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Earth Day Is April 22: Films, Festivals To Celebrate, Protect and Inspire

Earth Day Is April 22: Films, Festivals To Celebrate, Protect and Inspire

As earthquakes, tsunamis and tornadoes remind us of our fragile planet, here’s a round-up of offerings to celebrate Earth Day on April 22.

On April 7 at NYC’s Tribeca Cinemas, environmental sustainability and conservation experts and organizations joined to celebrate the preview launch of the New York WILD Film Festival, which is set to launch in April 2012. Their mission? The festival “seeks to inspire appreciation for the planet and concern for its protection. Serves as a catalyst for action in critical environmental issues.”

Among the organizations represented were the National Geographic Society, Environmental Defense Fund, World Wildlife Fund, Open Space Institute, Inc., the Earth Institute’s Center for Environmental Research and Conservation, The Nature Conservancy, City Park Foundation, Wildlife Conservation Society, Planet Green, environmentalists Celine and Fabien Cousteau (grandchildren of Jacques Cousteau), and Dr. George Schaller, known as one of the “founding fathers of wildlife conservation.” The event was presented by founder and exec director Nancy Rosenthal and hosted by The Explorer’s Club’s president and adventurer/journalist/scientist, Richard Wiese. Rosenthal says of the enthusiastic group, “we look forward to working together and tapping into their vast educational resources to assist us in providing a framework for action.””

– Earth Day Network meanwhile highlights films and TV series worth a look (listed below). President Kathleen Rogers says: “We hope these excellent projects inspire discussions at the dinner table, in the classrooms and in City Hall and prove to be catalysts for both thought and action.” This year’s Earth Day focus is on policy and energy consumption and recent man made and natural disasters. We recommend Lucy Walker’s Oscar doc nominee Waste Land (pictured above), the most beautiful film about trash (and art, and people) you’ll ever see.

– Lee Fulkerson’s food and health documentary Forks Over Knives opens in NY and LA May 6. The film considers why, despite having the most advanced medical technology in the work, we are still sicker than everybody else? The film explains how plant based diets are better for both people and our planet. Check out the trailer and description below:

Forks Over Knives:

What has happened to us? Despite the most advanced medical technology in the world, we are sicker than ever by nearly every measure. Two out of every three of us are overweight. Cases of diabetes are exploding, especially amongst our younger population. About half of us are taking at least one prescription drug. Major medical operations have become routine, helping to drive health care costs to astronomical levels. Heart disease, cancer and stroke are the country’s three leading causes of death, even though billions are spent each year to “battle” these very conditions. Millions suffer from a host of other degenerative diseases.

Could it be there’s a single solution to all of these problems? A solution so comprehensive but so utterly straightforward, that it’s mind-boggling that more of us haven’t taken it seriously. Forks Over Knives examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the
degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present
menu of animal-based and processed foods.  The film features leading experts on health and tackles the issue of diet and disease in a way that will have people talking for years.

From Earth Day Network: The below list of currently, or soon-to-be, available films and documentaries are suitable for families, students, community leaders and executives alike:

 (Winner, Best Animated Feature – European Film Awards)
This breathtaking environmental adventure pits plucky, wild-haired young Mia against profit-hungry developers with the future of life on Earth in the balance. One night, Mia has a premonition and sets out on a journey through mountains and jungles to find her father who has been trapped in a disaster-plagued construction site on a remote tropical lake. In the middle of the lake stands the ancient Tree of Life, watched over by bumbling forest spirits called Migoo. It is the Migoo who have been sabotaging construction to protect this sacred site –  together with Mia they join in a fight to save the Tree and find Mia’s father. Created from an astonishing 500,000 hand-painted frames of animation, the second feature from French animator Jacques-Rémy Girard is a work of art, breathtaking to behold.  *To be released in theaters nationally on 4/22. **All theatrical proceeds from opening weekend support Earth Day Network’s Canopy Project.
 (Nominated for a 2011 Oscar® for Best Documentary Feature)
Waste Land follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home base in Brooklyn to his native Brazil and the world’s largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. *Now available on DVD.
Nearly 9,000 birds were found in the oily waters of the Gulf Coast in the wake of the 2010 BP oil spill. Saving Pelican 895  is the story of the 895th bird to be rescued and rehabilitated by a dedicated team of wildlife experts and every day people, many of whom travel the world responding to oil disasters. This tale of a single animal, and the compassionate people deployed to save him, shows how the process of saving one life restored a degree of humanity for the rest of us. Directed by Academy Award-nominated director, Irene Taylor Brodsky. *Premiering on HBO on 4/20 (check listings for re-air dates).

A moving story of endurance and commitment, Into The Cold delves into the depth of the human soul against the backdrop of the magnificent Great North. Environmental advocate, photographer, and adventurer, Sebastian Copeland, and his partner, Keith Heger, venture more than 400 miles on foot through sub-zero temperatures across the frozen Arctic ice cap with only courage and determination to see them through.  Their harrowing two-month journey to the North Pole overcomes staggering conditions to finally reach their destination.  In the history of exploration, few have ever successfully made this voyage – one of the toughest feats known to man. *Worldwide DVD Release for Earth Day:  April 19th, 2011; to order visit www.intothecold.org.
This one-hour special features host and explorer Sam Branson, son of Virgin Group founder, Sir Richard Branson. In what has been touted as one of the snowiest years in decades, this special takes Sam to the front lines of man’s struggle with the elements, in this case, snow – where we see Sam immersed in the ins-and-outs of avalanche control as well as getting a first hand experience of what it feels like to be buried alive in snow. *Premiering on Current TV on Earth Day: Friday, April 22 at 9:00 PM, ET/PT.
Director Chris Malloy’s journey follows Jeff Johnson to Patagonia as he retraces the epic 1968 journey of his heroes, Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins (founders of Patagonia and The North Face, respectively). Along the way he gets shipwrecked off Easter Island, surfs the longest wave of his life – and prepares for a rare ascent of Cerro Corcovado. Jeff’s life takes a turn when he meets Chouinard and Tompkins who, once driven purely by a love of climbing and surfing, now value above all the experience of raw nature – and have come to Patagonia to spend their fortunes to protect it. The accompanying soundtrack, available on Brushfire Records, contains original songs by Ugly Cassanova (Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse), James Mercer (The Shins) and Mason Jennings. *Documentary now available on digital and DVD.
About Earth Day Network
The first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. The passage of the landmark Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many other groundbreaking environmental laws soon followed. Growing out of the first Earth Day, the Earth Day Network (EDN) works with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

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