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American Masters presents A Fierce Green Fire, the first big-picture exploration of the environmental movement. The one-hour documentary chronicles one of the largest movements of the 20th century, and one of the keys to the 21st.
Written, directed and produced by Academy Award-nominee Mark Kitchell (Berkeley in the Sixties), American Masters: A Fierce Green Fire spans 50 years of grassroots and global activism from the 1960s-2009 and connects the major causes of environmentalism, from conservation to climate change. Narrated by Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Ashley Judd, Van Jones and Isabel Allende, the film premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and has won acclaim worldwide.
Inspired by the book of the same name by environmental journalist and film interviewee Philip Shabecoff, and informed by advisors like conservation biologist E.O. Wilson, A Fierce Green Fire unfolds in five acts, each with a central story and character, featuring vivid archival footage and new interviews that shed light on the battle for a living planet. The first four acts include success stories of people fighting for causes against enormous odds, and the fifth concludes with climate change.
The Conservation Movement
Act 1, narrated by Robert Redford, focuses on the conservation movement of the 1960s, the Sierra Club and its Executive Director David Brower’s battle to halt dams in the Grand Canyon.
Pollution and Cleanup
Act 2, narrated by Ashley Judd, looks at pollution in the 1970s, spotlighting the fight led by film interviewee Lois Gibbs and other Love Canal (Niagara, N.Y.) residents to save their children from toxic waste.
Act 3, narrated by Van Jones, features alternative ecology strands like Greenpeace and its famous campaigns to save whales and baby harp seals, including interviews with co-founders Paul Watson and Rex Weyler.
Act 4, narrated by Isabelle Allende, charts the rise of global resource crises in the 1980s with the struggle to save the Amazon rainforest, led by Chico Mendes and his fellow Brazilian rubber tappers, as its centerpiece.
Act 5, narrated by Meryl Streep, tackles climate change and the 25-year effort to address this ongoing, global problem, featuring author/activist Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, a movement dedicated to solving the climate crisis.