A Fierce Green Fire (2012)
An Environmental Awaking
Covering the history and evolution of the environmental movement is the USA, A Fierce Green Fire is an emotional and enlightening documentary. To help the audience better understand the journey, they break down the story into 5 “Acts,” each narrated by a different celebrity. They provide footage and firsthand accounts as they interview some of the change-makers who describe their struggle to protect the earth. It does an excellent job of tying together some of the various issues and major milestones so that the audience can see that this is all part of a single narrative that culminates into the present fight against climate change.
Holding On To Nature
The documentary tells the story of the environmental movement through the progression of the following milestones, 1. Conservation, 2. Pollution, 3. Alternatives, 4. Going Global, and 5. Climate Change. In taking this approach, the viewer is made aware that the current fight is not new, and that there have been considerable victories over the years as a result of activism and citizen engagement. As the doc points out, industrial growth and environmental degradation in the name of economic “progress” (see Surviving Progress) were the new norm at the turn of the 20th Century. However, there were also those who resisted and encouraged the protection and conservation of the country’s natural beauty (Act 1).
From there we witness the increasing rise of pollution, and the subsequent impact on people and nature. The chemicals and toxins released into the air, water, and soil hurt the environment, but also galvanized those who would become hurt by it (Act 2). The modern environmental movement did in fact grow out of the reaction to this harm, as the many poisons created by industry were dispersed and ingested. The anger and awareness then transformed into a search for, and interest in alternatives (Act 3). The viewer will also witness that these same concerns and reactions were being felt and reacted to all over the world (Act 4).
Finally, the wrap-up comes in the form of facing the increasing danger posed by the rapidly accelerating changes to our planet’s climate (Act 5). We see evidence of the crisis, but we also see the inertial forces of “business as usual.” The story is the same. Mankind’s hubris allows for the conviction that we can control nature (to the benefit of the few) and use it as a supplier of resources as well as a rubbish bin. The practice is clearly unsustainable, and the film reminds us that it is time to take action (see Unraveling the Narrative).
The Environmental Movement Persists
Despite some of the bleak examples portrayed in the documentary, it is a film of hope and encouragement. It reminds the viewer that this fight has been going on for a long time, and by people all over the world. Those who care deeply about environmental issues can take solace in this commonality and inspiration from past successes. Although our current problems are tragic and frustrating, these concerns have also driven people to band together to fight and act on behalf of the environment.