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The Traveling Video Roadshow

SF Environment now has an excellent selection of videos available for middle and high school students that tackle today's complex environmental challenges such as environmental justice, over-consumption, and climate change. The collection addresses local, national, and global issues, and includes a variety of viewpoints and perspectives. These are wonderful films to start a dialogue about environmental issues in your classroom. Many of the videos come with their own study guides. We can make recommendations according to your lesson. Please call (415) 355-3712 for a complete list of available films. A fully refundable deposit check of $25 is required. Please send deposit checks to Attn: School Education, 11 Grove St. San Francisco, CA 94102

Bay Area  |  Climate  |  Environmental Justice  |  Energy  |  Food Security  |  Forests  |  Gardening & Composting  |  Sustainable Growth  |  Toxics  |  Waste Prevention  |  Water Pollution  |  Youth Activism

Bay Area

Title: Secrets of the Bay
Producer: Judy Irving and Chris Beaver
Running Time: 28 minutes
Grade: all ages

Summary: This glowing film reveals the magnificent wildlife hidden among the six million human inhabitants of the San Francisco Bay Area. The film shows the fragility of the Bay environment in the face of urbanization, and urges that this unique national treasure be protected and preserved for future generations.

Narrated by TV personality, Jan Yanehiro.

Title: Falling Giants
Producer: Bill Reifenberger
Running Time: 14 minutes
Grade: 9-adult

Summary: Located on the north coast of California, the 60,000 acre Headwaters Forest is the largest unprotected ancient redwood forest on Earth. Featuring interviews with key players and the work of nature photographer Doug Thron, Falling Giants examines the battle to preserve these 2,000 year-old trees from the sawmills of the Pacific Lumber Company.


Title: Treasures of the Greenbelt
Producer: Judy Irving and Chris Beaver
Running Time: 28 minutes

Summary: Within the 9 counties surrounding San Francisco Bay lie some of the most beautiful and productive land in the United States... nearly four million acres of parks and watersheds, farms and ranches, forest and vineyards-the "Greenbelt" of the San Francisco Bay Area. Narrated by Bay Area Backroads host Jerry Graham, with an Emmy-Award Winning music score by Gary Remal, Treasures of the Greenbelt spotlights a fascinating set of characters - from the unofficial Zen master of grapevine pruning to a true blue cowboy working his cattle one hour from downtown San Francisco... from the rare and endangered Mission Blue butterfly to the thundering antler-crashing tule elk of Point Reyes. Treasures of the Greenbelt's breathtaking cinema-tography highlights a stunning masterpiece of beauty, drama and insight - a film you will want to see again and again, to share with family and friends, a moving reminder of the extraordinary California countryside around San Francisco Bay.

Title: San Pablo Baylands
Producer: Save San Francisco Bay Association
Running Time: 18 minutes
Grade: 6-12

Summary: In the northern reaches of San Francisco Bay is a place of mesmerizing beauty and peacefulness… lush salt marshes, rain-filled wetlands, hay and dairy farms, and some of the finest vineyards in the world. These are the San Pablo Baylands, the last great expanse of marshes and farmland in the Bay Area, and the key to the future of the Bay Area.

Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Christopher Beaver and Judy Irving reveal the mystery of the Baylands- the timeless cycle of planting and harvest, and the ancient journey of ducks and shorebirds along the Pacific Flyway. The film documents the rejuvenation of thousands of acres of wetlands even as it exposes creeping urbanization that threatens to destroy the fragile wetland mosaic. It is a passionate plea to preserve this ecological and cultural gem.

Title: Wake-Up Call: Saving the Songbirds
Producer: Video Project
Running Time: 14 minutes
Grade: 6-12

Summary: This video celebrates the migratory birds and their beautiful complex songs. It also reveals why they are rapidly disappearing throughout the world. Through the candid voices of San Francisco Bay Area elementary and junior high school students, as well as renowned bird experts, it offers solutions for preserving bird populations by working in “your own backyard.”

WINNER Second Prize- Santa Cruz Environmental Film Festival, Endangered Species Catagory


Title: Artic Meltdown, Rising Seas: Threatened Land, Threatened Peoples
Producer: Greenpeace
Running Time: 32 minutes
Grade: 9-adult

Summary: According to the world's scientists, sea level rise is "arguably one of the world's most important potential impacts of global climate change." The Marshall Islands, with an average elevation of six feet above sea level, are among the most sensitive environments to long term climate change. Rising seas may force them to flee their islands. Half way around the world another culture in a vastly different environment is also confronting the life-altering realties of a warming world - the Arctic. Not only will part of these ice-bound lands be submerged, today, thawing glaciers, changing wildlife populations and thinning ice over once stable lands are rapidly destabilizing traditional ways of northern Native life. What are these people to do? This is a world problem.


Title: Lighten Up! A Religious Response to Global Warming
Producer: The Regeneration Project
Running Time: 20 minutes
Grade: 9-adult

Summary: This video seeks to engage a religious response by showing the devastating effects of global climate change. It offers simple lifestyle changes like walking, biking, and car pooling or using mass transit as a way to decrease the negative impact global warming is having on the Earth. The video also suggests replacing old refrigerators with more energy-efficient models, installing light sensors in rooms that are used infrequently, and substituting incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent ones--a practice that will eliminate 300 lbs. of carbon dioxide a year. Carbon dioxide pollution is one of the leading causes of global climate change. By making these lifestyle adjustments those in the religious community will reduce their excessive use of fossil fuels and energy while becoming better stewards of the Earth.

Title: Ozone: Cancer of the Sky
Producer: Television New Zealand Natural History Unit
Running Time: 40 minutes
Grade: 9-adult

Summary: The destruction of the Earth's ozone layer is one of the most critical environmental issues of our time. What is causing depletion of this fragile layer? How serious a threat does it pose to life on our planet? How do scientists know the extent of damage? What can be done to reverse this threat? Ozone-Cancer of the Sky presents the answers to these questions in plain language, using the latest scientific findings and excellent graphics. This engrossing video follows the world's leading scientists as they come together in the frozen continent of Antarctica to unravel the secrets of the ozone hole which forms over the continent every Spring, when almost half the Antarctic ozone disappears. The scientists clearly communicate their findings as well as their fears that ozone depletion may get worse before it gets better. The video provides an excellent, fact-based introduction to this important problem for a wide range of audiences, from classrooms to community groups.

Environmental Justice

Title: Matamoros: The Human Face of Globalization
Producer: Sierra Club
Running Time: 11 minutes
Grade: 9-adult

Summary: This video reveals the alarming environmental and human toll of NAFTA, the free trade agreement of the Americas, initiated by the U.S. government, on the border-town, Matamoros, Mexico. Through NAFTA, U.S. companies are encouraged to build factories in border-towns like Matamoros, escaping tough pollution control laws, labor standards, and taxes that pay for social and environmental needs. The people of Matamoros, attracted by the promise of employment, suffer low wages, inadequate housing, poor sanitation and disease revealing the true human face of Globalization.

Title: What's in Our Air?
Producer: Rainbow Film & Video Production
Running Time: 24 minutes
Grade: 9-adult

Summary: From Portland and Seattle to Contra Costa County in California, neighborhood groups are organizing to protect their children and themselves from toxics poisoning their air. If this is hard to believe in America, you must see this powerful program. From recognizing that the air around them is toxic to getting the scientific evidence in a homemade special air-sampling bucket, it is an inspiring, empowering, and definitive example of effective citizen action. We follow the organizing of public protests supported by scientific evidence which leads to shutting down the medical incinerator at the VA hospital in Seattle. Over 70 toxic compounds were found in the airshed of Northwest Portland. Everyone in that neighborhood was exposed to this air. Some of these chemicals are known to cause cancer, emphysema, asthma, headaches and other symptoms and no one knows about their cumulative effect. A list of the organizations and individuals who are featured in the video is included with the video. It is a real treat to see effective activists in action!

Gold Medal Winner - Huston International Film Festival


Title: Renewable Power: Earth's Clean Energy Destiny
Producer: William Hoagland and Geoffrey Holland
Running Time: 29 minutes
Grade: 9-adult

Summary: Renewable Power offers an exciting vision of a world transformed by clean energy. We see how solar and wind generated energy can be stored for later use by splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen. Cutting edge computer animation shows how fuel cells reverse the process, combining hydrogen and oxygen into electricity and water. The program also profiles a new generation of zero pollution cars and trucks run by the fuel cell. This offers an inspiring and reassuring window on the dawning age of solar and hydrogen energy.

Gold Apple Award - National Educational Media Network, CINE Golden Eagle Award

Title: Element One--Hydrogen: Key to the Sustainable Energy Revolution
Producer: William Hoagland, Geoffrey Holland, Michael Tobias
Running Time: 58 minutes
Grade: 10-adult

Summary: Element One introduces the viewer to the major advancements in the use of hydrogen as a non-polluting, practical, inexhaustible, and renewable energy source. This program delivers the most complete and up-to-date review of advanced hydrogen technology available today. It features a colloquium of world class energy experts who review the environmental, political, and economic consequences of our continued dependence on fossil fuels. They illustrate the clean and efficient ways of producing hydrogen renewably from the wind and the sun. We see that unlike fossil fuels, which are an increasingly scarce and expensive resource, renewable hydrogen will be available in virtually limitless quantities because it is produced from water.

The latest technologies for producing electrical energy from hydrogen fuel cells are demonstrated in Germany , Japan, Canada, and the United States. The cell, a thermochemical device with no moving parts, has been used in the space program for decades. Fuel cells are already being used to power buses, trucks, minivans, and even golf carts. In the coming years it will be used to generate megawatts of electricity, to heat homes, and to power cars, trains, and aircraft. In an exciting and convincing fashion, Element One suggests that we are on the threshold of what may be the last great energy revolution on Earth, a revolution that will see pollution-free, sustainably produced hydrogen displacing petroleum as the planets dominant fuel.

Chris Award, Columbus International Film and Video Festival

Title: Our Fragile Earth: Energy Efficiency and Renewables
Producer: Beth Pike and Stephen Hudnell, Education Satellite Network/Missouri Environmental Improvement and Energy Resources Authority
Running Time: 22 minutes
Grade: 9-12

Summary: This segment of the series begins with a brief history of energy usage, followed by a discussion of the limits of our reliance on fossil fuels. The majority of the program reviews the major sources of alternative and renewable energy: solar, wind power, geothermal, hydropower, and biomass. These examples are illustrated with footage of working models and interviews with energy experts, including Amory and Hunter Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, and Dr. Chris Rivard of the Solar Energy Research Institute. The program also emphasizes energy conservation and encourages students to consider what they can do in their own lives.

Title: Fat of the Land
Producer: Niki Cousino, Sarah Lewinson, Julie Konop, Florence Dore, and Gina Todus
Running Time: 56 minutes
Grade: 9-adult

Summary: Who would have taken a bet that anyone could drive a Chevy diesel van across the United States by used frying oil? Five enterprising young women did just that. Traveling 2, 300 miles, using vegetable oil fuel in their van, they proved that there is a renewable alternative to petroleum. Fat of the Land is a cross-country adventure inter-spersed with both serious and humorous interviews. Shots of the women lugging gallons of used grease out to their "Lard Car" from the rear of fast food restaurants and mixing it in special tubs is almost enough entertainment in itself. Can used grease from french fries power the cars of the future? See for yourself! Staff Favorite!

Title: Velocity: Exploring Sustainability Through Wind Power, Green Building, and Hydrogen
Producer: Michelle Voss
Running Time: 32 minutes

Summary: A powerful message of optimism, Velocity travels from the U.S. to Europe exploring clean energy production and the increasing advantages of wind power. Illustrating how sustainable economic development must include the protection of our fragile natural and human resources, this film shows us how wind energy has not only reduced the impact of pollution from burning fossil fuels, but has also created billions of dollars in economic development across the Northern Hemisphere. Also including segments on 100% Wind-Powered Beer at New Belgium Brewery, green building, hyper-efficient cars and a potential hydrogen economy, this film further examines how sustainability benefits us now, and how this benefit promises to grow exponentially in the future.

Title: Wind: Energy for the 90's and Beyond
Producer: Educational Communications, Nancy Pearlman and Jon Merritt
Running Time: 25 minutes

Summary: How can we harness the power of the wind to provide for our energy needs? We already are! In California, wind energy is now annually generating enough electricity to meet the needs of a city the size of San Francisco for a full year. Wind: Energy for the 90's and Beyond provides an in depth examination of this promising source of alternative energy. The program begins with a brief newsreel-style look at the history of harnessing the wind. The video then explains in simple terms how wind turbines generate electricity and provides a first-hand look at several wind "farms." Through a combination of graphics, animation, and interviews with leading experts, this program explores the potential for increased use of wind energy nationwide, as well as the remaining technical and political obstacles private companies and government agencies are working to overcome.

Title: Simple Things You Can Do to Save Energy At Home
Producer: Joy Cohen and Stu McGowan, The NoodleHead Network
Running Time: 15 minutes

Summary: Simple Things is a highly entertaining introduction for kids on energy conservation. The video follows 12 year-old Sarah as she takes viewers on an unusual tour through a home where light bulbs talk, an energy-sucking beast lives in the basement, and kids are blown away by hurricane-force drafts. Through these amusing occurrences, and the help of a wacky young game show host, Simple Things teaches valuable lessons about energy use and provides many practical conservation tips. Study guide included.

BRONZE AWARD-Birmingham International Educational Film Fest.
"The facts and information in the video are outstanding... a valuable educational tool."
- Carol Shearon, Education Officer Public Service Company of Colorado

"**** Four stars. Highly recommended. Who would have thought that saving energy could be fun? Light-hearted introduction to energy conservation aimed primarily at kids, but with enough facts and adult humor to keep many grown-ups entertained."
- Video Rating Guide for Libraries

Title: Kilowatt Ours
Producer: Jeff Barrie and The Video Project
Running Time: 35 minutes

Summary: Do you know where your electricity comes from? Kilowatt Ours traces the sources of electricity, as well as our patterns of consumption and how it connects to global warming, health problems, and the destruction of mountains and forests. This excellent video then explores how we can stop these problems. First, it looks at the various ways we can reduce how much electricity we consume, or become more efficient in our use. It then considers green or renewable, non-polluting sources of energy. Watch inspiring examples of large businesses, schools, homeowners, and individuals who have cut their electricity consumption (and bills) in half, or managed to live “off the grid” entirely.

Staff favorite!

Title: Power Shift: Energy and Sustainability
Producer: California State and Consumer Services Agency
Grade: Middle School-High School

Summary: This video explains how people from all around the world are connected to each other through their energy use. Alternative energy sources including solar, wind, geothermal and hydro-power are presented. Architect William McDonough talks about obeying nature's laws when designing buildings, as well as the "cradle to cradle" theory, which eliminates waste. Actress Cameron Diaz hosts and narrates this film. Statements from youth expose questions and concerns about energy consumption and the future for energy.

Food Security

Title: Food for Thought
Producer: Ed Schehl and Katherine Knight
Running Time: 29 minutes
Grade: 9-adult

Summary: Do you know that many of the foods on our supermarket shelves-including most of the corn and soy and canola products--are genetically engineered? Did you know that scientists are crossing species that would never breed in nature, such as tomatoes and fish, or toads and potatoes? How do you feel about eating genetically altered food that actually is a pesticide? None of these genetically engineered foods are tested or labeled by the government, yet many of us are unknowingly eating them every day. European countries are resisting what many people are branding as "Frankenfoods." Here in the U.S., the situation will only get worse until the American public demands the right to know which foods have been genetically altered.

Title: Genetic Time Bomb
Producer: John de Graaf and Vivia Boe for Oregon Public Broadcasting
Running Time: 50 minutes
Grade: 9-adult

Summary: The world's food supply may be seriously endangered by a dramatic decline in crop diversity. As high-yield hybrids have replaced traditional food crops worldwide, thousands of older plant species have gone extinct, increasing the long-term possibility of famine. Irreplaceable genetic material is being lost that may one day be needed to ward off the effects of devastating pests, diseases, or droughts.

Featuring leading scientists and activists, Genetic Time Bomb looks at the historic changes in agriculture that could lead to catastrophe, the importance of maintaining biodiversity, and profiles the growing worldwide network of "seed savers" who are cultivating thousands of rare and threatened species of vegetables and fruits. Also highlighted is the dramatic story of the first seed savers: pioneering Soviet botanists who starved to death during a World War II battle rather than eat the seeds they had stored for future generations. Genetic Time Bomb provides a valuable "wake-up" call, as well as a practical introduction to the importance of preserving biodiversity.

"The genetic diversity that is critical to the long-term survival of food crops is now at risk. It's one of the most critical environmental issues the world has ever faced." - Vice-President Al Gore (from the video)

"I was very moved and inspired by the production. It (reveals) a dangerous situation, a real but largely hidden crisis that continues to go unnoticed by the vast majority." - Timothy Vos, Eco-Ag Program, Evergreen State College

Title: The Global Banquet—Politics of Food
Producer: Maryknoll World Productions
Running Time: 2 parts, 25 minutes each
Grade: 10-adult

Summary: Where does our food come from? Who decides what foods are grown and sold? Learn about how our food is changing through free trade policies, globalization and the growing control of giant international food companies, CEO’s and shareholders. Not only does this shape what and how we eat, it also greatly affects small farmers in the US and in developing countries. Cheap labor, short-term profits and genetically modified organisms are prioritized above the environment, small family farms, and diverse harvests. An excellent film to start a discussion about politics, food and Staff Favorite!


Title: Forests for the Future
Producer: Alan Honick
Running Time: 3 Videos * Approx. 25 minutes each

Summary: In this comprehensive series, leading scientists and forestry specialists present a fascinating, hands-on look at the ecology and biology of old-growth forests, the impact of human activities on this ecology, and how ecology and economy might be balanced to preserve ancient forests for use by future generations.


Silver Apple, National Educational Media Festival
"FORESTS FOR THE FUTURE can help students of all ages understand forest ecology. Picks up where other curricula stops; shows the whole forest in its interconnections, rather than a series of single species and their habitat needs." -Beverly Isenson, Governor's Council on Environmental Education, Washington

"***Three stars. Recommended." -Video Librarian

In this segment, scientists look at the historic and ongoing impact of human activities on the ancient forest ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest. They show what happens to forest and surrounding ecology when large sections of old-growth forest are logged or clearcut, and how a replanted area, or "tree farm" differs biologically from an ancient forest ecosystem.

Is it possible to reconcile jobs and the environment? How can both the remaining ancient forests and the communities whose economies have depended upon logging be sustained? Video 3 examines a wide variety of promising methods for balancing human activities and the natural system, including selective logging, habitat restoration, and growing other products in old-growth forests.

"***** Five stars. Highly recommended." -Video Rating Guide for Libraries

"Editor's Choice. Highly recommended. Shocking yet mesmerizing." -Video Librarian


Title: The Man Who Planted Trees
Producer: Hubert Tison, Frédéric Back (animator), Jean Giono (original storyline)
Running Time: 30 minutes
Grades: 2-12

Summary: The Man Who Planted Trees tells the story of a solitary shepherd who patiently plants and nurtures a forest of thousands of trees, single-handedly transforming his arid surroundings into a thriving oasis. Undeterred by two World Wars, and without any thought of personal reward, the shepherd tirelessly sows his seeds and acorns with the greatest care. As if my magic, a landscape that seems condemned grows green again. The author, Jean Giono, created the story "to make people love the tree, or more precisely, to make them love planting trees", and to pay homage to the kind of unselfish individuality that leaves a positive mark on our planet.

“A masterpiece of animator’s art.” -LA Times


Title: Luna: The Stafford Giant Tree Sit-In
Producer: James Ricklin, Headwaters Action Video Collection
Running Time: 20 minutes
Grade: 9-adult

Summary: This film chronicles the amazing story of Julia Butterfly Hill's tree-sit in the giant redwood she affectionately named Luna.  It shows footage of her day-to-day life as well as Pacific Lumber's reaction to her civil disobedience.


Title: Our Vanishing Forests
Producer: Public Interest Video
Running Time: 58 minutes
Grades: 8-12

Summary: This film illustrates the positive and negative aspects of lumbering. It offers varying viewpoints and brings up some thought-provoking issues.

Title: Rainforests—Proving Their Worth
Producer: Interlock Media Association
Running Time: 30 minutes
Grades: 9-adult

Summary: A living rain forest is of greater economic value than one that has been cut down for timber or pastureland. International marketing of foods, cosmetics, and crafts derived from tropical forests may provide native inhabitants with the means to protect their vanishing lands.

This video chronicles this promising new movement to save the fast disappearing rain forests- and a threatened way of life by marketing renewable forest products.

Title: Wilderness: The Last Stand
Producer: Miranda Smith Productions
Running Time: 53 minutes
Grades: 9-adult

Summary: Wilderness: The Last Stand provides a powerful, investigative look at the status of America’s last remaining virgin forests. Most of America’s native forests were cut down long ago. The forest Service was created in 1905 to protect what remains of these great woodland ecosystems. Yet the vast majority of ancient trees left standing are legally unprotected from logging. As a result, up to two million acres of virgin wilderness on public lands are logged each year, providing taxpayer-subsidized lumber to timber companies.

This video examines the impact of Forest Service policies, vividly documenting the continuing harm caused by clear-cutting. Compelling and beautifully shot, the video presents a wide range of opinions through interviews with conservationists, loggers, Al Gore, the Chief of the Forest Service, and profiles of former agency employees who are organizing to change Forest Service logging policies. Narrated by Susan Sarandon.

Gardening and Composting


Title: Green Dreams
Producer: Alison Bowman and Nancy Kutcher
Running Time: 30 minutes

Summary: In some of San Francisco's most troubled neighborhoods urban gardening projects are doing more than beautifying blighted areas, they are planting hope by helping combat unemployment, drugs, and violence. Green Dreams documents how these gardening projects are offering real job skills and a sense of accomplishment to low-income youth, ex-convicts and people recovering from drugs. These projects are part of a growing movement to bring "at risk" city dwellers into the garden to get in touch with nature, clean up and beautify cities, and teach skills that can help them earn a living.

"Green Dreams” is an inspiring film that shows people making a tangible difference in the city. An excellent tool for any group working on gardening, environmental awareness, or finding solutions to urban decay."
– Sabrina Murlow, Director, Green City Project

The stories in Green Dreams uplift and embolden, and would be useful for environmental engineering or urban studies programs."
– Video Librarian May/June, 1996

"This is a delightful, informative production that provides ideas other communities could use. Recommended for academic, public, and special libraries."
– Library Journal March 1, 1997

Title: Growing Hope: The Homeless Garden Project
Producer: Ric Howard, Jered Lawson, Len Borruso & Lynne Cooper
Running Time: 27 minutes
Grade: 10-adult

Summary: Imagine a vacant lot transformed to a productive garden, yielding bouquets of flowers and baskets of fruit. Apply the same metaphor to homeless men and women, finding the rich soil of a cooperative project that gives them work, safety and community. You now have a sense of the elegantly simple concept of this project. Here is a model that includes employment and training, the fundraising benefits of organic produce marketing, and the healing of the human spirit. Solutions to many of the problems facing our communities may be in our own backyards! Narrated by Harrison Ford with music from Nancy Griffith, Neil Young, Tuck & Patti and others. Includes guide on how to duplicate this project in other towns. Study guide included.


Title: Home Composting for Busy People
Producer: Act Now Productions, 2001
Running Time: 17 minutes

Summary: Learn from real people about how to compost. They’ll show you in their own backyards everything from how to set up a bin and worm box to how to best use finished compost on your own plants. Along the way, they’ll tell you how to maintain the pile without having to spend too much of your precious time making this great natural fertilizer.

Not only is compost ideal for your plants, it helps reduce the waste that ends up in a landfill. If that’s not enough to get you excited about starting to compost, composting can save you money versus buying harsh chemical fertilizers that are bad for the environment. Great for school composting programs.

Title: Zeke the Sheik and the Ladder of Matter
Producer: Jay April, Synchromatic Studios
Running Time: 29 minutes
Grade: 8-12

Summary: Looking for an entertaining and inspirational introduction to composting? Refreshing, bizarre, comical, zany, earthy, and spirited - this is the real life story of a man who has built a 200 foot long, forty foot high pile of compost and Garden of Eden in a residential area of a suburb of Los Angeles. It is covered with beautiful plants and trees, squawking geese and inquisitive turkeys. Learn how community support reverses the Health Department's orders for its removal.

You will shake your head in disbelief and get many a laugh at this "prophetic metaphor for the survival of the planet." And you will always remember the unique triumph of the rhyme speaking Zeke the Sheik, creator of the Ladder of Matter. "The story of the pile is guaranteed to put a smile on everyone's profile."

Honored by being Selected for KQED'S "Living Room Festival" Celebration, Certificate of Merit, San Francisco International Film Festival

Title: It’s Gotten Rotten
Producer: Photosynthesis Productions and Cornell University
Running Time: 20 minutes
Grade: 9-adult

Summary: It’s Gotten Rotten focuses on the biology of the invertebrates and microorganisms that decompose organic matter, giving students a scientific understanding of composting.

Composting is a part of the Reduce-Reuse-Recycle-Rot model; it helps protect our environment and serves waste management needs; and while a seemingly simple process, it involves some fascinating interactions between biology, chemistry and physical processes. Compost is a rich topic for scientific investigation.

In this video, high school students design and use both indoor and outdoor composting systems, and scientifically investigate the process, making observations, recording data, and interpreting results. With simple measurements of temperature, weight and other observed changes, they chart the process. Using powerful microscopes students examine the tiny world of composting organisms. And finally, they use the finished compost to grow plants both in the classroom and in an urban community garden.

Title: Compost Truth or Consequences
Producer: Bullfrog Films and Cornell Waste Management Institute
Running Time: 16 minutes
Grade: 9-adult

Summary: Explore the science behind backyard composting and decomposition in a fun and entertaining way. Using a quiz show format to present common questions, this video teaches how to provide the right conditions for successful composting. Learn about creating the right chemical composition in your compost pile and the important role played by invertebrates and microorganisms.

Sustainable Growth

Title: Smart Growth
Producer: Greening America Productions
Running Time: 17 minutes
Grade: all ages

Summary: When you preserve community character, protect open space and the environment, strengthen the local economy, and use tax payers dollars efficiently, then you are accomplishing Smart Growth! If you see community open space being lost, local businesses failing, your air quality deteriorating, and your commute time doubling, these are symptoms resulting from land development patterns that are expensive, inefficient, and socially isolating. We are treated to the comments, analysis, and illustrations of nine urban analysts, planners, designers, developers, and city officials. They show us in seven communities across the U.S. the value of mixed land uses, walkable neighborhoods, compact design, resource efficiency, open space, investment in existing communities, and transportation choices.

Title: Greenplans
Producer: John de Graaf and Jack Hamann
Running Time: 56 minutes
Grade: all ages

Summary: Hosted by CNN's Jack Hamann, Greenplans presents a hopeful look at how two countries have moved beyond the usual environmental conflicts to develop widely supported national plans for sustainable development. Competing interests in the Netherlands and New Zealand were brought together to hammer out a comprehensive national environmental policy - or Green Plan - aimed at creating both a sustainable environment and economy within one generation's time. Greenplans travels to these two countries to profile how this new approach works, and also looks at efforts underway here in the U.S. and in other countries to adopt Green Plans. Among those featured is Huey Johnson, founder of the Resource Renewal Institute. Published by University of Nebraska Press, a 233-page book is also available, providing a more detailed look at the plans developed by Netherlands, New Zealand, and in several other countries.

"An inspirational film that forcefully reminds us of what can be accomplished if we are not afraid to think big." -Denis Hayes, Chair, EarthDay 1990 President, The Bullitt Foundation

"A useful tool for industry, government, and private citizens in stimulating policy discussion on innovative ways to improve our environment." -D.J. Smukowski, Environmental Affairs Manager, Boeing Commercial Airline Group



Title: Global Dumping Ground
Producer: Lowell Bergman
Running Time: 58 minutes
Grade: 10-adult

Summary: Few Americans realize that the hazardous waste we generate here is one of our country's leading exports to third world nations. Global Dumping Ground, a PBS Frontline special report, reveals how toxic exports have become big business -- and a serious health hazard to the citizens of foreign nations. Stricter regulations and higher disposal costs have made it more difficult to dispose of toxic waste in this country. Since no U.S. law prohibits exporting this deadly refuse, much of it is flowing at a lucrative profit to countries with few regulations.

Global Dumping Ground travels to dump sites in several countries, and follows the trail of the notorious Colbert brothers, who shipped falsely labeled barrels to over a hundred countries. This is a hard-hitting, investigative documentary which raises important environmental and regulatory concerns.

Hosted by Bill Moyers; Gold Apple - National Educational Film & Video Festival; CINE Golden Eagle Award

Recommended. A hard-hitting, eye-opening tale of environmental neglect and Third World exploitation. Very well-made and intensely disturbing."

Title: Living with Lead
Producer: Daniel Shaffer and Rosemary Walker
Running Time: 58 minutes
Grade: 9-adult

Summary: Despite efforts to reduce lead in our environment, lead poisoning remains the number one environmental hazard for America's children. About two million children suffer from lead's debilitating effects, which are largely caused by ingesting lead-based paint found in more than 50 million homes built before 1978. Living with Lead presents a comprehensive overview of this serious, yet preventable, health hazard, and in addition, it shows the steps that some individuals and communities are taking to reduce the danger.

The video is presented in two parts on one tape; each part may be shown separately. The first part of the program looks at why lead paint poses a significant hazard, profiles families whose children have been poisoned, and shows how they have taken positive action to reduce the lead hazard in their own homes and neighborhoods. The second part of the video portrays successful community-based lead abatement and prevention programs that are creating both a safer, healthier environment and new economic opportunities.

"LIVING WITH LEAD is a wake up call to our nation's policymakers, advocates and parents that this devastating and completely preventable tragedy must be solved once and for all ." -Don Ryan, Executive Director, Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning

Waste Prevention

Title: The Cost of Cool: Youth, Consumption, and the Environment
Producer: Sonny Fox, Population
Running Time: 27 minutes
Grade: 5-12

Summary: The Cost of Cool, hosted by Alexandra Paul, of Baywatch, shows teenagers grappling with what it takes to be "cool" and the environmental price we pay to have the latest, "coolest" stuff.

From the earliest age, children in the U.S. are bombarded with a constant stream of messages from all media that encourages them to consume every kind of resource and product. By the time they are teenagers, they are programmed for consumption by the media and influenced by their peers. But the environmental cost of the resulting consumption has a profound impact on the entire planet. The Cost of Cool looks at everyday items, from t-shirts to sneakers, and tracks the effect of their manufacture on the world's resources. Teenagers examine their learned buying patterns, recognizing that much of the stuff they acquire is not needed.

"A terrific wake-up call for young adults, this is highly recommended." -Video Librarian

"Cost of Cool is a call for teenagers (and all Americans) to STOP and look more deeply at the cosumer feeding frenzy that grips us all, even the most environmentally conscious. Its message is clear and timely... what each person does, or does not do, determines the future health of this planet." -Erik Mollenhauer Supervisor, EIRC Science and Social Studies Programs

- Staff Favorite


Title: For the Price of a Cup of Coffee (DVD)
Producer: Hypatia Porter
Grade: 6-12

Summary: This documentary explores the environmental impacts of using a paper cup. See the life cycle of a paper cup in less than 15 minutes and remember to take your reusable mug with you next time you’re out for a cup of coffee!

Title: Garbage into Gold
Producer: Beth Spike and Stephen Hudnell
Running Time: 25 minutes
Grade: 6-adult

Summary: Garbage into Gold profiles a new breed of environmental innovators, from students to scientists, who are taking recycling to a new level, creating new businesses and job opportunities that are both helping the environment and making money. Among these innovators are students in Springfield, MO, who organize recycling drives that earn $40,000 a year for their schools. Others featured include a barber who turns hair into "FertHairlizer"; a business that rescues usable items from the dump and sells them as "urban ore"; a soil company that turns commercial food and yard waste into rich compost; a company that turns old plastic bottles into new ones; and a store that sells a wide range of recycled consumer products, from shoes to swings. New recycling enterprises are also offering economic hope for our inner cities. Garbage into Gold will provide real inspiration to people of all ages interested in recycling projects or businesses. It is also a reminder that part of making recycling work means buying recycled products to "close the loop".

"Very nicely done....We have a school recycling program. This program validated their work!" -Carla Derrick, Media Specialist, Clark County Schools, MO

Title: The Merchants of Cool: A Report on the Creators & Marketers of Popular Culture for Teenagers
Producer: Barak Goodman and Rachel Dretzin
Running Time: 60 minutes
Grade: 6-adult

Summary: This eye-opening investigative report by FRONTLINE dives into the world of market researchers, or “Cool Hunters,” that search out and promote the latest teen trends.  This video describes corporate America’s focus on tapping into the teenage mind to both persuade and drive their consumer habits. Watch how teen niche trends are found, adapted into advertising campaigns, and eventually rendered obsolete through excessive marketing. The result: An American teenage culture that continuously consumes, discards, and re-consumes.

Title: Recycle More

Summary: We all know that recycling is good for the planet, but do we actually know about the real impact of the waste we create every day? Join football player Mike and cheerleader Elisa for a typical day at school. Learn what these high school students really think about recycling and see how students are making a real difference on their campus as well as at home.

Elisa and Mike will give you a first hand look behind the scenes as you follow them on a trip to their local landfill to see the effects or mass consumption and waste production. See exactly what happens to your recycled goods as you trace bottle from a school recycling bin through the step by step process that transforms it into plastic lumber, carpet, or even filler for a sleeping bag!

This video closely illustrates the process of recycling, and inspires viewers by showing real students learning about the 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

"A discussion starter and a call to action, Recycle More is both thorough and informative. We hear the honest and practical voices of teens who are making a big difference. This is peer to peer education at its finest. -Heather Abrams, Manager, Integrated Waste Services, City of El Cerrito, California


Title: Recycling and Conserving Natural Resources
Producer: Scott Resources
Grade: 5-12

Summary: Shows the complex series of steps needed to recycle raw materials, and then how they are converted into finished goods that may be recycled into new products.

Title: The Story of Stuff
Producer: Free Range Studios
Running Time: 20 minutes
Grade: 9-adult

Summary: The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. This excellent film exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues—most of them hidden from view—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!

- Staff Favorite


Title: Taking Back Our Trash - A Film About Waste
Producer: Alameda County Waste Management Authority
Running Time: 28 minutes
Grade: 7-adult

Summary: This film is specific to Alameda County, but presents some creative and effective solutions to the garbage problem. Includes great examples of over packaging, oil recycling and how to reduce waste in institutional settings.


Title: Taking Back Our Trash II: Putting Waste to Work
Producer: Alameda County Waste Management Authority
Running Time: 28 minutes
Grade: 7-adult

Summary: This film is specific to Alameda County, and reports on the progress we’ve made in diverting waste from landfills.


Title: Tina’s Journal
Producer: S.F Recycling Program
Running Time: 17 minutes
Grade: 5-12

Summary: An inspiring introduction for urban and suburban teenagers to waste reduction, resource conservation and recycling, offering a variety of practical ideas and tips for individual and group action. With humor and insight, Tina records what she learns in her personal journal and in a video she creates for her class. Her experiences motivate her to get involved with other students in practicing the three "R's" at her school, and to encourage her own family to take waste prevention and recycling seriously.

Title: Trashed
Running Time: 77 minutes
Grade: 9-12

Summary: Trashed investigates one of the fastest growing industries in the United States: the garbage business. The film examines a fundamental element of modern American culture – the disposal of what our society defines as “waste.” At times humorous, but deeply poignant, Trashed examines the American waste stream fast approaching a half billion tons annually. What are the effects of all this waste on already strained natural resources? Why is so much of it produced? While every American makes almost 5 pounds of it every day, who is affected most? And who wants America to make more? The film analyzes the causes and effects of “taking out the garbage” while showcasing individuals, activists, corporate and advocacy groups working to affect change and reform the current model.

www.trashedmovie.com contains environmental updates and other information related to Trashed.

Water Pollution


Title: Drinking Water: Quality on Tap
Producer: League of Women Voters
Running Time: 25 minutes
Grade: 9-adult

Summary: Drinking water is essential to our lives. Yet most of us tend to take our drinking water for granted. How do we get our water? And how do we keep it safe? Drinking Water: Quality on Tap presents an informative look at how the source of water, the supply, the treatment, and the delivery systems work together to provide quality drinking water. Mixing visuals with narration, each critical element of the chain is examined in detail. The video stresses the importance of citizen involvement to maintain a safe water supply. Included is a detailed 46 page study guide featuring a summary of the information in the video and Federal water laws, study questions, a glossary of terms, a resource list, and a list of organizations involved with water quality.

Narrated by Gary Sandy of TV's "WKRP"

"Recommended. Clear and well-organized...a valuable educational resource on an important subject that is too often taken for granted. Appropriate for a general classroom setting or for civic and community organizations." -Science Books and Films Review

"An easy to understand discussion of drinking water issues. Ideal for libraries, schools, community groups, environmental organizations, water utilities, and government agencies." -U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, News-Notes

Title: Thinking Like a Watershed
Producer: John Carlisle
Running Time: 27 minutes
Grade: 6-12

Summary: In the late 1970s, residents of a small town in Northern California discovered that the native salmon in their river were almost extinct. Rather than accepting this, they decided to take action.

After convincing the Department of Fish and Game to close the river to salmon fishing, they began restoring the river by planting hillsides, and removing old logging roads. Through trial and error, they learned to hatch thousands of salmon in homemade hatch-boxes. They created a musical comedy to call their neighbors to action. They discovered that a community working and playing together towards common goals is a more satisfying place to live. Now, sustainable timber harvesting is practiced, watershed education is taught in the schools, and the salmon are making a comeback.

This entertaining and educational documentary explains environmental restoration and shows how any group of citizens can improve the ecological health and quality of their community. See how this project has taught these people that "salmon don't just live in streams, they live in watersheds."

Title: We All Live Downstream
Producer: A.C. Warden and Karen Hirsch, Greenpeace USA
Running Time: 30 minutes
Grade: 9-adult

Summary: America's historic Mississippi River has become a 2,300 mile toxic waterway. We All Live Downstream follows the Mississippi from its headwaters through the Louisiana Delta, and provides footage of many industrial dumping sites along the way. We hear from community residents who live along the river and suffer health problems stemming from contaminated water. A good introduction to the principals of environmental justice and the importance of clean water, We All Live Downstream will stimulate thought and discussion in the classroom.

JUROR’S AWARD- New York Film Expo
- Staff Favorite

Youth Activism

Title: Connect: A New Ecological Paradigm
Producer: Magic Baby
Running Time: 23 minutes
Grade: 9-12

Summary: Chosen to air internationally as MTV's 1997 Earth Day Special, Connect carries one of the most important messages of our time: young people can make a difference in improving the world's environmental and social problems. Hosted by Michael Stipe of the band R.E.M., Connect is filled with moving imagery from around the world and was taped live at an international gathering of youth activists. These young leaders speak boldly about our power to make a difference for the earth. Connect features young leaders from twenty countries - leaders like Adam Werbach, 23 year old president of the Sierra Club and Melissa Poe who, at age 16, sends her environmental newletter to over 3 million people. Entertaining and informative, Connect weaves music, diverse imagery and statements by these young leaders into a compelling story of young people caring for the earth. They share their successes, concerns, knowledge, skills and inspiration for our common future. Connect is designed to empower young children towards greater environmental awareness and to be a source of solutions that everyone can adopt to help the planet.

Winner of the 1998 Worldfest Houston Gold Award in the category Ecology/Environment/Conservation "...visually stunning...inspiring...Environmental studies and social studies classes will find much to discuss here." -School Library Journal, March 1998

"...deeply inspiring...these remarkable young people offer practical solutions and hope for the future. Schools, libraries, churches, and service organizations such as Scouts and girls and boys clubs can definitely use this tape to help empower, excite, and activate their members." -NAPRA Review, Spring, 1998


Title: I Buy Different: Hip Hop Contest (music CD)
Producer: World Wildlife Fund & New American Dream
Running Time: 22 minutes
Grade: 5-12

Summary: Middle and high school students from Baltimore, MD, sing, rap, and slam about consumer choice and consumer power.

Title: Ryan's Well
Producer: Reel to Reel Productions
Running Time: 50 minutes

Summary: Ryan's Well is about a young boy's determination to make a difference in the world. His is a classic story of the power of one. Through perseverance and determination, Ryan Hreljak has raised over $70,000 to improve the lives of his pen pal Jimmy Akana, his family and his friends in Angola, Uganda by building a well.

Ryan has become a local activist speaking at schools and community events about water conservation, poverty and global understanding. In this moving and inspirational documentary we join Ryan on his Journey to Africa and his lifelong journey to help the people of Uganda.

Title: Artic Quest: Our Search for Truth
Producer: Jeff Barrie
Running Time: 56 minutes
Grade: 9-adult

Summary: At the Youth Environmental Summit 300 environmentally concerned high school students vote to support restriction of oil drilling in the Alaskan national wilderness. Five of them, three girls and two boys raise the money to go to by plane, boat, and camper to " search for the truth" and report back on this controversial issue. Accompanied by videographer, Jeff Barrie. they interview residents of large towns and small Indian villages, governmental employees, and environmentalists. We learn that "truth" varies greatly depending upon where you find it and that most of the local residents want development because it brings more money. One environmentalist states that if locals had had their way, none of the national parks like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Yellowstone would be national parks today.

Our visitors also see magnificent vistas and thousands of caribou and visit the Gwichen indians who are fighting to maintain their heritage and their culture. They explore the massive destruction of the land at Prudom Bay, center of the oil industry and then return home. We also visit Amory Lovins, this country's foremost energy consultant who points out that the 50 billion dollars now being spent annually to protect the oil in the Mid East could be used just once to retrofit and insulate our homes in the United States and we would not need to spend it again, and further that by building cars that get 60 miles per gallon, or are driven with renewable power, we would not need to seek more oil. Their "Search for Truth" results in some surprising outcomes.

Title: Get It Together
Producer: John L. Jackson, Jr. and Melissa Brockett
Running Time: 28 minutes
Grades: 7-adult

Summary: Get It Together is a positive, fast-paced look at the contributions young people of all races are making to transform their communities and protect their environment. Produced by youth for youth, the video begins by broadly defining “environment” to include urban blight as well as pollution.

Several organizations of young people are profiled: Detroit Summer, a group working to improve America’s inner cities; YouthBuild in New York, which builds low-income housing; and young Mexican-American women in California speaking out against pesticide pollution. Several other groups formed by kids are featured briefly. Young people tell how their involvement has helped them develop a sense of pride in themselves and their communities.

Designed to empower youth to make a difference, Get It Together also provides practical tips from activists on how to organize for local action.

BEST STUDENT DOCUMENTARY- North American Association of Environmental Educators

SILVER APPLE AWARD- National Educational Film & Video Festival

Title: Generation Earth
Producer: Jeff Barrie and Tyson Miller, Earth Endeavors
Running Time: 40 minutes
Grades: 9-adult

Summary: Generation Earth presents an inspiring look at a variety of hands-on student environmental education and action programs in America’s high schools. The video’s two college-age producers take viewers on a fast-paced journey as they search for successful programs in both rural and urban schools. The video finds students involved in a range of creative activities in their schools and communities, including environmental audits of their campuses and local businesses, monitoring water quality, gardening and composting, mentoring younger students, seeking environmental justice, and creating slideshows, documentaries and newspapers.

The descriptions for all videos in the Travelling Video Roadshow were provided by The Video Project, distributor for these videos.