Winter. For many of us, the season means hot chocolate, winter sports, exercise indoors, and the classic American pastime—movie night. So, if you find yourself caught in a chilly day, and are in the mood for popcorn and a good flick at home, check out the following movies that have environmental or clean energy innuendoes/themes:

  • Back to the Future—In parts II and III of the popular series, the DeLorean time machine was powered by the Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor. In the end of the first movie, we see Dr. Emmett Brown putting a banana peel, beer (and the can), and other waste products into the Mr. Fusion unit, and in turn, suggesting that the car's flux capacitor is run on biomass energy [1]. Another interesting tidbit is that the cool DeLorean car that was featured in the series is actually being made in real life as an electric vehicle [2].
  • Avatar—This 3D box office megahit carries a strong environmental theme. The film's depiction of corporate mining for unobtanium in the Na'vi lands is a futuristic caricature of the oil and coal extraction that we're familiar with here on Earth. The film shows the damage to wildlife habitats and impacts on the livelihoods of native residents from the excessive exploitation of interplanetary mineral resources. In his interviews on the film, Avatar Director James Cameron has urged the rapid transition to renewable energy [3].
  • Iron Man—Tony Stark, the superhero of this Marvel Comics hit flick, owns a shiny battery-powered Tesla Roadster, boosting the appeal of the electric vehicle. In real life, Hollywood stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz bought the Toyota Prius in 2001, helping to kick off the hybrid car boom. Actor Ed Begley, Jr. [4], one of Hollywood's prominent environmentalists, has owned electric vehicles since the 1970s. Find out more about advanced vehicle technologies [5].
  • An Inconvenient Truth—Last, but certainly not least, is former Vice President Al Gore's documentary on climate change. The end of the movie features simple, effective steps that consumers can take to save energy and money in their home, such as using energy-efficient lighting [6], installing a programmable thermostat [7], choosing energy-efficient appliances [8], and getting a home energy assessment [9].

All you clean energy/environment-loving movie fans out there, please chime in with your thoughts or suggestions in the comments section below.

John Chu is a Communications Specialist with the Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.