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7 Movies That Will Scare You into Saving the Environment

By  · Published on April 21st, 2011

Earth Day: the red-headed stepchild of world holidays.

Founded in 1970, the celebration of our planet has been mounted (and basically ignored) every April 22nd. When was the last time you paid respects by going outside and planting a seedling? Or left a plate of cookies out for Mother Earth? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Earth Day may not have the allure of its cheerful , laid back holiday counterparts, but it’s certainly no less important. Recognizing environmental concerns is more relevant than ever, and Hollywood has been trying its darndest to prod you in to taking action. Think of it as a “scared straight” course of action: if you’re afraid of impending environmental doom, maybe you’ll do something.

Here are seven movies that a sure to reinvigorate your ecological awareness and get you back on the green track this Earth Day:


The Lesson: If we let the polar ice caps melt, you’ll have to drink your own pee.

Jet ski tricks and catamaran races may look fun, but if (or when) our planet is overrun by high sea levels, society will be forced to live on floating shelters and fish for dirt just to make a living. Don’t be fooled, life wouldn’t suddenly turn into an island getaway at Sandals. Unless they make you drink your own pee at Sandals, in which case, it will be exactly like that. Remember how bad this movie was? Life on an actual world of water would be much, much worse.

What You Can Do: Decrease your carbon footprint or find a way to cut Kevin Costner off from his weekly Costco deliveries of spray-on tan.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

The Lesson: Hunting whales to the point of extinction will result in increased dependence on space travelers from the future.

While most environmental issues are debated over the effects we witness currently and big picture predictions of the future, rarely do we consider and discuss the specific ramifications of current practices. For instance, what if a cylindrical alien probe enters Earth’s atmosphere, disables electrical grids, turns our oceans into steam and wrecks havoc on the planet, with the only way of stopping it being lullaby whale songs. If we don’t have any whales, we’re screwed.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home presents this scenario, fixing it with a little time travel action – but is the Star Fleet Federation really going to be there to save us in the future?

What You Can Do: Head to the nearest major whaling city with posters and signs and present your apocalyptic vision of an alien invasion in a the most public of places.

Soylent Green

The Movie’s Lesson: Control greenhouse gasses or our primary food source will be people.

Richard Fleischer’s Soylent Green depicts a harrowing vision of the future, one in which common citizens are forced to wear football helmets and the ‘70s-era ball chair once again becomes the linchpin of home decorating. To make things worse, the environment is so piss poor there’s no more food, only nutritional tablets known as Soylent. Technically it’s “organic” but still…

What You Can Do: If you see someone littering, dumping chemical waste or polluting in another manner, eat them. Do it now while you still have a choice.

Princess Mononoke

The Lesson: Restrict industrial expansion or a giant forest spirit will wipe out humanity.

If deforestation and the displacement of animals isn’t a big concern to you, perhaps it’s time to learn about the other things that live in the woods. Mainly, adorable, crackly little sprites and their enormous, headless, man-consuming companions.

The people living in Lady Eboshi’s Iron Town are just simple, blue collar worker bees – they’re concerned about getting their jobs done, not the work’s global consequences. Unfortunately, it costs many of them their lives, as Eboshi expands her operation into the forest, where spirits roam and are ready to spread their deadly black goo in defense. Don’t mess with the higher ups.

What You Can Do: For every flower you pick, every tree you have to cut down, remember to build a little houses on your back lawn for the spirits that require new shelter. For emphasis, remind people that “The End Is Near.”

Godzilla vs. Hedorah (Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster)

The Movie’s Lesson: Nuclear bombs + pollution = monster battles.

Godzilla has starred in over 28 movies since his 1954 introduction, but none as Earth-conscious as Godzilla vs. Hedorah. Godzilla, of course, is a mutated beast caused by nuclear explosions. Hedorah, just a space microbe before that fed on the pollution of the world to grow into a mighty sea monster. Like cats and dogs, the two human-made monstrosities can’t help but whacking each other to death – all at the cost of the civilizations around them.

What You Can Do: Consider alternate modes of transportation. You don’t want to be the guy who passed on buying an electric car when the monster who eats smoke arrives on earth.

On Deadly Ground/Fire Down Below

The Movie’s Lesson: Continued oil drilling/toxin dumping could lead to Steven Seagal blowing things up.

Steven Seagal made two environmentally friendly films in his career: On Deadly Ground, which concerned improper drilling techniques and oiling pollution, and Fire Down Below, where Seagal plays an EPA agent who fights toxic waste dumping bad guys. While Seagal should be applauded for his efforts, both films conclude with the action star fighting off the pollution perpetrators and various things blowing up – including the oil rig. Now, how is that worse than drilling or dumping?

What You Can Do: Either team up with Steven Seagal to disarm atomic bombs or pay for his retirement home. Just don’t let anything explode.

Tha Happening

The Movie’s Lesson: There’s no stopping it – the plants are going to kill you.

Well, now we’ve done it. M. Night Shyamalan’s horrific R-Rated comedy horror film comedy, The Happening proves that if we don’t shape up the plants of the Earth are going to ship us out. Using wind. If a high school science teacher like Mark Wahlberg doesn’t know what to do when disaster strikes, few people in this world have a chance for survival.