Global Warming

Mongrel Media has compiled three award-winning documentaries on pressing environmental issues for this Global Warming package. Oddly, they celebrate the 100 percent post-consumer recycled, vegetable ink and reduced plastic film of the package on a glossy sheet press release. Further confusing the content they’re championing, Mongrel’s decision to title this collection Global Warming is more misleading than a more clued-in moniker of Climate Change would be. None of these features are really about global warming but they are a quality collection of informative films about human impact on our environment. The Refugees of the Blue Planet examines the impact of natural disasters on population relocation and shines a spotlight on the eye-opening fact that the number of environmental refugees, for the first time in history, outnumbers those created by war and political persecution. There are no special features accompanying this film but the look at displaced families all over the world, including in our own country, carries serious emotional weight but lacks some cinematic punch. A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash takes a very direct and informative approach to its subject matter. Leading thinkers and experts in the field discuss the background science and controversy surrounding the concept of peak oil against industrial images collected by the filmmakers to illustrate our society’s petroleum dependency. A bonus chapter defining "Petrostates” — economical reliance on a government-controlled resource — is a welcome expansion, though there is no mention of the "abiotic” oil theory controversy anywhere. Four of the primary interviewees have their sessions expanded in the special features, adding some vital details to a balanced perspective on peak oil theory, namely that projections hinge on supply needing to grow to meet swelling demand. Manufactured Landscapes is the most satisfying achievement of the collection, beautifully juggling art and education to stunning effect. Edward Burtynsky’s awe-inspiring photographs of industrial extraction sites inspired the film and form the focal point for director Jennifer Baichwal to link together a narrative exploration of the impact of human industry on the planet. Never before has a still gallery been more important on a DVD, and each photograph includes commentary from Burtynsky. Discussions about intention and process with Baichwal, Burtynsky and the cinematographer are all very illuminating, and the additional scenes, especially those shot in unauthorised areas of China, enhance an already exceptional feature in a solid collection of thought-provoking films. (Mongrel Media)