Stage and Cinema film and theatre reviews




picture - Big Ideas for a Small PlanetDVD Review

by Chad Menville

published May 2, 2008


Big Ideas for a Small Planet

released by Arts Alliance America

running time 328 minutes


Big Ideas for a Small Planet is a documentary series created by Sundance Channel and airs as part of that network’s weekly environmentally focused The Green. Each episode revolves around a different green theme as it spotlights three specific innovators or innovations that have the potential to transform our everyday lives.


Even if one were to view this series from a strictly artistic standpoint, one would surely become intrigued by its thousands of fertile ideas. These episodes are hopeful yet sobering, decidedly educational and yet endlessly inspiring, never using guilt or finger pointing to get its message across. The array of subjects are filmed at the top of their game, visionaries in various industries who, bitten by the environmental bug, happily invite us into their studios, labs and workshops, connecting the dots thereby illustrating how they got to where they are today. Entrepreneurs, inventors, designers and artists provide the viewer with an all access pass to their dreams, their products, their triumphs.


Filmed in countless locations throughout the United States, this series organically and expertly traces lines of thought, insofar as to how a simple idea can progress into a design, then into a sustainable product that in turn becomes a solution. This is a one of a kind series that has a knack for piquing the viewer’s interest while educating and suggesting thousands of solutions that are both more affordable and aesthetically pleasing. Environmentalism is a highly political issue because it comes down to a question of not merely quality of life, but of life itself. And, there is no sector of modern life that does not directly impact our ecological footprint: a measure of how much land, air and water is taken to support us in a year. Meaning, if what we take from the earth in a year we can replace via farming and reforestation, then we are living in a sustainable way. In recent history, we certainly have not. With helpful alternatives learned from the Big Ideas series, we will realize it’s not about sacrifice, it’s about change. The worst and best news is this: we can live sustainably and improve our quality of life. But no one can make us care.


Dr. David Suzuki, a geneticist and author seen in Big Ideas, puts our delicate situation in layman’s terms when he states, “I feel as if we’re in a giant car heading at a brick wall at a hundred miles an hour, and everybody in the car is arguing about where they want to sit.” The repercussions of not getting involved are too great. Not to sound overly dramatic, but this series will change your life in that it will shoot you with a hefty dose of optimism and reality. It convinces us how, in doing more with less, we can have it all, because in today’s world there is no sector of life that does not directly affect nature - we are our environment. In the words of De La Soul, “Stakes is high.” This is crunch time…the future is now.


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