Everything's Cool



City Lights Pictures

NEW YORK -- Less about global warming than the politics of global warming, Daniel B. Gold and Judith Helfand's documentary simultaneously induces feelings of hopefulness and dread.

Chronicling the efforts of individuals and organizations to spread the word about potentially disastrous climactic change, "Everything's Cool" still somehow manages to exude a lighthearted air, thanks in no small part to its breezy animated segments created by Jeremiah Dickey and Emily Hubley.

The episodic film concentrates on such figures as activist Bill McKibben, the author of "The End of Nature," seen organizing a grass-roots demonstration; Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Ross Gelbspan, a longtime writer on the subject who has become increasingly pessimistic about solving the problem in time; and authors Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, who shook up the environmental movement considerably with their controversial essay "The Death of Environmentalism."

Also profiled are some rather more tangential personalities, including Weather Channel climatologist Dr. Heidi Cullen, who is seen being made to make her gloomy reports more accessible; and Bish Neuhouser, a Utah ski resort snow groomer on a campaign to convert his vehicles to bio-diesel fuel.

The film also touches on such recent controversies as the censorship of recent government papers on the topic by Philip Cooney, the recently resigned head of the White House's Council on Environmental Quality who previously worked as a lobbyist for the oil industry.

"Cool" ultimately lacks the necessarily sharp focus to make its points with full effectiveness, and segments like the one devoted to the Hollywood climate change disaster movie "The Day After Tomorrow" are more trivial than enlightening. While the film offers plenty of food for thought along the way, it's hard not to wish that it contained more nutritional value.