Snowed in? Here’s a couple films that might interest you and help fight off cabin fever.
The first is “Dimming the Sun,” a 58-minute documentary produced by NOVA which explores the notion of global dimming.
Precisely as it sounds, global dimming is less of the sun’s rays reaching earth. I know what you’re thinking, but as the film points out, it’s not so great.
The film takes a linear approach and first explains the science behind the fact that solar rays reaching the earth are actually decreasing. A Indian scientist then explains this is because of pollution particles. The pollution particles (think smog) in the atmosphere attract water molecules. Instead of allowing the water molecules to collect in large amounts in clouds and then form rain, the water molecules are kept smaller by the pollution particles, thus they stay grouped in the atmosphere for a longer period of time. As a result, the sun’s rays are blocked from reaching the earth as they bounce off the water molecules like a mirror.
So, on one hand pollution is keeping solar rays out. On the other hand, pollution (greenhouse gases) are keeping heat in the atmosphere and heating the earth. This is when the scary news is dropped on the audience.
Without global dimming the movie contends that global warming would be happening at a much faster pace (interestingly, some of the research that points this out is the increase in US continental temperatures the day after September 11, a day without jets, and their pollution, in the sky).
The concluding portion of the film discusses the precarious balance of global dimming and global warming and the effects on the earth if both are handled incorrectly.
Ultimately this is a quick and insightful movie that, though released in 2004, explores a topic not heard about much.
For the Suffolk readers out there, this film is available through the county’s library system. For the readers out there from farther away, thanks for reading. Also, try Amazon.com as the film is listed used for $7.94.
The second movie recommendation is “No Impact Man,” an interesting 2009 documentary. I say interesting because watching a 5th Avenue couple stool over their transition to a lifestyle that will have no impact on the environment comes across as self centered and pretentious at first. But, as the movie grows longer (eventually for a total of 93 minutes) you start to relate to Colin and Michelle Beavan, and their young daughter Isabella, just as the family itself grows and adopts to their new lifestyle.
Overall this is an entertaining film. Colin, a writer, implements a lifestyle of no environmental impact for one year (no garbage, electricity, cars, new products) with the aim of eventually writing a book about the experience. His wife, Michelle, very much a consumer, has to make the biggest adjustment to the project and ultimately does.
I kept asking myself throughout this film if the aim of the Beavan’s project is silly because its in opposition to human progress through out history. Then, by the end, I as a viewer, and the Beavan’s as a family, realize its not about living a Spartan lifestyle to the max, but rather compromising on consumption.
Again, this is an entertaining film and worth watching, especially if you’ve lived in New York City before. For more information, check out the No Impact Man blog, where the film can be purchased. If you are a Suffolk library card holder, this film is available through county’s library system.