‘Green’ films series examines environmental issues

A reporter weathers the severe winds produced by an unusual burst of tornodoes in Los Angeles as astonished citizens look on in The Day After Tomorrow.
A reporter weathers the severe winds produced by an unusual burst of tornodoes in Los Angeles as astonished citizens look on in The Day After Tomorrow.

By Kaitlin MacRae

As Rider continues its efforts to go green, the Energy and Sustainability Steering Committee (ESSC) is sponsoring a Green Film Series to emphasize the importance of environmental awareness and the harmful impact we continue to have on our world.

Set to run from September until April 2010, the educational films are meant to establish recognition of environmental issues that influence our lives. Each film — a new one every month — addresses different topics: from the potentially catastrophic effects of global warming to America’s dependence on foreign oil sources. The series offers a staggering look at the country’s present and questionable future.

“The films vary in topic and all provide information about things humans do that affect the planet,” said Melissa Greenberg, sustainability coordination manager. “They are eye-opening and at times a bit scary. These are important topics that touch the lives of everyone on Earth.”

Greenberg added that, as college students, the Rider community has a responsibility to know its impact “on the world around us.”

“Rider is a place of higher learning, and these topics have an important place here,” she said. “The ESSC feels strong[ly] that our students should leave here with knowledge about environmental issues that will inevitably touch their lives.”
Each viewing will end with a moderator-led discussion of issues raised in the films.

The series includes the 2004 blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Dennis Quaid. Tornadoes, tidal waves and snow storms ravage the Western hemisphere as the climate rapidly changes. The film shows the destructive effects of global warming as the dawn of a new Ice Age threatens the planet and humanity.

Other films like Trashed take a look at America’s garbage business, which explores not only what Americans dispose of, but also the alarming amount of waste that accumulates each year and what that growing number means for the environment.
Flow discusses the depletion of the world’s water supply and Who Killed the Electric Car? tries to expose how trendy hybrid cars actually further America’s dependence on foreign oil.

King Corn is a documentary that follows two friends on a quest to discover where and how their food is made.

The End of Suburbia shows how the American Dream has changed since the end of World War II, and questions whether this way of life can be maintained as the nation’s fuel supply dwindles.

Everything’s Cool is a documentary showcasing the struggle between researchers and activists and the federal government to gain recognition of global warming, and the difficult process of getting people to listen.

Fuel, directed by Josh Tickell, showcases his 11-year worldwide trek to “find solutions to America’s addiction to oil.” It offers a look at ways to replace oil and create more environmentally friendly jobs in the process.

“Our hope is that the viewers feel a need to share their thoughts after seeing these films,” Greenberg said. “It’s a forum to share thoughts and maybe come up with ideas for change at Rider and beyond.”

All films will be shown on Tuesdays throughout the semester in the BLC Theater at 6 p.m. Students can meet the makers of Fuel on Oct. 21 in the BLC Theater.

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