The NFB is committed to respecting your privacy

We use cookies to ensure that our site works efficiently, as well as for advertising purposes.

If you do not wish to have your information used in this way, you can modify your browser settings before continuing your visit.

Learn more

Human Impact on Ecosystems (Ages 18+)

Human Impact on Ecosystems (Ages 18+)

How do we, as a society, affect the world around us? This selection of films demonstrates the relationship between humans and nature, and the potential we have to impact our environment.

Pour visionner cette sélection en français, cliquez ici.

Films in This Playlist Include
Climate on the Edge
Footprints in the Delta
Deep Threat
Manufactured Landscapes
The End of Evolution

  • Climate on the Edge
    campus 2003 | 52 min

    A documentary that gives scientific context to the controversy and debate on climate change. Accessible interviews with climatologists, glaciologists, astrophysicists and oceanographers, juxtaposed with stunning footage, bring understanding to the impact of the melting of the Arctic permafrost and release of greenhouses gases that affect our whole planet.

  • Footprints in the Delta
    1999|43 min

    The Peace-Athabasca River Delta is a stunning habitat. Rivers converge in a rich, marshy wetland before draining into the Slave River. But the Delta is in trouble. Since the building of the WAC Bennett Dam in 1967, annual floodwaters--once the ecosystem's lifeblood--have become a thing of the past. The Delta is drying up, and lakes and wetlands are being replaced by brush. Species like the muskrat are disappearing. Footprints in the Delta explores the changes that have buffeted the region for several decades. Scientists, activists and Indigenous Peoples describe how lives have been fundamentally altered by the changes. And satellite images show the dramatic pace of degradation. Footprints in the Delta is essential viewing for anyone who cares about wetlands. It is a revealing account of the rapid change and environmental havoc humans can bring to a delicate ecosystem.

  • Deep Threat
    1977|7 min

    Zlatko Grgic's short animated film depicts how humans evolved from the sea and the problems that ensued. Using humour, he shows how industry leads to waste and pollution, which in turn wreak havoc on the delicate balance of our ecosystems.

  • Metamorphosis
    campus 2018 | 1 h 24 min

    A poem for the planet, Nova Ami and Velcrow Ripper's film Metamorphosis takes the pulse of our earth and bears witness to a moment of profound change: the loss of one world, and the birth of another. Metamorphosis captures the true scale of the global environmental crisis. Forest fires consume communities, species vanish, and entire ecosystems collapse. Economic growth, tied to increased speed of resource extraction, has created a machine with the capacity to destroy all life. But this crisis is also an opportunity for transformation. Through a tidal flow of stunning images, Metamorphosis carves a path from the present to the future, and offers a bold new vision for humanity and the world.

  • Manufactured Landscapes
    2006|1 h 26 min

    For almost three decades, internationally renowned Canadian artist Edward Burtynsky has been creating large scale photographs of landscapes transformed by industry: quarries, scrap heaps, factories, recycling yards, dams. Manufactured Landscapes follows Burtynsky to China as he travels the country capturing the evidence and effects of China's massive industrial revolution. Rarely witnessed sites such as the Three Gorges Dam (50% larger than any other dam in the world), the interior of a factory which produces 20 million irons a year, and the breathtaking scale of Shanghai's urban renewal are subjects for his lens and our motion picture camera. Shot in sumptuous super 16mm film, Manufactured Landscapes extends the narratives of Burtynsky's photographs, meditating on human impact on the planet without trying to reach simplistic judgements or reductive resolutions. In the process, the film shifts our consciousness about the world and the way we live in it.

  • The End of Evolution
    2001|46 min

    Twice in our planet's history, catastrophic extinctions have nearly wiped out life on earth. According to this startling documentary, a third mass extinction is now unfolding. But this time, the cause is not a volcano or an asteroid crash, it is human devastation of the environment.

    Join Dr. Peter Ward on fascinating expeditions to South Africa, Hawaii and Alberta. As the paleontologist sifts through clues of what went wrong millions of years ago, he discovers trends similar to those occurring today. Ecosystems are being destroyed and species are disappearing at an astounding rate.

    The threat to earth's diversity of life can be clearly linked to carbon dioxide emissions, pollution and global warming. Can the impact of humans on the environment be fatal? Featuring dramatic footage and interviews with experts, this documentary raises urgent questions about our future. Unless the rich biodiversity of the planet is protected, much of life as we know it may vanish.