It was among the fastest, most efficient production cars ever built. It ran on electricity, produced no emissions and catapulted American technology to the forefront of the automotive industry. The lucky few who drove it never wanted to give it up. So why did General Motors crush its fleet of EV1 electric vehicles in the Arizona desert?
Who Killed The Electric Car? chronicles the life and mysterious death of the GM EV1, examining its cultural and economic ripple effects and how they reverberated through the halls of government and big business.
With a jump on the competition thanks to its speed-record-breaking electric concept car, GM launches its EV1 electric vehicle in 1996. It was a revolutionary modern car, requiring no gas, no oil changes, no mufflers, and rare brake maintenance (a billion-dollar industry unto itself). A typical maintenance checkup for the EV1 consisted of replenishing the windshield washer fluid and a tire rotation.
But the fanfare surrounding the EV1’s launch disappeared and the cars followed. Was it lack of consumer demand as carmakers claimed, or were other persuasive forces at work?
Fast forward to 6 years later... The fleet is gone. EV charging stations dot the California landscape like tombstones, collecting dust and spider webs. How could this happen? Did anyone bother to examine the evidence? Yes, in fact, someone did. And it was murder.
The electric car threatened the status quo. The truth behind its demise resembles the climactic outcome of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express: multiple suspects, each taking their turn with the knife. Who Killed The Electric Car? interviews and investigates automakers, legislators, engineers, consumers and car enthusiasts from Los Angeles to Detroit, to work through motives and alibis, and to piece the complex puzzle together.
Who Killed The Electric Car? is not just about the EV1. It’s about how this allegory for failure—reflected in today’s oil prices and air quality—can also be a shining symbol of society’s potential to better itself and the world around it. While there’s plenty of outrage for lost time, there’s also time for renewal as technology is reborn in Who Killed The Electric Car?
"Who Killed the Electric Car? shows how the auto, oil and other powerful industries fought and killed a clean alternative to the gas guzzler. Americans should heed this film's clarion call for action to fight global warming and the cabal of polluters which threaten our climate." -Dan Becker, Director, Sierra Club Global Warming Program
Did you know that by recycling a single aluminum can we conserve enough energy to power a regular TV for a whole hour? Did you know that if every home in America used just one energy efficient light bulb that we would instantly cut greenhouse gas emissions by 1 trillion pounds per year?
Kilowatt Ours is an inspirational and enlivening film that demonstrates how easy it is to conserve energy that is produced from traditional sources as well as the many ways the average consumer can easily become part of the renewable energy revolution. The film reveals the connection between personal choices and energy use and introduces us to individuals, businesses, schools and universities who have cut their energy use in half by taking simple steps that benefit the consumer, the environment and the economy.
We are given tours of super-efficient homes, office buildings and entire schools that have changed the future of America by employing the concepts of day-lighting, geothermal heating and cooling, solar and wind power, and the purchase of blocks of green energy from local utilities.
Best of all, Kilowatt Ours will teach you how to dramatically reduce yuor own energy bill!
2 versions on one DVD: 64 minute version and 38 minute version
The End of Suburbia explores the American Way of Life and its prospects as the planet approaches a critical era, as global demand for fossil fuels begins to outstrip supply.
"We're literally stuck up a cul-de-sac in a cement SUV without a fill-up" -James Howard Kunstler
Hosted by Barrie Zwicker. Directed by Gregory Greene.
Featuring James Howard Kunstler, Peter Calthorpe, Michael Klare, Richard Heinberg, Matthew Simmons, Michael C. Ruppert, Julian Darley, Colin Campbell, Kenneth Deffeyes, Ali Samsam Bakhtiari and Steve Andrews.
Produced by Barry Silverthorn.
DVD BONUS: Includes the vintage short films, In the Suburbs and Destination Earth, and producer/director commentary.
Run time: 78 minutes
Suburbia, and all it promises, has become the American Dream. With brutal honesty and a touch of irony, The End of Suburbia explored the American Way of Life and its prospects as the planet enters the age of Peak Oil.
In Escape From Suburbia, director Greg Greene once again takes us "through the looking glass" on a journey of discovery – a sobering yet vital and ultimately positive exploration of what the second half of the Oil Age has in store for us.
Through personal stories and interviews we examine how declining world oil production has already begun to affect modern life in North America. Expert scientific opinion is balanced with "on the street" portraits from an emerging global movement of citizen’s groups who are confronting the challenges of Peak Oil in extraordinary ways.
The clock is ticking. Escape form Suburbia asks the tough questions: Are we approaching Peak Oil now? What are the controversies surrounding our future energy options? Why are a growing number of specialists and citizens skeptical of these options? What are ordinary people across North America doing in their own communities to prepare for Peak Oil? And what will YOU do as energy prices skyrocket and the Oil Age draws to a close?
Run time: 95 minutes
Oil on Ice is a documentary that examines the the battle over oil development within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This is a classic struggle in a stunning place, featuring the dramatic wildlife that adapted to this environment and the cultures of the Gwich’in Athabascan Indians and Inupiat Eskimos that rely on this wildlife for their subsistence.
This film exposes the risks of oil extraction in this extreme environment. What happens if another oil spill occurs on the coastal plain or under an ice-covered Beaufort Sea? How can one rationalize development of irreplaceable wilderness areas or ignore the cultural survival of indigenous populations? Already, Eskimo residents and leaders of the North Slope Borough are criticizing the impacts of oil development to their lands and their seas. Gwich’in Indian residents of Arctic Village, on the southern boundary of the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, fear their community’s caribou hunting will be severely impacted by oil development in the Refuge.
This film also examines the effects that improved fuel efficiency standards for vehicles and development of alternative sources of energy will have on this nation’s oil consumption. The issue of oil extraction from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge brings to a sharp focus the broader debate over energy conservation vs. unbridled consumption. It also dramatizes the choice between technologies based on fossil fuels and those that draw upon renewable, efficient, and non-polluting energy resources. Humanity does not need to destroy an irreplaceable wilderness in order to generate power, heat homes, and travel about. The new paradigm is a mode of living with the Earth rather than extracting from the Earth.
Run time: 90 minutes
In 1956 M. King Hubbert, a geologist at Shell Research Labs, shocked the oil industry by predicting that U.S. oil production would peak in the early 1970s and then irreversibly diminish. His prediction was vilified and largely ignored - until it came true. How quickly will the global peak in oil occur and what are the implications for our way of life and our world?
Journeying from the West African Delta region to the heart of the Amazon rainforest, from Washington to Shanghai, from early Man to the unknown future, Crude Impact unravels the complex entanglement of our fierce devotion to oil with the fate of indigenous cultures, human rights, our global economy and the planet itself. Fueled by discovery, outrage, humor and ultimately hope, the film offers an inspirational vision for change.
"After watching so many films...I'm a tough audience and it is hard to find something new. This film was it. I thought it was as comprehensive as it was compelling." -Adrienne Bramhall, Sierra Club Productions
"It is impossible to see this film and not begin to rethink the way we live." -Lynne Twist, Pachamama Alliance
Run time: 98 minutes
A disturbing, compassionate, sometimes humorous personal essay about coming to grips with climate change, resource crises, environmental meltdown, and the demise of the American lifestyle.
Friends and experts analyze the historical, social, and psychological factors driving us toward human extinction.
Bennett and Erickson challenge their audience to face difficult times with courage and integrity.
Featuring interviews with noted authors and scientists Daniel Quinn, Derrick Jensen, Richard Heinberg, William Catton, Jerry Mander, Chellis Glendinning, Richard Manning, Thomas Berry, Paul Roberts, Ran Prieur, William Schlesinger, Stuart Pimm, and Douglas Crawford-Brown.
"Nothing less than a 123-minute cat scan of the planet and its twenty-first century human and non-human condition." -Carolyn Baker, US History Uncensored
The Crash Course seeks to provide you with a baseline understanding of the economy so that you can better appreciate the risks that we all face.
Run time: 3 hours and 23 minutes
Powerdown is the only sane response to the world's increasingly grave problems of energy depletion, environmental degradation, and over-population.
If the US continues with current policies, the next decades will be marked by war, economic collapse, and environmental catastrophe. Resource depletion and population pressures are about to catch up with us, and no one is prepared. The political élites, especially in the US, are incapable of dealing with the situation, and have in mind a punishing game of 'Last One Standing.'
The alternative is 'Powerdown', a strategy that will require tremendous effort and economic sacrifice in order to reduce per-capita resource usage in wealthy countries, develop alternative energy sources, distribute resources more equitably, and reduce the human population humanely but systematically over time. While civil society organizations push for a mild version of this, the vast majority of the world's people are in the dark, not understanding the challenges ahead, nor the options realistically available.
Powerdown speaks frankly to these dilemmas. Avoiding cynicism and despair, it begins with an overview of the likely impacts of oil and natural gas depletion and then outlines four options for industrial societies during the next decades:
By Richard Heinberg, award-winning author and a member of the core faculty at New College of California.
Oil, Smoke & Mirrors offers a bleaker view of present global circumstances than many of us would dare consider. It deals with issues that are largely marginalised, if not ignored, in the discourse of mainstream media and politics.
However, as the film argues, it may well be that mediated political culture itself which, by sidelining some of the most challenging questions of historical truth in our time, poses the gravest threat to our future.
"I heartily recommend this documentary, it should be watched be every citizen of the U.S." -Dale Allen Pfeiffer, author of Eating Fossil Fuels
Run time: 50 minutes
Bonus Material: 60 minutes