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BetteBack: “Earth and the American Dream”

HBO TRACES EARTH’S ENVIRONMENTAL HISTORY.(TELEVISION)
Article from:Albany Times Union (Albany, NY) Article date:April 18, 1993
Byline: Tribune Media Service

On Earth Day, television will offer 500 years’ worth of reasons to honor the occasion … in the course of 90 minutes.

Debuting Thursday on HBO, “Earth and the American Dream” is the latest documentary from award-winner Bill Couturie (“Dear America: Letters Home From Vietnam,” “Common Threads: Stories From the Quilt“), tracing the history of the planet’s environment from the time of Columbus’ 1492 voyage to the present.

The voices of many actors — including Edward Asner, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Lee Grant, recent Oscar-winner Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Lemmon, Bette Midler and Christopher Reeve — orate relevant writings of Henry David Thoreau, John James Audubon, George Washington, Henry Ford and Will Rogers.

“When I did the research on this,” Couturie says, “I saw that really, our attitudes haven’t changed. Our technology has gotten more destructive and our population has grown markedly, and that is why the pollution and the environmental degradation have gotten so terrible.”

Still, Couturie adds that there is cause for ecological hope, and it boils down to individual responsibility: “Earth doesn’t have the problem; it is in the way we live our lives.”

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