This is a guest post by environmental activist and film critic Harold Linde.
At first glance, there’s nothing particularly environmental-conscious about the recently released zombie-infested film "The Crazies." Like most every other film of the genre, zombies take over a tiny rural town in Kansas and attempt to kill all the non-zombies. So why, you ask, is political activist film house Participant Productions distributing the fillm?
Participant was founded by EBay-billionaire Jeff Skoll to “tell compelling, entertaining stories that also create awareness of the real issues that shape our lives..." Skoll set up a partner nonprofit foundation called TakePart which encourages moviegoers to get involved in social action campaigns corresponding to each of the company's films.
So what social action could possibly accompany a zombie movie?
"The Crazies" is actually a remake of the rarely-seen George Romero cult film of the same name. Romero is the grandfather of the modern zombie genre, and he laced his films with astute and biting social commentary on everything from rampant American consumerism to the Vietnam War.
In this more modern version, a U.S. government plane accidentally crashes in a lake outside a small midwestern town—tainting the local water supply with a biochemical weapon that turns the local population into bloodthirsty zombies.
According to the Greenpeace website, over 110 million Americans are at serious risk from chemical factories with inadequate protection against terrorism or accident. The Department of Homeland Security has currently identified over 6,000 “high-risk” chemical plants on American soil.
As a result, a terrorist or accidental chemical catastrophe could far surpass the casualties of 9/11. Greenpeace reminds us that the Bhopal chemical leak in India killed 20,000 people from an accident that occurred in a fertilizer factory. These types of events could very well happen in the U.S. if something is not done to secure the most dangerous facilities.
There are five distinct ways to take action in "The Crazies" Action Campaign:
- Help to pass a national chemical security legislation
- Locate hazardous chemical facilities in your state
- Demand justice and accountability for the victims and survivors of Bhopal
- Find out about potential contaminants in your local water source
- Learn about the health hazards of common household chemicals
Harold Linde has worked with environmental groups such as Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, Forest Ethics, PETA, and the Ruckus Society before turning his hand to producing environmental film and television projects such as "11th Hour", "Big Ideas for a Small Planet", "30 Days", and "Edens: Lost and Found". Michelle Rodriquez plays him in the opening of "Battle in Seattle" — a feature film that dramatizes a group of radical environmental activists fighting against the WTO.