by Michael dEstries
Categories: People.

Guess what? It’s not boring. Far from it. After hearing that The Sundance Channel was embarking on a three hour block of green-themed programming, many wondered what would keep viewers glued to the screen for that long. After all, isn’t America Idol on?

oil_one.pngThe good news is, much like other eco-related projects, THE GREEN is a polished, entertaining, and — dare I say — educational piece of television. I’ve managed to consume a few selections from the premiere this coming Tuesday at 9pm. The first was a 90-minute documentary entitled A Crude Awakening. This is a wonderfully well-done introduction to the subject of Peak Oil. Whether it happens in 10 years or 50, oil is a finite substance that will one day be as rare as gold. THE GREEN takes you on a history of the oil boom, its role in shaping our society, and its future in potentially destroying it. Most memorable are the scenes in which the documentary explores oil-boom towns across the world that are now abandoned, eerie landscapes. Once rich and prosperous, the social wealth and people disappeared as soon as nature had nothing left to give. We’re facing a dangerous precipice today if attention is not paid to developing alternative fuels and energy to petroleum. I give praise to the film’s producers for stumbling upon some incredible footage; including rare film of Marion King Hubbert, father of the Peak Oil theory. Props go out to Matt Savinar from lifeaftertheoilcrash for delivering some great dialogue as well.

biobling.pngTurning away from some dark undertones of future calamity, Sundance presents a pick-me-up of sorts in the half-hour show, Big Ideas (for a small planet). This series focuses on the people making changes today to improve the world around them. Dr. David Suzuki, Laurie David, and a host of other notable individuals offer commentary. The premiere, entitled FUEL, showcases a guy who drag races on vegetable oil, a woman who converts classic cars into biodiesel beauties, and an Indy racer who has switched completely to ethanol. It’s inspiring, as well as entertaining. There is even a cameo by everyone’s favorite Saturn EV1 salesperson turned eco-celebrity, Chelsea Sexton.

Intrigued by FUEL, I skipped ahead to April 24th’s BUILD. Covering green building, this episode of Big Ideas is intriguing because I’m starting my own potential green home next summer. We’re offered a look at green modular building, urban sustainable projects for low-income families (something I’m sure Majora Carter was happy to see) and a futuristic home made entirely from trees. Just plant and wait 15 years before moving in.

david.pngOverall, I really believe that Sundance is raising the bar on high-value green themed television. The production is top-notch, the people engaging, and most importantly, the content is interesting. You’re not being yelled at, you’re not meant to feel guilty, you’re simply turning off the television feeling empowered and informed. Who needs American Idol?

For more information, check out THE GREEN’s official site. For those without cable, here’s to hoping the series moves to DVD shortly. Catch it this Tuesday at 9PM EST on The Sundance Channel.

As an aside, it should be noted that Sundance shipped screeners of these shows in 100% recycled cardboard holders and included press releases using soy-based ink and recycled paper. Nice move.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • Preston

    Did you get access to BUILD from those screeners? Or can you see a version of it somewhere else? I’d like to watch it and do a post on it for Jetson Green…I wonder if they’ll send me a copy?

  • melanie

    hey you groovesters,
    figured you’d like to know about our hip online store: . we have some amazing green business and personal gifts for the holidays. had some great reviews by treehugger of our seasonally harvested organic Fair Trade tea and roasted to order organic Fair Trade coffee. now we’re introducing certified organic and Fair Trade gourmet products from around the world in themed gift boxes like World Peace, Red Light and DNA of Fair Trade. 10% of the profits from those boxes go to some great non-profits. would love to send you more info on us. can you send me an e-mail contact. thanks.

  • Clifford J. Wirth

    The Peak Oil is a catastrophe coming to us all soon, and we will all have a front row seat. Read this report and it will horrify you: