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A Fierce Green Fire (Classroom Version)
The Battle for a Living Planet

The documentary of record on the environmental movement.

A printer-friendly version of this page 53 minutes
SDH Captioned>>

Directed by Mark Kitchell
Executive Producer: Marc Weiss
Editor: Ken Schneider, Veronica Selver, Jonathan Beckhardt
Cinematography: Vicente Franco
Narrated by: Robert Redford, Ashley Judd, Van Jones, Isabel Allende, Meryl Streep
Based on the book "A Fierce Green Fire" by Philip Shabecoff

"The most thorough, expansive, and inclusive documentary film on the rise of modern environmentalism." Paul Sutter, Associate Professor of History, University of Colorado
[Note: Community screenings of A FIERCE GREEN FIRE can be booked at Bullfrog Communities.]

[Note: The filmmaker of A FIERCE OF GREEN FIRE can attend your event, host a discussion, or give a keynote address. He can also participate by Skype. To inquire about inviting Mark Kitchell to take part in your screening, please contact mark [at] afiercegreenfire [dot] com.]

A FIERCE GREEN FIRE: The Battle For a Living Planet is the first big-picture exploration of the environmental movement - grassroots and global activism spanning fifty years from conservation to climate change. From halting dams in the Grand Canyon to battling 20,000 tons of toxic waste at Love Canal; from Greenpeace saving the whales to Chico Mendes and the rubbertappers saving the Amazon; from climate change to the promise of transforming our civilization... the film tells vivid stories about people fighting - and succeeding - against enormous odds.

The film is divided into five "acts".

Act 1 focuses on the conservation movement of the `60s, David Brower and the Sierra Club's battle to halt dams in the Grand Canyon. Narrated by Robert Redford.

Act 2 looks at the new environmental movement of the `70s with its emphasis on pollution, focusing on the battle led by Lois Gibbs over Love Canal. Narrated by Ashley Judd.

Act 3 is about alternative ecology strands and the main story is Greenpeace's campaign to save the whales. Narrated by Van Jones.

Act 4 explores global resource issues and crises of the `80s, focusing on the struggle to save the Amazon led by Chico Mendes and the rubber tappers. Narrated by Isabel Allende.

Act 5 concerns climate change. Narrated by Meryl Streep.

Grade Level: 7 - 12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2014     Copyright Date: 2014
DVD ISBN: 1-94154-502-5

"This visually stunning, comprehensive overview is sophisticated yet accessible. The complex roles that science, religion, gender, race, economics, and politics play in environmental attitudes and reforms are presented clearly and compellingly. Disturbing and inspiring, A Fierce Green Fire seeks to educate rather than preach. In the tradition of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, this documentary will create informed environmental awareness and foster activism."
Nancy Unger, Associate Professor of History, Santa Clara University, Author, Beyond Nature's Housekeepers: American Women in Environmental History

"A Fierce Green Fire is the most thorough, expansive, and inclusive documentary film on the rise of modern environmentalism that I have seen. More than that, though, it is a vivid and compelling visual tour of the postwar movement in all its great variety."
Paul Sutter, Associate Professor of History, Environmental Studies Core Faculty, University of Colorado at Boulder, Author, Driven Wild: How the Fight against Automobiles Launched the Modern Wilderness Movement

"A visually stunning survey of the history of the environmental movement, from its early battles to save American wilderness to the international campaign to save the health of human societies and the biosphere. Broad in scope and fast moving, A Fierce Green Fire introduces many of the leaders (both famous and little-known) who have shaped the struggle. This film is worthy of admiration, and has obviously been a major effort by the filmmakers. It will orient students quickly and powerfully, and inspire the next generation of activists."
Dr. Richard Tucker, Adjunct Professor of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan, Author, Insatiable Appetite: The United States and Ecological Degradation of the Tropical World

"Kudos to Bullfrog Films---they've done it again! Add A Fierce Green Fire to their list of excellent DVD's on topics so important to the social and environmental history of the United States and the rest of the world. Using hundreds of rare photos and video clips, and extremely useful interviews, A Fierce Green Fire delves deep into the development of the environmental movement from the 1960s to the present... Professors and teachers at many levels and for many different subjects will want to use this film for years."
Sterling Evans, Professor of History, University of Oklahoma, Author, Bound in Twine: The History and Ecology of the Henequen-Wheat Complex for Mexico and the American and Canadian Plains

"A Fierce Green Fire should be enthusiastically adopted as an educational tool for students and newcomers to the fields of environmental politics and modern social movements. Reflecting the most up-to date scholarship, it presents the modern environmental movement as crossing class, gender, racial, and international boundaries. Though born of impulses to protect endangered creatures and landscapes for their own sake, the movement has been fundamentally shaped by activists in the United States and around the world who insist that human welfare requires ecological welfare. Now presented with the challenge of climate change, we would do well to heed such well-chosen messages of universality and participation."
Sarah T. Phillips, Associate Professor of History, Boston University, Author, This Land, This Nation: Conservation, Rural America, and the New Deal

"We had close to 1500 students see parts of the film on Earth Day, and they really enjoyed it. My AP Environmental Science students found the film very interesting and thought provoking. It covered many of the topics that we cover in AP Environmental Science."
Dr. Robert Borowski, AP Environmental Science teacher, Patchogue Medford High School

"A clear and well-crafted overview of environmental activism...One important aspect of the film, especially for younger viewers, is that many of the stories show real people who became activists to fight serious threats to their health and livelihood...As an educational tool, it would be equally good for civics/history class or science class...An excellent documentary on melding science and politics to reach solutions to the environmental problems we face on our planet."
Martha Scholl, U.S. Geological Survey, Science Books and Films

"A very valuable documentary for anyone seeking a solid grounding in many of the landmark events in the environmental movement - leading up to the present controversies and debates surrounding global warming. Highly Recommended"
Andrew Jenks, California State University, Educational Media Reviews Online

"One subject addressed here that is seldom touched upon in similar docs is the idea of 'environmental racism' - the location of toxic dumps and incinerators in black and disenfranchised American communities. Highly recommended."
Video Librarian

"Perceptive...This dynamic production should be of interest to students and general audiences."
David R. Conn, Library Journal

"Ambitious_One comes away with a feeling of hope, as Kitchell leaves us with as optimistic tone about the future despite the damage we are doing to our environment across the globe."
Jennifer Schwab, Huffington Post

"The message that one takes away from the film is inspiration. One hopes these stories may stoke a fierce green fire in all of us."
Sacha Vignier, Science Magazine

"The material is vast, and it's an incredibly dynamic film. It's shaping up to be the documentary of record on the environmental movement. I think it'll be hugely successful."
Cara Mertes, Director, Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program

"Mark Kitchell winningly spans the broad scope of environmental history in this comprehensive doc, connecting its origins with the variety of issues still challenging society today."
Justin Lowe, Film Journal International

"[Earth] week seems like a perfect time to look at ways of increasing student knowledge and engagement in learning focused on our environment...[A Fierce Green Fire is] a powerful film...An excellent resource for teachers...It's presented as five acts, each of which could serve as the focus for a unit in a social studies or science class. In many ways the film is perfectly designed for classroom use."
Mark Phillips, Edutopia

"May be poised to become a classic...The documentary captures pivotal moments in the environmental movement, from awakening to dangers of dioxins to deniers of global warming."
Roberta Cruger, TreeHugger

"Mark Kitchell didn't want to make your standard here's-a-really-important-issue, be-the-change-you-want-to-see-in-the-world, bleeding-heart environmental documentary...What Kitchell ended up producing was a kind of greatest hits of the environmental movement from its early days fighting over the building of dams in the West, to Love Canal, the first Earth Day, and the birth of Greenpeace, to the mother of all environmental issues--and maybe all issues, period--climate change."
Joanna Foster, Grist

"An excellent documentary...Provides a sweeping history of the environmental movement...If you or your children want to learn how the environment became a central issue and the passion behind it, this is the film for you."
New Paradigm Digest

"A stunning, inspiring new documentary film...Highest recommendation."
Tom Turner, unEARTHED, The Earthjustice Blog

"Uplifting...Chronicles a medley of fascinating true stories of people fighting to preserve the planet upon which their children will live...A choice pick for high school homeroom viewing or DVD libraries."
The Midwest Book Review

"Mark Kitchell winningly spans the broad scope of environmental history in this comprehensive doc, connecting its origins with the variety of issues still challenging society today."
Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter

"Rarely do environmental-themed films come with the ambitious scope of A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Living Planet, which aims at nothing less than the history of environmentalism itself...By moving from the origins of environmentalism to its present, [the filmmaker] hopes to point audiences toward its future as well."
Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times

"The film left me emotionally drained and profoundly hopeful."
Bruce Barcott, OnEarth Magazine

"The portrayal of each movement is especially fascinating as Kitchell captures the process by which everyday people become agitators for their cause...The film is not simply about outcomes, but rather shows how individuals developed evolving strategies over time to fight back."
Bridgette Bates, Sundance Film Festival blog

"Ardently passionate and naturally provocative, the eco-chronicle A Fierce Green Fire has the informality of an Occupy encampment, the militancy of anti-whaler Paul Watson and a genuine sense of history."
Paul Anderson, Variety

"While it sounds like a tall order to encompass more than half a century of environmental activism history in one film, Kitchell somehow manages to do so in a way that feels comprehensive and vibrant enough to inspire new converts."
Basil Tsiokos, what (not) to doc blog

"Brilliant. Should be assigned viewing for all of us, especially those political leaders currently manning the helm of spaceship earth."
Jay Meehan, Park Record

"Sweeping and timely...The film makes a persuasive case that environmentalism is still very much alive, though muddled in the face of its most daunting challenge yet: giving voice to the global threat of climate change."
Judy Fahys, Salt Lake Tribune

Select your institution type

DVDs include public performance rights.

DVD Features
Extensive teaching guide on the DVD-ROM portion of the disc, plus SDH captions for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and scene selection.

The film's website

Awards and Festivals
Nationwide Broadcast on PBS' "American Masters"
Sundance Film Festival
Science Books & Films Best of 2013
Margaret Mead Film Festival
Most Engaging Award, Cinema Verde Environmental Film Festival
Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital
Sheffield Doc/Fest
Newport Beach Film Festival
DOXA Documentary Film Festival, Vancouver
Sheffield DocFest
Berkshire International Film Festival
Festival do Rio
Vermont International Film Festival
Kaohsiung Film Festival
American Conservation Film Festival
American Film Festivqal, Wroclaw, Poland
Nashville Film Festival
Philadelphia Science Film Festival
Human Rights International Film Festival, Mexico
Chesapeake Film Festival
Crossroads Festival for Documentary Film and Discourse, Austria
Transitions Film Festival, Australia
Princeton Environmental Film Festival

American Democracy
American Studies
Citizenship and Civics
Climate Change/Global Warming
Earth Science
Endangered Species
Environmental Ethics
Environmental Justice
Global Issues
Indigenous Peoples
International Studies
Natural Resources
Oceans and Coasts
Outdoor Education
Political Science
Renewable Energy

Social Justice
Toxic Chemicals
Western US

Related Titles

A stirring portrait of America's greatest environmentalist.

In Our Own Backyard
Lois Gibbs brilliantly leads her fellow residents in Love Canal in this classic documentary on the nation's first encounter with toxic waste.

A Life Among Whales
A fascinating exploration into the life and work of whale biologist and activist Roger Payne.

The Decade of Destruction
A unique chronicle of the destruction of the Amazonian rainforest.

Shattered Sky
The story of how America led the world to solve the ozone crisis. Will we dare to do the same with climate change?

Everything's Cool
Examines the media strategies, on both sides, that have resulted in the US government's failure to take decisive action on global warming.

The Age of Stupid
An old man (Pete Postlethwaite) living in a devastated world, watches 'archive' footage from today and asks: Why didn't we stop climate change when we had the chance?

David Brower
An interview with America's foremost environmentalist.

For Earth's Sake
Portrait of David Brower, America's leading environmentalist.

Lovins on the Soft Path
Hunter and Amory Lovins make the case for energy efficiency and energy conservation.

Force Of Nature
Inspirational distillation of the life, thoughts and legacy of famed Canadian scientist, broadcaster and activist, David Suzuki.

Living the Good Life
A portrait of the daily life of America's most famous back-to-the-landers.

Thomas Berry
Portrays the life and work of the famous eco-theologian.

... more Reviews

"What ultimately emerges is a retrospective of the movers and shakers who've paved the way for environmental activists of the future...and their collective conviction is inspiring."
Mina Hochberg, Outside Magazine

"Historically significant."
Naomi Wolf, The Guardian

"Effectively summarize[s] the evolution of environmental awareness from a largely localized phenomenon - people concerned about a city's perpetual smog or polluted river - to an international one."
Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times

"A worthy reminder of how much has been done to help heal our planet's ecological woes as well as how much remains to be done."
Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times

"Offers a valuable overview of a movement that's remained determined for decades, even as governments and corporations do their best to stomp it out."
Cheryl Eddy, San Francisco Bay Guardian

"Intelligent and dramatically compelling...Although I have followed the movement closely since the late 80s, much of the film came as a revelation, especially the story of how ideological and strategic differences within the movement led to the formation of new groups."
Louis Proyect, The Unrepentant Marxist

"Excels at evoking both the initial optimism and the enduring passion of the Green movement's first 50 years...Serves as a touchstone and a reminder that many of the Earth's people still harbor some sanity. Once again, we're faced with another bloody chapter in the ancient contest between The Many and The Few - The Givers and The Takers. Only this time, there's a world to lose."
Gar Smith, The Berkeley Daily Planet

"Takes viewers on a thought provoking journey...Kitchell has succeeded brilliantly. The film unfolds in five acts of issues central to the story, the people and places that have made a difference, bringing us closer to comprehending the incomprehensible...These eloquent voices, among others, provide the kinds of information we all need to embrace."
Sandra Bertrand, Highbrow Magazine

"Anyone who wants to find out more about the makings of the modern environmental movement should be sure to see A Fierce Green Fire."
EarthTalk, E/The Environmental Magazine

"Expertly made...Effective...The recent Occupy Wall Street movement - which had an environmentalist edge - showed that young people can organize, that digital apathy hasn't stunted every youthful neuron. The green fire still burns."
Alexander Nazaryan, Newsweek

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