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The 2 Battles That Helped Launch the Environmental Movement

A Fierce Green Fire, a documentary directed by Mark Kitchell, is a sweeping history of the environmental movement recounted through archival footage, interviews with activists, and a host of celebrity narrators. Based on a book with the same name by Philip Shabecoff, the film hopes to be "the first big-picture exploration of the environmental movement – grassroots and global activism spanning fifty years from conservation to climate change."

The filmmaker, who screened the film in Washington, D.C. on May 3, shared two excerpts with us highlighting two key themes. The clip above tells the story of the Love Canal environmental disaster in the late 1970s -- a community near Niagara Falls that suffered from the effects of toxic waste buried there years earlier. Lois Gibbs, featured in the film, and other parents fought to get relocated while authorities dismissed their reports of birth defects and other health problems.

Another excerpt, below, covers Greenpeace's fight to stop whaling ships -- by physically maneuvering between a Russian ship and its target, a pod of whales. Faced with nonviolent intervention, the harpooner didn't back down so easily. Paul Watson, a co-founder of Greenpeace out there on the boat that day, recounts, "that's when I realized Gandhi wasn't gonna pull through for us that day."



This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is an associate editor at The Atlantic. She curates the Video channel. All posts »

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