2016 Films

Alabama the Beautiful

Alabama’s State Park System spans from the Appalachian Mountains to the Gulf Coast, offering a diverse mix of terrains, ecosystems and natural wonders that are beloved by visitors and residents statewide. But keeping these precious public lands funded has been a constant battle in the face of state agency deficits and budget cuts. This is the story of those working to preserve the state parks and how Alabamians can advocate for their protection. Directed by Mary D. Recio.

Waste Not Want Not

Alabama is the dumping ground for other states’ garbage due to extremely low dumping fees, which continue to incentivize this antiquated approach to waste management. At the same time, the rise of recycling has proven to be a vital and growing business model that is creating jobs and raising revenue statewide. Take a look behind-the-scenes at the scale and scope of the international recycling industry housed in Alabama, and the role citizens and businesses play in shifting toward more sustainable solutions to address waste. Directed by Scott Schimmel.

Birmingham to the Gulf

For over 100 years, Alabama’s rivers have been put to work with dams and navigation locks--sometimes with high ecological costs. As these structures age and with some no longer serving their original purpose, the idea of reconnecting rivers becomes a realistic possibility. In looking comprehensively at river management decisions and questioning the impacts of dams on Alabama’s waterways, its wildlife and its people, the vitality and biodiversity of connecting Birmingham to the Gulf is imagined. Directed by Matthew Grcic.

Herald of the Sea

Alabamians know oysters as a delicious delicacy, but they are also a crucial species that clean our waters and protect our shorelines. Already stressed due to ongoing pollution and water degradation, oyster populations were hit hard by the BP oil spill while ongoing oil and gas exploration and the potential for future spills leave them vulnerable. Through Southern Exposure’s first animated film, we trace the impacts on the ecological power of oysters as the herald of our Gulf, telling us whether our oceans are healthy or in peril. Directed by Celine Schmidt.

Good Housekeeping

Low-income residents pay close to half of their income on energy costs, a significant barrier from moving out of poverty. While Alabama ranks near the bottom nationwide in energy efficiency policy, the emergence of residential programs offering easy, affordable energy efficiency additions is bringing down those costs. Learn about how these energy-saving opportunities are helping to alleviate financial burdens and reduce pollution, and the policy changes needed to create broader access to energy efficiency programs. Directed by Liza Slutskaya.

What a Waste

People believe that what they flush down the toilet gets cleaned at a wastewater treatment facility. But in Alabama, the lack of funding to repair and maintain aging infrastructure often leads to untreated wastewater being dumped in places where families swim, paddle and fish. Even worse, there is no comprehensive system to notify the public when water quality has been compromised. In the absence of agency enforcement, how can citizens take action and hold these facilities accountable? Directed by Cai Thomas.

Take Action, Get Involved

The most effective way to spur change and make a difference is by taking action—find out how you can get involved in the pressing issues featured in the Southern Exposure films by clicking on the action alert located below each video.

Special thanks to our partner groups who make the Southern Exposure films possible—click below for more information about these organizations and how you can help to protect Alabama's environment:

Alabama Coastal Heritage TrustAlabama Environmental CouncilAlabama Rivers Alliance Black Warrior RiverkeeperCahaba RiverkeeperCahaba River SocietyChoctawhatchee RiverkeeperCoosa RiverkeeperDog River Clearwater RevivalEnvironmental Education Association of AlabamaFresh Air FamilyFriends of the Locust Fork RiverGASPHurricane CreekkeeperMobile BaykeeperSave Our ShoalsShoals Environmental AllianceSoutheastern Cave ConservancySouthern Environmental Law CenterTennessee RiverkeeperWeeks Bay FoundationWildSouth