Archive | Friday Film Fest

Genetic Roulette {Friday Film Fest}

 

{The Greening Of Westford} Genetic Roulette Review

Have you heard the term GMO?  Most people have, but may not know exactly what they are.  The film Genetic Roulette, explains not only what a GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) is, but also gives some background and presents issues surrounding GMOs.  The film starts with the statement that since the mid 1990’s, Americans are sicker than Europeans.  Not the kind of statement you want to hear, but hear you must.

As the film progresses, what GMOs are and how they affect our bodies unfold.  The film makes links between GMO use and the many diseases that are on the rise.  It also sheds light on the unsettling, in my opinion, links between business and the government.

Most documentaries have interviews with experts.  This film is entirely “interview” format.  No voice overs explaining and making connections.  While I was impressed with the number of experts interviewed for this film and the amazing way it was edited to explain in a logical fashion, I did find the format difficult to follow at times.  There is a lot of information in this film!  Some of it I was familiar with so I could absorb most of it.  But for the truly “new to GMOs”, it might be too much information and be overwhelming.

This is what I liked best about the film.  Not only do they explain GMOs so you can decide for yourself whether you want to be eating them or not, but if you choose not, they also give resources for avoiding GMOs.

To watch the film for yourself, you can rent it for 7 days for $2.99 or purchase it for $14.99 here: Genetic Roulette – The Gamble of Our Lives.

 

Have You Seen Genetic Roulette?  What Did You Think?

 

Full disclosure: There are a few affiliate links in this post. Any products ordered through the links will put a few cents in my pocket and help support this blog. Thank you!

 

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Plastic Planet {Friday Film Fest}

Plastic Planet film review

Plastic Planet’s director and producer Werner Boote shows us his journey across the globe to discover answers to his plastics questions.  As a young boy, he was introduced to plastics earlier than most.  His grandfather was one of the early manufacturers of plastic in Germany.  Werner now wonders what exactly is in plastic and is it harmful.  These are questions he poses to many world experts and lay people around the world.

What is in plastic?  No one knows.  It’s proprietary.  I didn’t know that. Even the manufacturer of a beverage cannot know exactly what the bottle of their beverage contains.

In an eye-opening exercise, he asks several people to empty their houses of everything that contains plastic.  Although the amounts vary, every person is surprised at the amount of plastic in their homes.  Even the hut in India contains plastic.

Werner interviews several people from Europe.  It was interesting for me to see that Europe deals with the plastic problem just as America does.   It was very interesting and disturbing at the same time to see mostly non-US citizens, companies and the like talk about  (or deny as the case may be) the problems with plastics.  I am so used to seeing US companies driving the “you don’t need to know, it’s OK trust us” train.  I am not sure if I feel better or worse knowing it’s happening in Europe too.

Honestly, I found Bag It more interesting and relate-able.  And, I dislike admitting this, but the subtitles and heavy accents of some of the interviewees made it a little difficult for me to follow the film in certain spots.  I had to concentrate on understanding the words that I might have missed the meaning.  I sound like an entitled American.  Certainly not what I mean, but that is how I felt.

Have you seen Plastic Planet?

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Fresh {Friday Film Fest}

Fresh film review
Joel Salatin, Polyface Farms
credit: Polyface Farms

The movie Fresh, produced in 2009 by Ana Sofia Joannes, focuses on the troubles with conventional farming. By discussing what people around the country are doing to combat the negative effects of big agriculture, the film does a great job of explaining the problems and giving solutions. 

The film shows Virginia farmer Joel Salatin who raises cattle, pigs and chickens using natural methods – mimicking nature and therefore not needing antibiotics for disease or having other issues coming about when too many of one thing are in the same place.  One of the main points for me was that nature has this sustainability thing figured out already.  We humans are messing with it and we aren’t seeing that connection.  By confining one species to one small location (as what happens in conventional meat production) we introduce many diseases and problems not seen in nature.  Now you have to combat those issues (giving antibiotics to keep livestock healthy) which introduces other issues.  The cycle goes on and on.

I have heard these figures before but they really sunk in this time.  70% of the corn produced goes to feed cattle, which by the way are not designed to eat corn.  They are herbivores and should be eating grass.  70%!!  Think of all the people that could be fed with that amount of land.

The other point I found most interesting and contrary to what is normally heard is the profitability of Joel Salatin’s farms.  He stated that his farm can yield $3000 per acre while his conventional farming neighbors makes closer to $165 per acre.

The film balances these points by interviewing other farmers who feel like they have been forced into growing corn or soybeans to survive.  It opened my eyes to the struggles the small farmer faces.

The more I learn, the more I think vegetarians and vegans are on to something.  Meat eating seems to be the root of so many problems – health, environmental, even financial to some extent.  

Have you seen Fresh?  What did you think?

Please leave you comments or if you are a blogger feel free to link up a post.

If you’d like to join the Friday Film Fest, take a look at the complete list of films.
Up next week is Plastic Planet. 

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Forks Over Knives {Friday Film Fest}

Forks over knives review


Can a whole-food plant-based diet be the answer to your health problems?  Forks Over Knives makers think so.  This documentary chronicles several doctors in their discoveries that animal proteins are making people sick.  Specifically, they are instrumental in the progression of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.  The film also follows several individuals diagnosed with these diseases as they use their diets to rid their bodies of the ailments.

It’s no secret that diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer have been on the rise for decades.  This film asks why?  Very compelling evidence is given which suggests that the rise of animal protein consumption since the 1950’s is to blame.  Study after study shows this in the film as several doctors discuss their findings.  The two most notable doctors are Dr T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.

Dr Campbell’s research in China led to 1000’s of correlations that eating animal proteins can increase the risk of certain cancers.  He believes that only a low percentage of cancers are caused by genes alone.  One of the more shocking pieces of evidence for me was the graph of “Mortality from Coronary Artery Disease”.  In the early 1900’s, coronary artery disease accounted for very few deaths.  As meat consumption rose, so did the deaths.  Drastically, in 1945, when meat was scare because of the war, the deaths plummeted!  After the war, guess what, they began to rise again.  Another shocker for me was the before an after pictures of an artery, the only change being diet.

The results experienced by the individuals who change their diet are amazing.  One woman reverses her diabetes.  Another man is no longer taking any medication for his cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes.  I also loved seeing that the Mixed Martial Arts fighter and firefighter were vegan and strong as anyone!

Overall, I thought the movie was informative.  At times it was repetitive.  They came to the same conclusions over and over again.  Personally, I think some of the evidence could have been exchanged for more detailed information on the whole food plant based diet.   I had a difficult time figuring out what I would be eating.  I know, no animal proteins, I get that.  But now what do I eat – almond milk with my cereal, salads with beans, ….. I am an “examples” person.  Give me a sample days menu and I can get it and go from there.  I know many people out there eat a more vegetable based diet.  I have tried, but find it difficult to find meals that my whole family enjoys. 

The ForksOverKnives.com website to my rescue!  The website offers several books, recipes and a blog as resources for changing your diet.

As far as showing it to your children – I think they will be bored. There are a few references to sex and operation room scenes that may be of concern.  As with any of these films, watch it first and decide for your children.

Of course, if decreasing your morbidity isn’t enough for you, the film also speaks of how raising animals for human consumption is wreaking havoc on the planet.  According to the United Nations, the meat producing industry  generates more greenhouse gas emissions  than transportation.

Popeye always said “Eat Your Spinach”, right?

What did you think?

Please leave you comments or if you are a blogger feel free to link up a post.

If you’d like to join the Friday Film Fest, take a look at the complete list of films.
Up next week is Fresh.

This post is shared on Your Green Resource.

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Bag It {Friday Film Fest}



Bag It film review

Bag It film review

The Movie Bag It is the first in the Friday Film Fest Series.  I hope you were able to watch it.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I watched Bag It at my computer, streaming it from Netflix.  The documentary style film features Jeb Berrier, who I personally found humorous and lovable!  Even though it is a documentary, it is very entertaining in an educational, eye-opening, jaw dropping way.

The film starts with Jeb trying to reduce his plastic grocery bag use.  He is prompted to look into plastics bags when a near by town challenges his town to see who can reduce their plastic bag use the most.   He goes on a journey delving deeper and deeper into plastics as he realizes they are everywhere!  Along the way, he interviews an amazing array of “plastics experts” – ordinary people turned activist, scientists, and politicians.

His journey leads him to noticed how much plastic there is in the world.  Every time there was a scene from a grocery store, I couldn’t help but noticed that EVERYTHING was wrapped in plastic. There is so much disposable packaging – water bottles, plastic bags, and individual packaging.


I come in contact with it A LOT of single-use disposable packaging.  This is a picture of the granola wrappers Upcycle It! collected in ONE WEEK, from one town with a little over 20,000 residents.  It’s difficult to say how many people contributed to this pile.  But think about it.  How many granola bar wrappers could you go through?  We used to buy them by the case!  I rationed them out and still we ( a family of five) would go through a box of 90 or so bars in a month.  I now make my own.

The film then goes on to question whether plastic is OK for humans.  He learns about the dangerous chemicals contained in plastics – BPA and phthlates.

My stomach turned as I watched the list of ailments and diseases BPA and phthlates have been linked to – allergies, autism, ADHD, diabetes, infertility.  Even in the short time since this film came out, autism has risen again from 1 in 250 (in the film) to 1 in 88 children!  I cringed as I watched that baby put the rubber ducky in her mouth as one of the scientists called it a “phthlate lollipop”.

During the film, Jeb’s partner becomes pregnant.  This “freaks” him out.  What will the plastics do to his child?  Many people are often jolted into action when they start having children.  I was!

When my children were young, I started on the green journey – reducing our waste, switching out single-use items for reusables, reducing plastic.  I even got my mother into the act.  She and I designed and sold reusable snack bags.  We stuck to selling at our local farmers market and craft fairs.  I have many of these and my kids happily used them for years.

But it finally happened.  My 10 year old rolled her eyes at using the reusable snack bag.  “Ugh, why can’t I use a plastic bag?”  She did use the reusable one in the end.  When I dropped her off at dance class, most other kids had a disposable water bottle and a plastic bag with their snack or a single size snack package.  When did plastic become so cool?  Why does my daughter WANT to use a plastic bag? Is it just because most other kids are doing it.  She wants to fit in?  OK, I get that.  I don’t have to like it but I remember being young.  I do!  So how do we make it cool to bring your water bottle and reusable bag.  Maybe over time it happens?  Reusable bottles seem to be more acceptable now.

Back to the film – I was, once again, saddened and angered by the realization that other countries are doing more to protect their citizens against corporate greed than the US.  the film shows a world map with the areas that have already banned plastic bags.  In the U.S., the American Chemistry Council (ACC) is hard at work throwing millions of dollars into campaigns against reducing plastic bag use, protecting the corporations they represent.  The ACC was able to get the California legislature to pass a law to prohibit the charging of fees for plastic bags!  This forced San Francisco to pursue an outright ban instead of a bag fee.  Guess what?  THEY WON!  Of course, this doesn’t happen everywhere.  Efforts were defeated in many other places – out spent by the corporations protecting their precious profits.

What confuses me the most is that these corporations are not faceless entities.  There are people behind the lobbying groups, corporations, their lawyers, etc.  People who, I’m sure, have children.  Does something happen when they walk through the door of their office?

Is this film suitable for children?  For the most part yes.  It might be a little long for them and the final scenes showing the birth of Jeb and Anne’s child might be a little much.  I tried to get my kids (ages 10, 8 and 8) to watch it.  They lasted about 20 minutes, thought is was boring and left the room.  They came back later and watched another 10 mins or so.  While they certainly didn’t get what I got out of it, I know they listened to some of it based on their comments and questions.  I think this is just how it goes with children.  We teach them over and over and over again, and, hopefully, eventually it sinks in.  I’ll try again when they are a bit older.

Not much of the information in this film was news to me.  I thought the way it was presented was excellent.  It might be a lot for the beginner to take in.  Any beginners out there feel this way?

Where do we go from here?

I was inspired by Jeb collecting signatures at the end of the film in support of a plastic bag fee.  Could we do that here in Westford?  Here are a few things I am going to do:

  1. I am participating in National Zero Waste Week 2012.  During the week of Sept 3, people committed to this challenge will try to reduce or recycle ‘One more thing’. This actually started in the UK but has hopped the pond.  Join in with me!
  2. My husband and I get coffee out every Sunday morning.  Up until now, we take the disposable cup from the shop.  Not anymore!
  3. I am going to figure out how to encourage more people to use reusable grocery bags. Just not sure how.  Any suggestions?
 
 
What did you think of the film?  
 
Please leave you comments or if you are a blogger feel free to link up a post.

If you’d like to join the Friday Film Fest, take a look at the complete list of films.
Up next week is Forks Over Knives.

 

This post is shared at Your Green ResourceMonday ManiaTiny Tip Tuesday and Frugal Days Sustainable Ways.

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Friday Film Fest Series Announcement

 

There are so many environmental resources – blogs, books, magazines, and films.  I have spent lots of time reading blogs, books and magazines.  Haven’t seen many films though.  I have been hearing about so many “must see’s” lately that I decided to make a list and start checking them off.  So, here is the beginning of a new series on The Greening Of Westford – Friday Film Fest.

Each Friday, I will write my thoughts on one of these films.  If you have any to share, please do!  I have also created a  pinterest board – Films to See – listing these films.  Most of these are recommendations from The Good Human.

  1. Bag It (August 10) – Suggested by a wonderful fan of The Greening Of Westford – Patty Neary.  It is also suggested by Beth Terry, author of the book Plastic Free: How I kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too and the blog My Plastic-free Life.  Fantastic book BTW.
  2. Forks Over Knives  (August 17) “Focusing on research by two food scientists, this documentary reveals that despite broad advances in medical technology, the popularity of animal-based and modern processed foods have led to epidemic rates of obesity, diabetes and other diseases.”
  3. Fresh (September 14)”This absorbing documentary surveys American farmers’ and researchers’ pioneering efforts to develop efficient systems for growing food. All of those profiled share a common goal of limiting pollution while creating healthier products.”
  4. Plastic PlanetThis documentary examines the ways in which plastic saturates our modern lives, and how our dependency on this petroleum product harms ourselves and our planet. See how plastic’s toxic chemicals enter the food chain and other disturbing secrets.”
  5. Food, IncDrawing on Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, director Robert Kenner’s provocative, Oscar-nominated documentary explores the food industry’s detrimental effects on our health and environment.”
  6. The Story Of Stuff  “From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, 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.”
  7. The Future Of Food “Before compiling your next grocery list, you might want to watch filmmaker Deborah Koons Garcia’s eye-opening documentary, which sheds light on a shadowy relationship between agriculture, big business and government. By examining the effects of biotechnology on the nation’s smallest farmers, the film reveals the unappetizing truth about genetically modified foods: You could unknowingly be serving them for dinner.”
  8. Dirt: the Movie “Dirt takes center stage in this entertaining yet poignant documentary from Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow, which unearths our cosmic connection to soil and explores how diverse groups of people are uniting to save the natural resource. Drawing inspiration from William Bryant Logan’s book Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, the filmmakers combine lively animations with personal accounts from farmers, scientists, activists and more.”
  9. King Corn “In Aaron Woolf’s thought-provoking documentary, friends Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis move back to America’s Corn Belt to plant an acre of the nation’s most-grown and most-subsidized grain and follow their crop into the U.S. food supply.”
  10. The Story of Bottled Water “The Story of Bottled Water, released on March 22, 2010 (World Water Day) employs the Story of Stuff style to tell the story of manufactured demand—how you get Americans to buy more than half a billion bottles of water every week when it already flows from the tap. Over five minutes, the film explores the bottled water industrys attacks on tap water and its use of seductive, environmental-themed advertising to cover up the mountains of plastic waste it produces.”
  11. No Impact Man: The Documentary “In this engaging documentary, a Fifth Avenue family goes green when writer Colin Beavan leads his wife, Michelle Conlin, and their baby daughter on a yearlong crusade to generate no trash and otherwise make no net impact on the environment.
  12. GasHole “An unsettling wake-up call to all Americans, this documentary dissects the country’s dependence on foreign pipelines, exposes rich oil companies’ devious dealings, and explores alternative fuels as a viable solution to our global energy crisis. Narrated by actor Peter Gallagher, the film includes interviews with government officials, scientific experts, academics and politicians from both sides of the aisle.”
  13. Tapped “The high cost — to both the environment and our health — of bottled water is the subject of this documentary that enlists activists, environmentalists, community leaders and others to expose the dark side of the bottled water industry. Americans may rethink their obsession with bottled H20 when they learn of the unregulated industry’s willingness to ignore environmental and health concerns, and the problems that arise as a result.”
  14. A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash “In this straight-from-the-headlines documentary, award-winning filmmakers Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack examine the world’s dependency on oil and the impending chaos that’s sure to follow when the resource finally runs dry.”
  15. The Story Of Change “Can shopping save the world? The Story of Change urges viewers to put down their credit cards and start exercising their citizen muscles to build a more sustainable, just and fulfilling world.”
Care to join me?  Most of these movies can be found on Netflix.  I’ll be streaming these to my TV or computer.  All of “The Story of…” films can be found on The Story Of Stuff Project under the Movies tab.  
 
To make things easy, I’ll go in this order.  So we’ll start with Bag It on Friday August 10.

The descriptions of the films in quotes are taken from Netflix or the films website.

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