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2013 Knossus, Inc.

courtesy of Video Librarian

(1994) 64 min. $75, Knossus, Inc. PPR. Color cover.

If they made a movie about ecological outlaws - something along the lines of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - one of the outlaws would have to be the late R. Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller who was building geodesic domes way before guys started wearing hair down to their butts. In fact, Fuller was designing energy efficient houses and cars as far aback as the late 1920's. His legacy lives on, and Ecological Design: Inventing the Future, an overview of new environmentally healthy design concepts narrated by actress Linda Hunt, is a thought-provoking and occasionally eye-popping look at what Fuller's heirs are doing today. Biologist John Todd shows his viewers his "living machine" systems, remarkable water tanks where contaminated water is filtered through a contaminated water is filtered through a variety of organisms that eat yucky stuff, eventually purifying the water without using any toxic chemicals whatsoever. Inventor Paul Macready, having created the gossamer airplane (an extremely light one-passenger plane fueled only by human leg power), rolled out the GM Impact in 1990, a battery-powered car that can go from 0-60 m.p.h. very quickly (just like the gas hogs do). Some of the visionaries profiled in Ecological Design haven't created anything per se, but they're nevertheless making a huge difference: Jaime Lerner, mayor of the large Brazilian city of Curatiba, for example, has a good deal going - he trades food and tokens for recyclable garbage, and welcomes entrepreneurs who collect from their neighbors and try to bring in the biggest carload. Winner of a CINE Golden Eagle and other awards, Ecological Design reshapes the way we think about the world - no small feat in itself - and offers intriguing alternatives for the future. Highly recommended.