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Raising Awareness Through DVDs and Charities: A Holiday Gift Idea

Original Article for Natural News

This past year a number of documentaries have made headlines due to the multitude of Hollywood heavyweights supporting the films and fortunately, bringing much needed attention to various issues, conditions, and concerns around the world. The following list of documentaries are not only documenting the problem but are also offering solutions. Not everyone can afford to donate a million dollars to a charity. However, in countries where people are struggling to meet the most basic of human needs, a little goes a long way. Instead of walking out of a film and feeling powerless or depressed, and ultimately cynical, the following documentaries invite us to raise our consciousness by keeping informed, creating awareness in our communities, and realizing our power to contribute and change the course of events by way of positive action.

In each film, the resilience and power of the human spirit in the most desperate of circumstances is demonstrated repeatedly. These films have the power to affect by shifting the viewer into heightened states of awareness and gratitude and moving people to act. Learning about other's life experiences around the world - how they overcome the most astonishing tragedies and yet are able to move forward with perseverance and courage and ultimately succeed, the way other cultures and communities live and fight for survival daily - has the power to move you and challenge you to take more action in your every day life by being the positive change you want to see in the world and by recognizing the interconnectedness of all and living from that knowledge.

This holiday season consider watching and discussing the following films with your families, giving DVDS to the film buffs on your Christmas list, or making a tax deductible donation on behalf of your loved ones. It's quick and easy one stop shopping and can be completed online just in time for Christmas.

Christopher Reeve: Hope In Motion

Newly released on DVD and directed by Christopher Reeve's son, Christopher Reeve: Hope In Motion, includes two all access documentaries that delve into the aftermath of Christopher's debilitating horse-riding accident. The honesty, ambition, commitment, and ultimately passion from which Christopher lived despite his physical limitations, and the many contributions he made in his short time here as documented in this film will astound and inspire daily.

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation -

Arctic Tale

Arctic Tale (now available on DVD, from the makers of March Of The Penguins/An Inconvenient Truth and narrated by Queen Latifah) follows the growth of a baby polar bear and a baby walrus to adulthood and finally, parenthood. Unfortunately, it also documents the devastating and sometimes deathly conditions and consequences of global warming on the environment and the animals that live there.

As the credits roll, one of the many suggestions offered is to plant more trees to combat global warming. (NaturalNews has previously published articles on the effects of deforestation in relation to global warming). TreePeople and David Wolfe's non-profit foundation plant trees, as well as fruit trees, to combat both environmental issues and famine.

David Wolfe's The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation -

TreePeople -

God Grew Tired Of Us

While greatly disturbing and supremely uplifting all at the same time, God Grew Tired Of Us (2006 Sundance Award Winner, now available on DVD) tracks a group of Sudanese refugees, mostly orphans known as the Lost Boys, over a period of years. They fled genocide in Sudan to a desert where they raised themselves with thousands of others. Many had lost their families or watched them brutally raped, tortured, or murdered. They faced starvation and death on a daily basis. Eventually, through the United Nations, a number of these refugees were brought over and assimilated into the United States. The film continues to observe the many hardships and difficult adjustments the refugees experienced upon arrival in the United States, in addition to their reflections on American culture and the things Americans may take for granted.

The atrocities these boys, now men, faced never stopped them, but led them to take action by creating awareness of the situation in Sudan abroad and by sending their savings back to Africa, amongst other deeds of selflessness, responsibility, and hope. Presently, they are working to rebuild their communities back home.

John Dau Sudan Foundation -

Sand And Sorrow

Sand And Sorrow, now showing on HBO and available for purchase on January 29, 2008, is a documentary narrated by George Clooney and features interviews with Senator Barack Obama and Holocaust survivor/author Elie Wiesel, amongst many others. This documentary covers multiple aspects of the genocide occurring in Darfur: from pondering the lack of response by the international community to the political issues involved to world wide ramifications. The effects on the community and the children, and the targeting of women through gang rape are also exposed. The film concludes with how we can support the healing, independence, and reconstruction of their community as opposed to just providing life-long support, as well as hinting at the spiritual aspect of our interconnection to one another as human beings. As Holocaust survivor/author Elie Wiesel concludes, "There is here". As with each of the foundations and documentaries that have been mentioned, Sand And Sorrow strongly points out what we are capable of achieving and how strong and powerful we truly are if we continue toseek knowledge and take positive action.

Save Darfur Coalition -

"Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love." - Hamilton Wright Mabie

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