parts of India). However, the video dos not address the possible consequences of all these situations as related to pollution and the environment, and does not mention how these problems are connected with the incredible increase in the human population worldwide, what I believe has passed a long time ago the carrying capacity of the planet

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Zeitgeist: The Movie (2007, Peter Joseph) IMDB rating 8.5

Watch Online! The first movie goes through the gamut of the history of religion, the idea of 9/11 being a false flag operation, the history of the privatization of the US banking system via the Federal Reserve, img526/7139/mv5bnjg0mzm5nzcymf5bml5wa5.jpgone world Government, the North American Union and the New World Order. Written by Joe's Union Review

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Zeitgeist: Addendum (2008, Peter Joseph) IMDB rating 8.6
Watch Online! The second video talks about the monetary system and Corporations, it speaks of free trade and sweatshops, Wal-Mart and Bechtel, there's some talk about how profit rules over people and while the first movie left you with a sense of fear, this movie seeks answers to get our world on the right track. Written by Joe's Union Review

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Zeitgeist: Moving forward (2011, Peter Joseph) IMDB rating 8.6

Watch Online! A feature length documentary work which presents a case for a needed transition out of the current socioeconomic monetary paradigm which governs the entire world society. This subject matter will transcend the issues of cultural relativism and traditional ideology and move to relate the core, empirical "life ground" attributes of human and social survival, extrapolating those immutable natural laws into a new sustainable social paradigm called a "Resource-Based Economy". Written by ArchGunner

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