A Fierce Green Fire Eco-Documentary Lights Up PBS's American Masters for Earth Day


An environmental documentary that was still a work in progress when it played at the 2012 Newport Beach Film Festival makes its television premiere in completed fashion on the PBS series American Masters tonight. Mark Kitchell's A Fierce Green Fire effectively presents five different decades of eco-activism through period music, archival footage and reflective modern-day interviews.

Newport Beach Film Festival's Social Network: A curated sample of socially relevant offerings at the 2012 festival

The film begins before the conservation movement that sprung up in the 1960s through today's global concerns about climate change, rainforest destruction and the need for a sustainable future.

The Sierra Club's David Brower in A Fierce Green Fire.
Shortly after A Fierce Green Fire left Newport Beach, Kitchell talked about Meryl Streep being enlisted as the narrator. As the logo up front points out, Robert Redford ultimately got the gig.

By the way, you may recognize Kitchell's name from his film Berkeley In the Sixties, which was nominated for an Oscar and named the Best Documentary of 1990 by the National Society of Film Critics.

American Masters is showing A Fierce Green Fire in honor of Earth Day. (Check your local listings.) It will also stream on the American Masters website for six more weeks and soon be available via Netflix, iTunes, Amazon or on DVD.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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JGlanton topcommenter

Hooooweeee, how suspenseful it is, waiting to see which of these two world-class eco-hypocrites and nonsensical science dummies will narrate a film about iconoclastic environmental extremists on Lenin's birthday. I was on the edge of my seat, I tell you.

1990 Actress Meryl Streep “By the year 2000 – that’s less than ten years away–earth’s climate will be warmer than it’s been in over 100,000 years. If we don’t do something, there’ll be enormous calamities in a very short time.”

Sorry Meryl, nothing happened, the temperate hasn't changed in the last 17 years. And it was already much warmer than 1990 many times during the last 100,000 years. That was well known before you made your statement. Were you full of shit? Or just acting?

Robert Redford wrote: Pouring more carbon pollution into the sky is setting the table for growing intensity of extreme weather, with more persistent drought, devastating wildfires, costly floods, scorching summers and storms that punish more with each punch.

Sorry Bob, extreme weather events such as strong tornadoes and hurricanes are at all-time lows. The Palmer Drought Severity Index is normal, wildfire counts are normal, floods used to be much worse. Oh, and CO2 isn't pollution, it is a barely significant trace gas at 400 parts per million and has been as high as 2000 ppm in Earth's history and it helps plants and wildlife flourish and be more tolerate drought. In fact it is 2000 ppm inside a movie theater where people sit and watch your pretentious performances. Bob, I would explain to you how gasses like CO2 and H2O  interact with spectral emissions, but I kinda doubt you have had college physics. Better for you just to shut up so you don't sound so stupid.

Whatever. These are dummy actors. Why would anybody listen to them pontificate about science? That's almost as bad as listening to politicians about science.

MatthewTCoker topcommenter

Hmmm, so I guess Ms. Streep did make the final cut. From a Kitchell email: "Here's an encounter with Meryl Streep from our friend Marissa LaMagna, who thanked her for narrating: 'She stopped, closed her eyes and took a long very dramatic sigh,  and then opened them and said with deep conviction: "Oh, (as if in pain) it was my pleasure. It is such an important film!!!"'"

JGlanton topcommenter

Earth Day is a good day to remember: RIP Holly Maddux


sorry climate change denier, the world is heating up, with new records being set every year. since the globe is not warming uniformly, weather patterns are changing erratically, but there is no denying the overall global temperature is rising rapidly. you are correct that co2 has been higher in the past as has global temperature, but this was before we had a global civilization where over half the people are living in coastal areas. changing weather patterns will disrupt civilization as we know it, changing growing seasons, causing droughts, more severe rain fall and floods. there may be less hurricane but the ones we do have will be more severe, like the typhoon that hit the Philippines last year now recorded as the strongest storm ever on the earth. you are like a frog in the pot and you don't realize the heat has been turned up. thankfully we have visionary scientist who do see it and recognize it and are sounding the alarm.

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