Films can inspire us to do many things. They can make us laugh, cry, and sometimes they might even give us the urge to take action. Over the years, the film industry has come out with some inspiring pieces of cinema that encourage eco-friendliness. Here, we pick our all-time faves.
We’ll begin with one you might not be familiar with. Silent Running is an old sci-fi film based in a future where the only remaining plant life from Earth’s eco-system is contained in huge pods attached to spacecraft. When it’s announced that these pods are to be destroyed, only one man is distraught at the news; botanist Freeman Lowell. In fact he’s so upset, that he kills his fellow colleagues and steals the portable forest, taking it deep into space, where he becomes a tree-hugging fugitive. Of course, we don’t recommend you kill anyone for the sake of a tree. Still, it’s poignant stuff.
The BAFTA-winning comedy-drama Local Hero is an archetypal tale of big, faceless industry versus the ‘little people’. Hotshot “Mac” MacIntyre (Peter Riegert) is sent to buy out an entire Scottish village, so that a new oil refinery can be built there. As Riegert spends more and more time in the village, he begins to fall in love with the slow pace of life, whereas most of the villagers are ironically happy to sell up and take the spoils. It’s a beautiful little film sprinkled with clever twists and turns. Without giving too much away, we rather like the ending too.
There is a whole host of wonderful eco documentaries we had to pick from (other gems include The Polar Explorer, GasLand and The Cove). But Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth is quite spectacular in its beautiful mix of facts, anecdotes, stunning shots of the planet, and evens clips from popular culture (including one from Futurama). Somehow, Gore manages to get his grand message across without being boring or patronizing. Since its release, the film has been included in school science curricula, and gained widespread praise for inspiring a new generation of eco-friendly thinking.
If you’re ever having trouble teaching your kids about being eco-friendly, simply pop WALL·E into the DVD player, and the job’s as good as done! This touching Disney·Pixar animation is set in 2085, when the planet Earth is coated in rubbish, and has been abandoned by humankind. When the eponymous hero discovers a sapling amidst Earth’s detritus, he ends up on a journey into outer-space, where a (now obese) race of humans must come to terms with what they’ve done. This film never fails to induce a few tears.
There are few movies that match Avatar for its visuals, and fewer that match it for its pro-peace and environment message. In 2154, the densely-forested moon of Pandora becomes the victim of a mission to find and harvest a mineral called ‘unobtanium’. When the unobtanium hotspot is located, Pandora is brutally attacked, and thus begins an almighty battle between nature and machines. Two more instalments of Avatar are on the way. Hooray!