Climate change in the movies

About the author
Angela Saini is a journalist and film reviewer based in London. She has written for Frontline (New Delhi), Red Pepper, and the Observer.

Affluenza
A 1997 PBS documentary about consumerism, emphasising how much of the world’s fossil fuel supply is consumed by the United States.

The Air We Breathe
Connects asthma and other respiratory diseases with air pollution and suburban sprawl.

Baked Alaska
Looks at the battle over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the context of Alaska’s accelerated warming.

Arctic Warning
Over the centuries many explorers have died battling the icy wastes which stretch 3,000 kilometres across the North Pole, but now it’s the Arctic pack ice that faces defeat at the hands of mankind.

Big Spuds, Little Spuds
Takes a close look at the potato to examine the effects of climate change and monoculture on one of the world’s most important foods.

Cooperating for Clean Air
Sweden’s all-out assault on acid rain and global warming.

Emission Impossible
Ian Henschke’s film starts in the United States, a major source of greenhouse gases. He contrasts the US with Europe and Latin America, travelling to Costa Rica and his native Australia.

End of Suburbia
A dozen diverse experts speculate on how rising oil prices will change our lives with decline of suburbs, higher food prices, and economic stagnation, especially in the global economy.

The Great Warming
Told through stories of real people around the world, the film – narrated by Keanu Reeves and Alanis Morrisette – explores the science, consequence and solutions of climate change, and looks at exciting ideas and technologies that will create a truly sustainable future.

The Harriman Alaska Expedition Retraced
Documents war, the prosperity of Alaskan natives, and the repatriation of indigenous artefacts, as well as looking at the boom and bust of industry, global warming, endangered species, the state of natural resources, and the influx of tourism to the pristine edges of the world.

In Hot Water
Examines the issue of global climate change and how it relates to the oceans. Locations include the Arctic, Chesapeake Bay and South Pacific islands.

Observations on Climate Change
Warming is coming so fast that the Inuit do not have words in their language to describe the events and wildlife they now see.

Once and Future Planet
An easy-to-understand explanation of what causes global warming.

Rising Waters: Global Warming and the Fate of the Pacific Islands
Shows that global warming is already hurting the Pacific Islands.

Save Our Land, Save Our Towns
Examines the causes, effects of, and remedies for suburban sprawl, tapping into a growing concern among ordinary Americans. Gives logical reasons why America’s towns can be rebuilt and its countryside preserved from strip malls and subdivisions.

Silent Sentinels
Was the unprecedented mass coral bleaching in 1998 proof of global warming?

Subdivide and Conquer
The myth of the American west includes majestic scenery, but its modern reality resembles most places in America – a region under siege by unplanned low-density development. What are the solutions?

Taken For a Ride
Explains why America’s transit system is the worst in the industrialised world. Two generations ago, Americans depended on thriving privately owned streetcar lines across the nation, but then the auto and oil industry, led by General Motors, bought and dismantled the streetcar lines. The private auto stopped being a luxury and became a necessity.

Turning Down the Heat: The New Energy Revolution
Renewable energy sources and energy conservation are the solution to global warming. Narrated by David Suzuki.

USA – Change in the Air
Earth Report travels throughout the US, from the dying pine forests of Alaska to cyclone-savaged Florida, to examine the link between unwanted environmental changes and pollution.

We Are All Smith Islanders
Produced by the Chesapeake Climate Change Network.

The Day after Tomorrow
A Hollywood blockbuster about a climate catastrophe which plunges the world into an ice age.

Reach for the Sky
A whirlwind tour of the growing activism against the Labour governments plans to expand nearly all British airports despite the growing threat of climate change.

The Venus Theory
About the possibility of a sudden catastrophic climate change and the greenhouse effect spiralling out of control on the Earth.

The Future of the Great Barrier Reef – Bleak or Bright?
About coral bleaching as a result of climate change.

Oil on Ice
A comprehensive documentary connecting the fate of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to energy policy, transportation choices, and other seemingly unrelated matters.

The Day the Oceans Boiled
Examines the real strength of the scientific arguments behind the global warming hypothesis; and investigates just how great the risk of a flip to an entirely new and possibly uninhabitable climate really is.

Got a better idea of a film about climate change? Email us at climate@opendemocracy.net