Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Environmental Footprint of War: New Films

SCARRED LANDS & WOUNDED LIVES: The Environmental Footprint of War
by Alice and Lincoln Day
Program Length: 1/ 60
Format: SD
Version: Base
Closed Captioned: Yes
Stereo: Yes
Short Description: What prompts this film is recognition of our deep dependence on the natural world and the significant threat to that world posed by war and preparations for war. The scale of environmental damage over the last half century is unprecedented. Falling water tables, shrinking forest cover, declining species diversity - all presage ecosystems in distress. These trends are now widely acknowledged as emanating from forces of humanity's own making: massive population increases, unsustainable demands on natural resources, species loss, ruinous environmental practices. Ironically however, war, that most destructive of human behaviors, is commonly bypassed.

In all its stages, from the production of weapons through combat to cleanup and restoration, war entails actions that pollute land, air, and water, destroy biodiversity, and drain natural resources. Yet the environmental damage occasioned by war and preparation for war is routinely underestimated, underreported, even ignored. The environment remains war's "silent casualty."

Activities that do such damage cry out for far-reaching public scrutiny. The very sustainability of our planet is at stake. We can no longer maintain silence about the environmental impact of war on the grounds that such scrutiny is "inconvenient" or "callous" at a time when human life is so endangered.

If we cannot eliminate war, we can at least require a fuller accounting of war's costs and consequences, and demand that destructive forces used in our name leave a lighter footprint on this highly vulnerable planet. It is to this change in values and actions that this documentary film is directed.

AWARDS: Finalist for Wildscreen, the world's largest and most prestigious international wildlife and environmental film festival. Official Selection of Filmanthropy Festival, to showcase films that inspire, educate, raise awareness and motivate so that the audience may, through their eyes, open their minds and their hearts to creating a better world for all.

For more information on Scarred Lands and Wounded lives, or to purchase a copy of the Special Edition DVD, go to: To purchase a copy for school use go to


A page (white on black) to precede the opening of Michael Fitzpatrick’s photo-essay

What We Are Leaving Behind in IraqMichael Fitzpatrick, a former U.S. Army Sergeant and eyewitness to the environmental footprint of war, shares his thoughts and photos.

A documentary film
Produced by Alice and Lincoln Day
with help from Bill Miller, 2010

Interview with Michael Fitzpatrick
by Steve Michelson and Rebecca Holland
Specialty Studios, Lobitos Creek Ranch

The inspiration and basis for this photo-essay is the more than 3,000 photos Michael Fitzpatrick took during his deployment in Iraq 2004-2008. He turned them over to the Days in 2010, after seeing Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives- the Environmental Footprint of War, the film they produced in 2008.

This 19-minute essay thus up-dates and extends the message purveyed by the archival images in Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives.

What we are leaving behind in Iraq
An Interview with Michael Fitzpatrick, Iraq War Veteran

A documentary film, produced by Alice and Lincoln Day
with Steve Michelson, Speciality Studies, Lobitos Creek Ranch, 2010

A former U.S. Army Sergeant, deployed in Iraq 2004-2008, eyewitness to the environmental footprint of war, shares his thoughts and photos.
“And remind them that all this stuff is just sitting
around out there on everyday land, accessible to anyone.
I just walked up on all this stuff and took pictures.”
(Personal message from Michael Fitzpatrick to Alice and Lincoln Day)
Michael Fitzpatrick is a veteran of the Iraq war whom we met at the State University of California (Chico) after a screening there of our film, Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives--The Environmental Footprint of War. He is one of two army veterans we have met in the course of making and screening this film who have expressed a particularly deep concern about the damage caused -- and continuing to be caused -- to the land and the people around them by military activities in which they themselves were intimately involved. The other veteran, James Janko, was a combat medic in the Vietnam War. We met him in the early stages of work on our film. The interview we conducted with him at that time has an important place in our film.

Both of these men returned to civilian life wanting to share their insights about the wounds of war – not just in terms of human life, but also more broadly in terms of damage to the earth as habitat of all living things. After their discharges, they both went to school to hone their communications skills. Janko has, so far, written a number of articles and also a prize-winning novel, ­­Buffalo Boy and Geronimo, based on his Vietnam experience; and Fitzpatrick is currently a student at the California State University (Chico), specializing in philosophy and English language and literature.

While deployed in Iraq, Fitzpatrick took some 3,000 photos that became the inspiration and basis for this 19-minute photo essay. They provide visual testimony to what has happened and continues to happen in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan in consequence of sustained foreign military presence. His interview and photos thus up-date and extend the message purveyed by the archival images in Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives--The Environmental Footprint of War.

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