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

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 screened 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."



This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Coronavirus

    Why Asian Countries Have Succeeded in Flattening the Curve

    To help flatten the curve in the Covid-19 outbreak, officials at all levels of government are asking people to stay home. Here's what’s worked, and what hasn't.

  2. Equity

    The Problem With a Coronavirus Rent Strike

    Because of coronavirus, millions of tenants won’t be able to write rent checks. But calls for a rent holiday often ignore the longer-term economic effects.

  3. Equity

    We'll Need To Reopen Our Cities. But Not Without Making Changes First.

    We must prepare for a protracted battle with coronavirus. But there are changes we can make now to prepare locked-down cities for what’s next.

  4. photo: a For Rent sign in a window in San Francisco.
    Coronavirus

    Do Landlords Deserve a Coronavirus Bailout, Too?

    Some renters and homeowners are getting financial assistance during the economic disruption from the coronavirus pandemic. What about landlords?

  5. photo: A waterfront park in Macau.
    Coronavirus

    Longing for the Great Outdoors? Think Smaller.

    Access to parks, nature, and wildlife is critical for physical and emotional well-being. Now some city dwellers sheltered at home must find it in new ways.  

×