Review DVD: National Geographic–Human Footprint

4 Star, Environment (Problems), Reviews (DVD Only)

DVD Human FootprintBrilliant, Tedious, Needs a Study Guide or Booklet, April 20, 2008

Elizabeth Vargas

The intelligence that went into creating this movie, and the artistic creabtivity and sheer industry in amassing visual depictions of what goes into making and using things, is absolutely top of the line world class.

Unfortunately, viewed in one sitting this movie becomes tedius and also suffers from throwing out so many numbers that none of them are memorable. I suspect the following terms were uttered sometime during the movie, but the fact that I cannot remember for sure is troubling:

Virtual Water
Carbon Footprint
True Cost

This DVD, if used in a classroom, should be broken up into at least five sessions, no more than three chapters at a time.

I actually think this would be better as a book, the movie aspect is too fleeting for the best possible absorbtion and retention.

Chapters cover:
Human Presence
Diapers and Milk
Meat, Eggs, and Carbs
Sweets, Fruits, and Vegetables
Plastics and Metals
Cleansing and Beauty Products
Water and Solid Waste
Clothing and Textiles
ASlcohol
Housing, Furnishing, and Apppliances
Entertainment Consumption
Transportation
Consumption of Natural Resources
Cell Phones
Shrinking Wildlife

National Geographic: Six Degrees Could Change the World is the better of two, all things considered. This movie I would like to see National Geographic re-issue with a little booklet of facts for each chapter, and also a website in which the complete true costs for all items discussed are presented, and volunteers shown how to do the research to post “true costs” for any given product or service.

I see real value in National Geographic becoming the hub for “true cost” information, something they could easily do in partnership with the World Index of Social and Environmental Responsibility (WISER).

Only one big negative: the DVD pupports to be about the average person but is actually about the average within the billion rich that have an aggregate annual income of one trillion. It teaches us nothing at all about the five billion at the base of the pyramid who have an aggregate income of four trillion. I’d like to see National Geographic rethink its plans, and ultimately come out with short videos on each of the ten high-level threats to Humanity, each of the twelve core policy areas, and each of the eight demographic definers of the future. Somewhere in there they could teach citizens to demand responsible transpartisan policies and balanced transparent budgets.

Books that I recommend include:
Pandora’s Poison: Chlorine, Health, and a New Environmental Strategy
The Blue Death: Disease, Disaster, and the Water We Drink
Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource
Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History Is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beau
The Clock of the Long Now: Time and Responsibility
The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World
Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace