“Big Ideas for a Small Planet” and New Documentaries to Premiere

April 1st, 2008 at 9:00 pm e/p

For Immediate Release, New York, NY February, 2008– Sundance Channel’s THE GREEN returns for a second season on April 1, 2008 at 9:00 pm with 13 new episodes of the EMA award-winning original eco-series “BIG IDEAS FOR A SMALL PLANET,” new documentaries and new episodes of the interstitial series “ECO-BIZ”™ and “ECOISTS” ™. Simran Sethi and Majora Carter will return as hosts of THE GREEN and will present insights into green issues and eco-heroes.

With the launch of THE GREEN on April 17th, 2007 Sundance Channel became the first television network in the United States to dedicate a major regularly-scheduled programming destination entirely to the environment. As it heads into its second season, THE GREEN offers viewers a focused, entertaining source of information and inspiration about the planet we call home – an approach reflected in the destination’s new tagline, “Prime Time for the Planet.”

In keeping with Sundance Channel’s commitment to giving flight to new voices and revolutionary new ideas, THE GREEN presents a lively mix of original series, documentary premieres and interstitial series about the earth’s ecology, always with an eye toward delivering good stories well told. Its original programs and interstitial segments provide viewers with ideas and tangible opportunities for all facets of their lives, demonstrating how to work green, play green, eat green, dress green and live green. Its documentary presentations survey a broad scope of eco-related topics, from climate change and energy to design, fashion and architecture.

Presented by Robert Redford, THE GREEN is hosted by award-winning journalist Simran Sethi and community advocate and MacArthur Fellow Majora Carter, two dynamic leaders who have distinguished themselves by advancing cutting edge ideas in such areas as civic planning and global business practices.

“BIG IDEAS FOR A SMALL PLANET” is a documentary series presenting the forward-thinking designers, products and processes that are at the forefront of a new green world. 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. The individuals profiled range from scientists to fashion and product designers, and from entrepreneurs to first-time inventors. The series also features a cast of recurring expert commentators, including award-winning scientist, geneticist, and author, Dr. David Suzuki, GOOD Magazine Founder Ben Goldhirsh, Deputy Commissioner for Capital Project for the City of New York Department of Parks and Recreation Amy Freitag and former Talking Heads frontman and bicycle advocate David Byrne who all provide the big-picture context to each week’s stories. “BIG IDEAS FOR A SMALL PLANET” is produced by Scout Productions (“Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” NBC/Bravo and The Fog of War). Season 1 of “BIG IDEAS FOR A SMALL PLANET” received the 2007 Environmental Media Association Award for Best Documentary.

Tuesday, April 1
9:00pm e/p
This episode explores the booming field of alternative energy as it introduces several individuals who are working to develop clean, renewable energy from resources like the sun, wind and even cow manure.
9:35pm e/p
GARBAGE WARRIOR (Original Production) – Directed by Oliver Hodge and co-production of Open Eye Media, ITVS International and Sundance Channel. This inspiring film profiles maverick architect Michael Reynolds, who has spent thirty years developing radically original models of self-sustaining housing near Taos, New Mexico. Working with a crew of like-minded idealists and professionals, Reynolds has channeled his unstoppable imagination into strange yet functional dwellings that are made from garbage like old tires and beer cans. With the colorful, passionate architect at its center, Garbage Warrior traces the ups and downs of an iconoclastic career, from early experiments to heartbreaking setbacks to disaster relief projects at the other end of the world.

Tuesday, April 8
9:00pm e/p

Traditional furniture, carpets and paint can exact a heavy environmental toll, be it in the depletion of virgin forests, the use of petroleum products or toxic emissions from paints and adhesives. But it IS possible to have stylish furnishings without messing up the planet, and this episode will introduce three designers who know how beautifully and conscientiously to feather a nest.
9:35pm e/p
MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES – Directed by Jennifer Baichwal. Photographers like Ansel Adams took as their subject the majesty of the natural world; contemporary photographer Edward Burtynsky also portrays the landscape that surrounds us – only his subjects are the mines, quarries and other man-made vistas that also constitute our “natural” world. Manufactured Landscapes chronicles and expands on Burtysnky’s latest project: documenting China’s epic transformation into an urbanized society. Juxtaposed with the final photos is footage of Burtynsky at work at numerous sites, including a Chinese factory the size of small city; a sprawling recycling dump; and the Three Gorges dam, a gargantuan construction that will ultimately require 15 years to build.

Tuesday, April 15
9:00pm e/p
Water is likely to be a flash point in the 21st Century, as population growth collides with droughts and dwindling reserves. This episode introduces three people who are embracing creative solutions to the looming shortage of drinking water – be it desalinating the ocean, catching rainwater or cleaning up our rivers.
9:35pm e/p
THE NUCLEAR COMEBACK – Directed by Justin Pemberton. In a world living in fear of climate change, the nuclear power industry has put its hand up as a solution. It claims that nuclear power generation produces zero carbon emissions. Though some environmental organizations see nuclear energy as a solution to the growing climate change, others remain wary. This documentary goes on a worldwide tour of the nuclear industry in search of answers while exploring both sides of this growing debate. Produced by Megan Jones and Justin Pemberton.

Tuesday, April 22
9:00pm e/p
Generation Y – the children of baby boomers, now in their late teens to early 20s – came of age to ever-louder warnings of climate change, resource depletion, and species extinction. It’s an eco-aware group, but also one inclined toward buying, eating, traveling and consuming more than any generation before. By blending environmentalism with consumerism, the life choices Gen Y is making right now – how they party, where they go to college, even how they get married – open a fascinating window onto how future generations will care for the earth.
9:35pm e/p
THE GREENING OF SOUTHIE – Directed by Ian Cheney. This documentary goes behind the scenes and onto the scaffolds to follow the construction of Boston’s first green residential building, a luxury condominium complex called the Macallan. Located in the city’s storied working-class neighborhood, South Boston (aka “Southie”), the Macallan was conceived with the ambitious
goal of securing a Gold LEED rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. Moving between the idealistic young development team, a wide range of suppliers, and the seasoned union construction crew, The Greening of Southie maps each step – and occasional misstep — on the Macallan’s road to LEED certification and move-in day.

Tuesday, April 29th
9:00pm e/p
Loss of biodiversity, water depletion, topsoil erosion, carbon emissions: when it comes to conventional farming and industrial food production, the cost goes beyond the supermarket bill. This episode explores the different ways professionals and ordinary people are trying to nourish us with environmentally friendly food and wine.
9:35pm e/p
ALL IN THIS TEA – Directed by Les Blank and Gina Leibrecht. This documentary immerses viewers in the rich world of Chinese tea while profiling the affable Californian importer who has made it his mission to introduce Americans to the brew’s many pleasures. David Lee Hoffman founded Silk Road Teas tea after spending much of 1970s living among the nomadic tribes and Buddhist monks of Asia, for whom tea is a way of life. All In This Tea looks at the history, traditions and intricacies of tea and joins Hoffman on a buying trip to China, where he seeks out small, artisanal growers and tries to persuade Chinese officials to turn away from industrial production in favor of handcrafted, environmentally sustainable tea farming. This is the most recent film from the award-winning documentarian Blank (Burden of Dreams).

Tuesday, May 6th
9:00pm e/p
Environmental consciousness has hit the fashion world in a big way; from T-shirts and jeans to haute couture, style is coming to mean sustainable fabric and earth-friendly manufacturing practices. In this episode, we’ll meet several men and women who are bringing green to fashion, clothing stores and to the dry cleaners, too.
9:35pm e/p
ESCAPE FROM SUBURBIA – Directed by Gregory Greene. Will the American lifestyle – epitomized by the single family home and two-car garage – remain tenable as we advance into an age of declining oil supplies and rising prices? Escape from Suburbia considers the possibilities as it examines the burgeoning grass-roots movement to “power down” from energy-intensive habits. Mixing the stories of ordinary citizens with expert analysis, the film offers an inspiring look at how people are changing their lives and their communities by pulling up stakes, organizing conferences, and even re-thinking local economies.

Tuesday, May 13th
9:00pm e/p
Recycling efforts have come a long way since the bottle bills of the 1970s – a good thing, since the U.S. produces 400 MILLION tons of garbage per year. Individuals and organizations are taking on the challenge of recycling everything from computers to medicine bottles to handbags.
The methods can be can be as simple as re-use, or as technologically sophisticated as chemically transforming one discarded material to create another.
9:35pm e/p
BURNING THE FUTURE: COAL IN AMERICA – Directed by David Novack. This timely documentary takes us to the Appalachian Mountains of southern West Virginia to explore the political, economic and environmental issues surrounding coal, the source of more than half of U.S. electricity. At particular issue is the controversial above-ground mining technique known as mountaintop removal, which is defended as safe by the coal industry but opposed by a growing number of residents who believe it is a threat their land, their health and their unique way of life. Burning the Future offers a penetrating portrait of the hidden cost of coal as it follows the efforts of those trying to halt mountaintop removal, including an ecology professor and a working mother whose Appalachian roots stretch back to the 1700s.

Tuesday, May 20th
9:00pm e/p
Green spaces are essential to the health and welfare of cities and suburbs alike. As urban populations swell, creative environmentalists are scouting surprising spots for vegetation amidst the cement and concrete. Suburbanites lucky enough to have green space are introducing a new level of environmental consciousness to their lawns and gardens.
9:35pm e/p
OFF THE GRID: LIFE IN THE MESA – Directed by Jeremy Stulberg and Randy Stulberg. Some 400 people make their home on a rugged 15-square mile stretch of New Mexico desert known as the Mesa. Devoid of basic amenities like running water, paved roads and power lines, the Mesa isn’t an easy place to live, but it does offer solitude and autonomy to those who need it, as well as an alternative to contemporary consumer society. This candid documentary captures the tenor of a proudly self-contained and democratic society while profiling several residents, including Maine, a magnetic Gulf War veteran; Mama Phyllis, an even-tempered former psychiatric nurse; and Stan, a kindly pig farmer and father figure to the teenage runaways that have come and gone for years.

Tuesday, May 27th
9:00pm e/p
The automobile is still king in America, and it’s the single greatest polluter in most cities. This episode will show us how city governments, private organizations and university scientists are working to get commuters to leave their cars behind for cleaner, more efficient modes of transportation.
9:30pm e/p
CONTESTED STREETS: BREAKING NEW YORK CITY GRIDLOCK – Directed by Stefan Schaefer. Historians, urban planners and archival footage combine to tell the story of New York City’s chronic gridlock and its concurrent quest for safer, less crowded streets. Beginning its tale at the turn of the 20th Century, the film traces the dangers and developments, perspectives and personalities that have shaped the flow and flaws of Manhattan street traffic to the present day. As New York City citizens and government alike seek to reduce congestion, filmmaker Schaefer travels to Europe
to survey new approaches to transportation in three dynamic world capitals: Copenhagen, Paris and London.

Tuesday, June 3rd
9:00pm e/p
The recent building boom – one of the biggest in history – used enormous quantities of resources and generated millions of tons of garbage through the demolition of older structures. This episode surveys some fresh ideas for eco-conscious construction and de-construction.
9:35pm e/p
Weather Report – Directed by Brenda Longfellow. There are places in the world where climate change is not an abstract notion, but a factor in the daily weather report. Weather Report journeys to the frontlines of climate change in the U.S., Canada, Kenya, India and China, visiting ordinary people whose lives and livelihoods are being dramatically impacted by persistent droughts, high winter temperatures, dust storms, sudden monsoons and other extreme weather events. The film also looks at how individuals, communities and companies have begun to reckon with the dangers of a warming earth, and are implementing new approaches to energy production, farming and other environmentally sensitive practices.

Tuesday, June 10th
9:00pm e/p
Corporations have begun embracing green business practices as beneficial to their bottom lines, productivity, and image with consumers. This episode visits companies, large and small, in the eco-vanguard: businesses that are doing well by doing good for the earth.
9:35pm e/p
CRUDE IMPACT– Directed by James Jandak Wood. This award-winning film details the many ways that oil has shaped the world by enabling humankind to dominate virtually every other species living on the planet. The film spans over 150 years as it considers the past, present and future of human oil usage, exploring topics including the science of Peak Oil; the human and environmental toll exacted by oil dependency; and the role of oil in geopolitics. Incorporating with expert analysis by scientists, policymakers and activists, CRUDE IMPACT delivers a message of hope along with its wake-up call, mapping positive actions that individuals can take right now. Social Justice Award, 22nd Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Tuesday, June 17th
9:00pm e/p
It’s hard to resist the siren call of cutting-edge consumer gadgets, but it certainly mitigates guilt if the shiny new toy in question helps repair the planet. In this episode we’ll preview the technology, the products, and the innovators that may re-write our future, whether through circuit boards made from chicken featers or shopping malls powered by the shoppers themselves.
9:35pm e/p
STRAIT THROUGH THE ICE – Directed by Yves Billy. The melting of Arctic polar ice has led to an unexpected and radical geographic development: the emergence of a new maritime route
between the Atlantic and the Pacific that is far shorter than the Panama or Suez Canals. Industrialized nations are keen to exploit the commercial possibilities of the strait, which courses through one of the most vulnerable and biologically unique places on earth. This French documentary explores the critical issues to be resolved by a handful of powerful countries as they weigh economic potential against environmental consequences.

Tuesday, June 24th
9:00pm e/p
Animals don’t generate carbon footprints like we do, but having furry friends living among us is not without ecological impact. From zoos to shelters to pampered pets, this episode will explore how animals’ diets and living environments are increasingly reflecting the “green-ness” of their human guardians.
9:35pm e/p
THE GREAT WARMING– Directed by Michael Taylor. Narrated by Alanis Morissette and Keanu Reeves, “The Great Warming” explores how a changing climate is affecting the lives of people around the world. The film taps into the growing groundswell of public interest in climate change to present both an emotional and an accurate picture of the future of our planet. It includes comments from scientists, opinion-makers, and the emerging voice of the American Evangelical community about America’s lack of leadership in one of the most critical environmental issue of the 21st century.

“ECO-BIZ”™ – These news segments exploring financial aspects of environmental innovation in business will profile individuals who are visionary in strategy and have worked to establish more environmentally sustainable policies, innovative eco-friendly business tactics, and the subsequent impact to the bottom line. Companies profiled include: New Leaf Paper, Recyclebank, Living Homes, Green Dimes, Plenty Magazine, Ozo Car, G Diapers and Organic Bouquet. “ECO-BIZ” is hosted by Simran Sethi and produced by NBC News.

“The ECOISTS”™ – Some of today’s most active and recognizable environmental activists share ideas, information and enthusiasm about their cause of choice. Participants include Sheryl Crow, Laurie David, Carole King, Stephanie Powers and Kerry Washington. “The ECOISTS” is produced by Kontent Real.

Host Simran Sethi is an award-winning environmental journalist and the Lacey Haynes Professional Chair at the University of Kansas School of Journalism. She is also the contributing environmental correspondent for NBC News. She produced and anchored the news for MTV Asia, co-created the MTV India news division, and developed programming for the BBC through her independent production
company SHE TV. Simran also wrote and hosted “Ethical Markets,” the first national program reporting on corporate social responsibility and sustainable business practices that aired on PBS, and is a contributing author of the companion book Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy. Simran began her television career at MTV News in the United States, where she worked on award-winning productions including “Hate Rock,” “Sex in the 90′s” and “Help Not Wanted.” She holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and a BA in Sociology and Women’s Studies from Smith College.

Host Majora Carter connects poverty alleviation & the environment in ways that benefit both concerns, demonstrating Clean-Tech solutions for our most persistent urban public health and global climate concerns. By creating positive physical environments, demonstrating cool and green roof technologies, working to replace an under-utilized expressway with local-value driven development, and the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training program, Majora is creating a skilled green-collar workforce with personal & economic stakes in their urban environment. Born and raised in the South Bronx, Majora continues to live and work in the environmentally challenged community. She founded Sustainable South Bronx in2001 to fight for Environmental Justice through innovative, economically sustainable projects that are informed by community needs. She is a MacArthur “Genius” grantee, a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, and co-founder of Green For All with Van Jones.

“BIG IDEAS FOR A SMALL PLANET” is executive produced by Michael Williams, David Collins and David Metzler from Scout Productions and is overseen for Sundance Channel by Senior Vice President, Original Programming and Development Lynne Kirby and Director, Original Programming and Development Samuel J. Paul.

THE GREEN is presented by Lexus Hybrid Living and Citi Smith Barney.