A Fierce Green Fire

A FIERCE GREEN FIRE: The Battle for a Living Planet is the first big-picture exploration of the environmental movement – grassroots and global activism spanning fifty years from conservation to climate change. Directed and written by Mark Kitchell, Academy Award-nominated director of Berkeley in the Sixties, and narrated by Robert Redford, Ashley Judd, Van Jones, Isabel Allende and Meryl Streep, the film premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2012, has won acclaim at festivals around the world, and in 2013 begins theatrical release as well as educational distribution and use by environmental groups and grassroots activists.

Inspired by the book of the same name by Philip Shabecoff and informed by advisors like Edward O. Wilson, A FIERCE GREEN FIRE chronicles the largest movement of the 20th century and one of the keys to the 21st. It brings together all the major parts of environmentalism and connects them. It focuses on activism, people fighting to save their homes, their lives, the future – and succeeding against all odds.

The film unfolds in five acts, each with a central story and character:

  1. David Brower and the Sierra Club’s battle to halt dams in the Grand Canyon
  2. Lois Gibbs and Love Canal residents’ struggle against 20,000 tons of toxic chemicals
  3. Paul Watson and Greenpeace’s campaigns to save whales and baby harp seals
  4. Chico Mendes and Brazilian rubbertappers’ fight to save the Amazon rainforest
  5. Bill McKibben and the 25-year effort to address the impossible issue – climate change

Surrounding these main stories are strands like environmental justice, going back to the land, and movements of the global south such as Chipko in India and Wangari Maathai in Kenya. Vivid archival film brings it all back and insightful interviews shed light on the events and what they mean. The film offers a deeper view of environmentalism as civilizational change, bringing our industrial society into sustainable balance with nature.

Featured in the film are:

  • the incomparable Lois Gibbs, still fighting for all the Loises
  • Paul "I work for whales" Watson
  • Bill McKibben, author, activist and founder of 350.org
  • leaders like David Brower, Chico Mendes and Wangari Matthai captured on archival film
  • Paul Hawken, Stewart Brand and other alternative ecology visionaries
  • Carl Pope and John Adams, longtime heads of the Sierra Club and NRDC
  • Martin Litton, at 92 still thundering about how you’ve got to have "hatred in your heart"
  • Bob Bullard, environmental justice advocate, who closes the film on a universal note, saying, "There’s no Hispanic air. There’s no African-American air. There’s air! And if you breathe air—and most people I know do breathe air—then I would consider you an environmentalist."

"A Fierce Green Fire" by Mark Kitchell

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