Veteran doc maker Robert Stone (Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst, Oswalds Ghost) assembles nine talking, graying heads to reminisce about the origins of the environmental movement in the U.S., which kicked off in earnest in 1962 with the publication of Rachel Carsons Silent Spring and blossomed with the first Earth Day in 1970. Stones nonetwhich includes former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, Whole Earth Catalog creator Stewart Brand, and hippie astronaut Rusty Schweickartengagingly recount the sober realizations of the 60s (back-to-the-landers who tried to live in an egalitarian way quickly got over it, Brand chuckles) and acknowledge that green power was diluted when it became Washington-centric in the 70s and 80s. Theres great archival footage (those anti-pollution PSAs with Iron Eyes Cody from the 70s remain quite powerful), including a snippet from Face the Nation during which former Village Voice columnist James Ridgeway asks whether environmentalism is deflecting attention away from far more polarizing, pressing issues like Vietnam, civil rights, and womens liberation. The question is never answered, but remains just as salient in our postInconvenient Truth era, when many consider carrying an Im NOT a Plastic Bag tote or sipping from a Klean Kanteen bottle a political act.
Sept. 11-17, 2009