Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

American Experience: Earth Days: A Review

In celebration of Earth Day tomorrow, I streamed a PBS film entitled American Experience: Earth Days from Netflix last night. This film is basically the story of how the environmental revolution started, the environmental problems that brought about this movement, and the hope for a better future that was present at that time.
The film portrays the launch of the first Earth Day on April 22nd, 1970. As 1970 was well before the time of emails or blogs, the first Earth Day was promoted by sending notices and telegrams across the country. And it worked. Earth Day culminated with huge gatherings all across the country, showing that Americans were concerned with the health and future of our planet. It united folks who were previously fighting their own battles... those who wanted to save open space were now united with people wanting to stop industrial pollution.... all under the front of saving the planet.
The film discusses Rachel Carsen's book, Silent Spring, which essentially was the biggest factor that launched the environmental movement. Carsen's book talked about how pesticide use was harming the environment, wildlife and humans. She showed that when the balance of an ecosystem is upset, by say killing off a certain "pest", it will ultimately throw the entire ecosystem out of whack.
The film talks about consumerism and the American dream to have more 'stuff'. Then film also delves into the beginnings of our relationship with oil, and how our 'freedom' is in reality ruled by the countries that we buy our oil from. We also get a look at pollution in the 1960's and 1970's, before many of our current environmental laws went into effect. Rivers and lakes were becoming dumping grounds, aquatic life was dying, and air pollution was at dangerously high levels in many cities. Population was (and still is) growing exponentially across the planet, and exponential growth of people means exponential use of resources. And of course, strung through all of this are the political factors both for and against the environment.
All in all, this film was interesting and inspiring, showing what power the people of the United States can have when we come together on an issue. We have come a long way since people were dying of acute air pollution in New York City, but we still have a long, long way to go before our planet is back to a state of health again. My one complaint about this film is that it seemed to jump from topic to topic, from interviews with one person to someone else, and wasn't really in a order that flowed. I personally found it a bit hard to stay focused through the entirety of the film, but appreciated its content nonetheless. Pin It Now!

1 comment:

  1. I hadn't heard of this one. Sounds interesting, I'll have to add it to the queue. Thanks!