Sunday, March 9, 2014

Documentary Initial Feelings: CHEMERICAL

Initial Response to Documentary
Redefining Clean for a New Generation


    This documentary looks at the influx of chemicals into developed nations in what most definitely was just a blink of an eye in the context of global history. Most specifically, those chemicals related to home and personal hygeine products. I have positive feelings about this documentary because while its aim is to open people's eyes to how dangerous and pervasive modern chemicals are, it is one of those documentaries which at the same time energizes the viewer with simple steps they can take in their own lives. It is for a similar reason I very much enjoyed the documentary film Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. 

    I think the film would be great for an introductory chemistry class in high schools, or environmental chemistry and practical chemistry courses, but really it should be required viewing for anyone who lives in the developed world. Even if you aren't going to apply these principles in your life right away, it at least encourages thought. The information in the film will not be new to veterans of environmental research. 

  The film is free or available as a low cost rental from many websites so it is worth a look. I've already shunned most manufactured cleaning products from my life, and it helped to have access to stores which sell alternative items, but how great is it that the film provides recipes and the developers of the documentary have even published a book with recipes (although one can easily find recipes online if committed to a google search and some play-time in the kitchen.) 

   To study the topics present in this film in further depth I would recommend reading:
    The Hundred Year Lie- Randall Fitzgerald
     Plastic: A Toxic Love Story- by Susan Freinkel
    Our Stolen Future- by Theo Colborn 
    Silent Spring- by Rachel Carson
    The Autoimmune Epidemic- Donna Jackson Nakazawa    

   Though I find the books less energizing toward practical action, they are more comprehensive in nature in exploring chemicals in every aspect of our lives and more in depth of how they are found in the body and in the home: not just in cleaning and personal care products but they are now medicine, food, clothing, furniture. When you think about the massive scale of these changes and the brevity of the time frame they have occured in, you can't help but wish for a solemn but still energizing film to help us begin to go back to basics and clean up our dirty act. The Earth can never be clean while it is dirtied with these non-biodegradable and fundamentally toxic substances.