You can always tell Earth Day is a comin’ when news outlets drastically amp up their coverage of environmental issues. For months it's dry season, April hits, and then… boom! … a flood of green news. This all depends of course on where you live and what you read but, for the most part, April is the month where you can expect to be inundated with green issues of magazines, TV specials, and eco-themed web content.

Then again, for those who follow environmental news every day it’s hard to understand what the big whoop is. Grist has even begun a Screw Earth Day campaign to draw attention to the fact that April, in their opinion, tends to be a mainstreamed, self-congratulatory green-fest that fades away as quickly as it comes on. 

Personally, I’ve been bogged down with additional green reading as of late (not a bad thing in the least to have a special green issue of The New York Times Magazine to keep me company on the subway) but I welcome it … the more awareness, the better. Bring it on. But, boy, do my eyes get tired.

This is where videos come in handy. I haven’t had a chance to check out the great new programming on Sundance like the second round of Green Porno and Eco Trip, but this clip of a new documentary called The Greening of Southie has me intrigued. It's still making the rounds on the festival circuit, is being screened as part of the Earth Week at Union Halls program, and it's also available on DVD

Directed by Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, The Greening of Southie documents the construction of Boston’s first green residential building, the Macallen Building, in the predominately Irish-Catholic neighborhood of South Boston. In lieu of being told via the POV of developers, architects, and green-minded business and design folk, the film is partially the story of Boston's blue-collar workers, part of America's emerging green-collar workforce, that made the project a reality.

As a former resident of Beantown, I know that it’s a city full of people that are passionate about where they live and what they do; and it appears that the construction of the Macallen Building, fueled by Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and New England pride, is the result of pure, unadulterated passion.

This 73-minute story that’s filled with insight into what it takes to build green, plenty of local color, and some pretty strong Massachusetts accents is worth a look. Take one below. Also check out this great interview from Dwell with Cheney and Ellis.


Images: The Greening of Southie

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Southie really goes green
You can always tell Earth Day is a comin' when news outlets drastically amp up their coverage of environmental issues.