A new Earth Day documentary, A Fierce Green Fire, talks about humankind’s attitude toward the world’s oceans—which doesn’t have the best history. The documentary shows images of vast floating piles of debris, plastic and discarded junk in the southern Indian Ocean highlighted since the search for missing passenger jet Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. During the search, there was so much junk already in the water that the search effort was constantly sidetracked by false sightings.
This film show’s one interviewee, Paul Watson, is an ecocrusader and whale warrior who says that programs like A Fierce Green Fire open people’s eyes to what’s going on. Watson estimates that more than 100 million tons of plastic is floating in the Earth’s seas.
“Documentaries make a difference,” Watson insists. “It inspires people. Even if it only gets 100 people thinking, it’s done its job. Margaret Mead used to say, ‘Don’t expect government or corporations to do it all.’ Social change comes through people. The people who are involved with the Sea Shepherd (Conservation) Society are there on their own money. You can be involved, and you can make a difference.”
A Fierce Green Fire was inspired by former New York Times environmental writer Philip Shabecoff’s 1993 book, A Fierce Green Fire: The American Environmental Movement, which gives an overview of the contemporary environmental movement and the political, economic and social forces that shaped it.
Oscar-nominated filmmaker Mark Kitchell’s film version runs less than an hour. It’s a brisk, fast-paced hour. Watson appears in it only briefly, but he makes an instant impression.