Earth Day 2009

Earth Day was founded in 1970 with the goal of shaking up "the political establishment and [forcing] this issue onto the national agenda." The site for the Earth Day Network has many practical suggestions; start with the "footprint calculator" to see your impact on the planet.

In Theaters. Disney opened the G-rated documentary Earth today; its the first in a planned series from their new Disneynature label. Narrated by James Earl Jones, it's a condensed version of the 12-hour BBC mini-series Planet Earth, directed by Mark Linfield and Alastair Fothergill. Critical reaction has been mostly positive: 76% on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer. And, as Elisabeth Rappe alerted us, Disney will plant a tree in your name if you buy a ticket to the movie via their web site between now and next Tuesday, April 28.

Online Viewing. We've already pointed to one option earlier today, Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa, which can be viewed at our site, thanks to SnagFilms. Other docs available for free streaming at SnagFilms include Greasy Rider, "a cross-country road trip powered by vegetable oil in a 1981 Mercedes-Benz," with appearances by Morgan Freeman and Yoko Ono, and Blind Spot, which explores the oil and energy crisis.

The latter two titles are offered by Cinetic Rights Management, which is also launching other eco-friendly flicks. The Green Chain, which covers the battle between loggers and environmentalists, is available for free at Dailymotion, Hulu, and YouTube, while The Unforeseen and Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home will be available for small fees at Amazon VOD. Cinetic's Matt Dentler contributed an article to The Huffington Post on the subject: "Documentaries have always been a source of education and activism, but in today's connected online climate, there are more tools and more power at one's finger tips."