A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Living Planet charts the incredible history of the environmental movement over the past 50 years. It begins with John Muir and the conservation efforts of the Sierra Club and ends with the uphill struggle of activists and nations to respond to the dangers of climate change.

This cogent and prophetic documentary, based on Philip Shabecoff's book of the same title, is directed by Mark Kitchell. A gifted filmmaker, he has made the most of archival materials and commentaries by experts such as Bill McKibben, Stewart Brand, Paul Hawken, Tom Turner, Doug Scott, Martin Litton, Jerry Mander, John Adams, Carl Pope, Robert Bullard, Stephanie Mills, Rex Wyler and others. Musical selections, including Joni Mitchell's classic "Big Yellow Taxi," show the long-standing alliance between folk music and saving the environment.

A Fierce Green Fire is divided into five "acts."

"In God's wildness lies the hope of the world — the great fresh, unblighted, unredeemed wilderness."

— John Muir

Act 1 revolves around the conservation movement of the 1960s. David Brower and the Sierra Club led the battle to stop the building of dams in the Grand Canyon. It is narrated by Robert Redford.

"All things are possible once enough human beings realize that the whole of human future is at stake."

— Norman Cousins

Act 2 looks at the environmental movement of the 1970s beginning with the first Earth Day celebrations. The decade is considered the "golden era of legislation" with its focus on stemming pollution and the response to the heroic battle of Lois Gibbs over Love Canal, the neighborhood built atop 21,000 tons of toxic waste in upstate New York. This section is narrated by Ashley Judd.

"The way I like to put it is that we're driving in a car with bad brakes in a fog and heading for a cliff. We know for sure that the cliff is out there, we just don't know exactly where it is. Prudence would suggest that we should start putting on the breaks."

— John Holdren

Act 3 is about Greenpeace's campaigns to save the whales, groups exploring renewable energy, and the emergence of the environmental justice movement that arose when poor African-American communities fought to block the construction of hazardous chemical landfills and garbage dumps dangerously close to their communities. Van Jones narrates this section.

Pledge of Allegiance to the Family of Earth
"I pledge allegiance to the Earth
and to the flora, fauna and human life
that it supports,
one planet, indivisible,
with safe air, water and soil,
economic, justice,
equal rights,
and peace for all."

— Women's Environmental and Development Organization

Act 4 examines global resource issues and crises of the 1980s with profiles of Chico Mendes and his crusade to save the Amazon; the Chipko tree-hugger movement in India, based on Gandhian methods of nonviolent resistance; the Green Belt Movement, a reforestation project led by Wangari Maathai in Kenya; and the battle against the privatization of freshwater resources in Bolivia. Isabel Allende serves as narrator.

"Climate change puts us on a much larger stage in time as our actions are now part of the earth's long-term climate process itself."

— Joanna Macy

Act 5, narrated by Meryl Streep, explores environmentalism as civilizational transformation. It looks at the huge battle between those fighting to protect the environment made up of the general public, scientists and environmental groups versus corporations, special interest groups, and entrenched politicians who have blocked any meaningful action to halt the rapidly accelerating destructive consequences of climate change.

"You must believe as if your every act, even the smallest, impacted a thousand people for a hundred generations. Because it does."

— Thom Hartmann

A Fierce Green Fire admirably conveys the love and the passion of many heroic individuals and groups towards the Earth and their efforts to keep her alive and flourishing. This well-done documentary inspires us to carry on and expand their important work.

In closing we offer this prayer . . .

We join with the earth and with each other.

To bring new life to the land
To restore the waters
To refresh the air

We join with the earth and with each other.

To renew the forests
To care for the plants
To protect the creatures

We join with the earth and with each other.

To celebrate the seas
To rejoice in the sunlight
To sing the song of the stars

We join with the earth and with each other

To recreate the human community
To promote justice and peace
To remember our children

We join with the earth and with each other

We join together as many and diverse expressions
of one loving mystery: for the healing of the
earth and the renewal of all life.

— U.N. Environmental Sabbath Program

Special features on the DVD include a resource guide; timeline; and a biography.