Earth Week: films bringing perspective


Since the spring of 2000, BC students have celebrated Earth Week with lectures and of course, a series of films related to environmental issues and sustainability. Focusing on food and water, this year’s carefully selected films are definitely thought-provoking.

The Dark Side of Chocolate

April 18, 1:30-2:40 p.m.

Soothingly silky and rich, chocolate is easily the ultimate comfort food for many. Most of the first world’s population enjoys the sweet taste, but reality is rather different for Africa’s children.

According to a wide range of organizations, the chocolate industry is accused of covering up the trafficking of children and the use of child labor on the cocoa plantations.

In this 45-minute documentary directed by Miki Mistrati and U. Roberto Romano, filmmakers use hidden camera techniques to delve into cocoa in Ivory Coast, the world’s largest cocoa producer. The crew also interviewed opponents of these alleged practices and chocolate manufacturers.

“I’d like you to buy something where you, as a consumer, can vote responsibly for better treatment of these farmers. And also with fair trade, you know that they’re going to be at least on the road to being paid a decent wage.

“And with the inspections that go on, you know that their children aren’t working and are getting an education,” said Romano in an interview.

Discussion with Math Department Faculty Tim Kearney will take place right after the showing of the film.

Forks Over Knives

April 18, 3:00-4:45 p.m.

Named by Chicago Sun-Times as “a film that can save your life,” “Forks Over Knives” follows researchers Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn in examining the consequences of Western dietary habits.

The pair conducted a series of studies that led them to a startling conclusion—the rejection of animal-based and processed foods can help control or even reverse some degenerative diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and various forms of cancer.

The film documented the journeys of several patients with chronic conditions who have adopted a plant-based diet as their primary treatment approach, and the results of their journeys are later revealed.


April 17, 2:30-4:00 p.m.

“Ingredients” is a seasonal exploration of the local food movement. Throughout the film, we look at how people behind this movement bring good food back to the table and health back to our communities.

Chefs, farmers and activists featured in this documentary have collaboratively strived to create a truly sustainable food system, and to raise consumer awareness about the benefits of eating local.

From innovative farm-to-table programs in Harlem to picturesque sheep farms in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Ingredients shows its audiences how we can revitalize the connection between our food, our local community and our health.

And the cherry on top? The film’s upbeat and beautiful cinematography.

Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?

April 20, 9:30-11:15 a.m.

You will never look at honeybees the same way again after watching this film. NEVER EVER.

Director of “The Real Dirt on Farmer John” Taggart Siegel illustrates the global bee crisis in a profound light. The catastrophic disappearance of bees, a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder, has led to a shocking and unnerving threat to our food system that none saw coming.

If the bees are dying, birds will be dying, plants will be dying; without the bees, crops will not be pollinated and we will have to eat just bread and oatmeal all the time.

Monoculture as well as pesticides kills the bees and this 85-minute documentary uncovers the heartfelt struggles of beekeepers, scientists and philosophers from around the world.

Revenge of the Electric Car

April 16, 2:30-4:15 p.m.

With almost every major carmaker now jumping onto the bandwagon of producing new electric models, “Revenge of the Electric Car” follows the race to be the first, the best and to win the hearts and minds of the public around the world.

Director Chris Paine and his film crew went behind the closed doors of Nissan, GM, and the Silicon Valley start-up Tesla Motors to record the story of the global resurgence of electric cars.

What will the future of automobiles be like? Find out more in this documentary narrated by Tim Robbins that includes Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn and Former Vice Chairman of GM Bob Lutz.


April 19, 1:30-3:15 p.m.

Tap water or bottled water? What is your choice?

Is bottled water not tap water? Why would we rather ship water all the way across the planet when we can find it right in our own country? Shouldn’t access to drinking water be considered a basic human right? Why should we be paying for drinking water?

Not only is drinking water a necessity of life, in reality, plastic bottles can leech harmful chemicals into the water they are holding.

“Tapped” is a fascinating film that looks at the bottled water industry and the privatization of one of the world’s most vital natural resources.

So the next time you are asked to choose between tap water and bottled water, think again.

If you are interested in additional viewing times or additional films for your class, please contact Robert Viens             (