Climate change, endangered species and Canadian wildlife — these films have it all
By Devon Harvey
On April 22nd, Earth Day is celebrated worldwide. The purpose of this day should be to reflect on how our way of life impacts the planet. What better way to do it than spending the day watching Canadian productions about issues facing the planet and the natural world?
The following films are all either linked to Canada’s wildlife and ecosystem, or directed or produced by Canadians. Each of these films has something to say about nature and what’s happening to the planet, urging people to listen.
This film focuses heavily on climate change and takes place primarily in the natural lands of British Columbia. Directed by Roland Emmerich, 2012 brings attention to how the earth is being altered as a cause of climate change and what could theoretically occur to the planet if negative climate change continues.
In 2018, the BBC News reported that if countries do not act on climate change, temperatures may rise by 4.5 C by the year 2100. A temperature rise of more than 1.5 C could be detrimental to the planet according to researchers. That’s why it’s more important now than ever to take this issue seriously.
2012 is a film meant to scare us into action. Canadians even more so as it is filmed primarily in our home country and shows exactly what could happen to Canada’s land.
Directed and produced by Canadian filmmaker Rob Stewart, this film focuses on sharks and bringing attention to their nonviolent nature. The documentary details how due to hunting, shark finning and illegal killing for their meat, 90 per cent of the shark population has been killed.
According to Oceana EU, sharks play an important role in ecosystems by maintaining the population of species they feed on and indicating the health of the ocean itself. If sharks were removed from the ecosystem larger predatory fish would grow in numbers and eat all of the herbivore fish. This would make the ecosystem dominated by algae and alter the ability of the reef to survive.
By showing the nonviolent nature of these animals, Stewart brings attention to the dying population of sharks and how detrimental their extinction would be to the ecosystem. Stopping the hunting and poaching of sharks is important in the maintaining of the earth’s natural spaces.
Produced and directed by Jeff and Sue Turner, Wild Canada is a CBC mini series focusing on profiling Canada’s natural environment. Using high-definition videos, the film brings attention to the state that Canadian wildlife is in.
In terms of Canadian natural spaces, according to The Canadian Encyclopedia habitat fragmentation is one of the biggest threats to national parks. This means that species within the parks may not survive in the long run unless various conservation measures are taken.
When talking about climate change and the alteration of nature it may be difficult to associate those changes directly with one’s homeland. This mini series offers insight into the natural world of Canada and the struggles surrounding it.
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
This film was directed by an all Canadian team: Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier. Baichwal and de Pencier also produced the film.
The film showcases the effects that humans have on the natural world. This includes: seawalls in China, the largest terrestrial machines from Germany, the devastation of Great Barrier Reef in Australia and much more.
National Geographic reported a 2016 study that found that three-quarters of the earth’s surface is under pressure from humans and their activity. Anthropocene: The Human Epoch offers insight into the effects that human activity has on the planet and visually documents what is happening to the Earth’s natural spaces.
This film is set to inform the global population into conservation action.
North of Superior
Directed and produced by Canadian filmmaker Graeme Ferguson, this film focuses on the northern lands of Ontario. The film follows the changes of the seasons in Canada and a devastating forest fire.
According to Natural Resources Canada over 8000 fires occur every year and they burn an average of 2.1 million hectares. Even though wildfires play a role in shaping ecosystems they are still deadly and can be harmful to the natural world, animals and humans alike.
An article from National Geographic recognizes that natural occurring wildfires are integral to ecosystems. They return nutrients to the land, act as a disinfectant and allow sunlight to reach forest floors. However, man made fires do not work in the same fashion.
North of Superior illustrates that the beauty of Canada exists all year round and informs the public that natural wildfires can be beneficial to ecosystems, it is the man made fires that are harmful.
Keep these Canadian films, documentaries and the issues they tackle in mind and on your watch list as Earth Day approaches.