The film Earth, animals, environment and corporations

This video is the BBC Planet Earth TV series trailer. The series was made by the same people as the new film Earth.

This afternoon, in a crowded cinema, the movie Earth.

A film, beautifully made, about fascinating animals from the north pole to the south pole, and their environment.

The film puts this in a context of human made environmental problems. Like global warming, which puts the survival at risk of, eg, the polar bears with which the movie starts and ends.

The film exhorts its viewers not to be passive about the threats to survival of animal species on earth, but to do something about them. Starting with visiting the Internet site, [UPDATE november 2009: that site seems to be gone by now].

So far, so good. However, when seeing that site, at the top of it a visitor will then find a big headline banner of the Ford motors corporation. In the cinema, the movie was also preceded by a Ford advertisement. A big part of global warming and other environmental problems is caused by the lobbying of the automobile industry, including Ford, for more private cars and less public transport. And I am not even talking about the fat military contracts for tanks etc. for Ford and others in the automobile industry. Much of the waste damaging the environment is caused by wars.

As long as big corporations and global warming denialist politicians like George W. Bush will be in power, it will be extremely hard to solve the problems mentioned by films like Earth. Greenwashing may be good for big corporations’ public relations; but not for the environment.

The link of this film and its subject to economics and politics is exemplified, as it was made by the BBC Natural History Unit. Rightly, that unit is world-famous for its films about nature. Now, however, the United Kingdom government and BBC higher ups plan drastic cutbacks on the Natural History Unit. A third of jobs there are to be cut, according to plans. Then, there will be more money for wars by New Labour or old Tory British governments. Or, to the extent that the natural history money may go elsewhere in the BBC, maybe for programmes sycophantically praising New Labour or old Tory politicians continuing Bush’s and Blair’s wars, and starting new ones.

After mentioning what the film Earth is not about, let’s discuss what it is about. It goes all the way from the Arctic to the Antarctic; then, finally back to the Arctic. Apart from polar bears, it has beautiful shots of other Arctic animals, like walruses, flocks of migrating snow geese, and a red-throated diver.

A bit more south, it shows migrating caribou [see also here], wolves, and a lynx (see also here).

Then, northern temperate forests, with wren and song thrush.

Then, tropical forests, with the many species of bird of paradise.

To go to warmer regions to avoid the winter cold, birds like demoiselle cranes have to cross the Himalayas. Where dangerous mountain winds await them, as the film shows.

The film also shows animals of deserts, like oryxes; and, more extensively, African elephants and lions.

Then, the film goes from the tropical oceans to the seas of the Antarctic, along with a migrating female humpback whale and her calf. In the Antarctic waters, the whales will be able to eat krill.

The last scenes of the film, back in the north, are about a hungry polar bear. It attacks walruses, really too big and dangerous for the bear; and fails. The bear is doomed to die from hunger.

The film with its beautiful images does inspire people to love planet Earth and the animals on it. However, as we have seen, solutions to the problems which it raises, will not come from the films’ sponsor Ford Motors.

Greenwash can’t hide the car industry’s true colours: here.

The enemy of nature – the end of capitalism or the end of the world? by Joel Kovel; book reviews here.

See also here.

Demoiselle crane in the Netherlands: here.

17 thoughts on “The film Earth, animals, environment and corporations

    Time to Stop the Greenwashing

    Global ecological sustainability depends upon identifying and
    acting upon ambitious, sufficient eco-policies now; and
    rejecting misleading, exploitative and inadequate reformist

    Earth Meanders by Dr. Glen Barry

    January 4, 2008

    The Earth and all species including humans are threatened with
    imminent ecological ruin. You should be afraid, very afraid.
    Yet real hope remains that fundamental social change can avert
    looming failure of global ecosystems. The biggest current
    obstacle to such change is that now that everyone, every
    product and every business claims to be “green”; we have been
    diverted from urgent, adequate ecological change required to
    secure being.

    Many mainstream (and some “radical”) environmentalists, most
    businesses and essentially all governments are greenwashing —
    misleading the public regarding the environmental benefits of
    their practices, policies and products. Certified FSC logging
    destroys ancient forests, climate and water. Coal is unlikely
    to ever be clean as existing plants emit into the atmosphere,
    and sequestration is unproven. Biofuels hurt the environment,
    geo-engineering will destroy remaining natural processes, and
    buying more stuff is rarely good for the environment.

    It is time to stop the greenwashing. After two decades of
    successfully raising awareness regarding climate change,
    forest protection and other challenges to global ecological
    sustainability; increasingly my time is spent reacting to
    dangerous, insufficient responses that fail to address root
    causes of ecological decline, provide a false sense of action,
    and frequently consolidate and do more environmental harm.

    Many “greenwash” to make money, some to be perceived as
    effective advocates, while others believe incremental progress
    without changing the system is the best that can be done. Yet
    all are delaying policies necessary simply to survive. The
    greatest obstacle to identifying, refining, espousing and
    implementing policies required to maintain a habitable Earth
    may come from “environmentalists” proposing inadequate half-
    measures that delay and undermine the rigorous work that must
    be done to bring humanity back into nature’s fold.

    Sufficient policies required to save the Earth are massive in
    scope and ambition. Deep-seated change is required in how we
    house, feed and clothe ourselves; in our understanding of
    acceptable livelihoods and happy lives; and in our
    relationship with the biosphere and each other. To maintain a
    livable Earth there is no alternative to less people and
    consumption, a smaller and restorative economy, and an end to
    cutting natural vegetation and burning fossil fuels.

    Systematic failure of global ecosystems and social systems
    must be addressed in more than a token manner. A whole series
    of policy actions exist that we know are needed, would work,
    are sufficient, and could start immediately. These include
    massive investments into subsidizing renewable energy,
    implementing population controls, banning coal, ending old-
    growth logging and financing carbon emission reductions.

    Given the Earth has already exceeded what can be sustained in
    these regards, not only must the destruction stop, but massive
    regional scale ecological restoration must commence to
    establish rewilded and connected ecological reserves. Economic
    growth beyond steady-state use of natural capital must be
    stopped, and sustainable relocalized communities built around

    Certainly ecologically positive technology has a role to play.
    Living in the country and needing a vehicle I recently chose
    the best transportation option society offers me and bought a
    Toyota Prius. But leading environmentalists touting technology
    as the primary emphasis to save our environment are dreadfully
    misinformed, and are obviously unaware of the ecological
    nature of being. They seem to have forgotten about the primacy
    of maintaining and restoring ecosystems.

    Even as we personally strive to live frugal, rich lives;
    necessary consumption should focus upon durable items that
    will last. Strong tools and minds are required to grow food,
    make a righteous living, and otherwise practice ecological
    living. Excessive consumption is a poor substitute for a
    truthful, fully aware, knowledge filled and experience rich
    life. All can and should enjoy some luxuries, rather than some
    enjoying all.

    Global ecological threats are intensifying — oceans lifeless,
    forests tattered, water scarce, and the atmosphere perhaps
    irreparably damaged. This occurs even as a climate change
    backlash builds, largely as a result of truthful apocalyptic
    warnings presented without adequate policies that go beyond
    greenwash responses and actually promise a hope filled
    solution likely and able to succeed.

    Given this increased urgency and public awareness, the
    environmental community must espouse rigorous, sufficient
    polices “while the iron is hot”; and demand real actions that
    are sufficient to solve global ecological crises. And
    greenwashers beware: if you stand in the way of sufficient
    ecological responses to the greatest emergency of all times,
    you will be exposed as Earth destroying charlatans and

    Dr. Barry is founder and President of Ecological Internet;
    provider of the largest, most used environmental portals on
    the Internet including the Climate Ark at and http://www.EcoEarth.Info/ .
    Earth Meanders is a series of ecological essays that are
    written entirely in his personal capacity. This essay may be
    reprinted granted it is properly credited to Dr. Barry and
    with a link to Earth Meanders. Emailed responses are public
    record and will be posted on the web site unless otherwise


  2. What group is doing the most to make global warming worse? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

    That’s why top companies including Apple, Exelon Energy, Pacific Gas & Electric, Nike, and Public Service Company of New Mexico have all quit the Chamber.

    If Ford wants to reduce global warming, it must break with U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

    Thanks for all you do!

    Bob Fertik

    To: William Ford Jr., Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company
    Subject: Ford must break with U.S. Chamber of Commerce

    Dear Mr. Ford,

    I am happy to see that your company is supporting new national clean car standards. These standards will reduce U.S. oil consumption, cut global warming emissions, and save people like me money at the gas pump.

    Unfortunately, Ford’s environmental commitments are undermined by its continued participation in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has sued the Environmental Protection Agency to prevent implementation of the new standards and is actively lobbying against other efforts to curb U.S. global warming pollution.

    I therefore ask that you lead the board of directors to make a public break between Ford and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.



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