A Concerned Citizen

A CONCERNED CITIZEN documents the work of Dr. Riki Ott, a citizen activist who predicted the Exxon Valdez oil spill hours before it happened and came to the aid of her Alaskan community in their battle to get fair compensation for their loss of health and income.

More recently Riki, a toxicologist, author, and activist, has been organizing the Gulf coast communities as they struggle to recover from the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. Taking the lessons she learned as an activist, she is also spearheading the campaign called Ultimate Civics, a complete civics curriculum she developed that empowers students to participate in their democracy. Recognizing the power of money in politics she advocates for a constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood, and to reform campaign finance laws. She lectures nationally and internationally, inspiring students from fifth grade through universities and adults to take action and showing by example how one person can make a difference.
'It is my hope that, as people's health, livelihoods, and property are harmed by these extreme oil activities, people will understand the need to shift off oil to safer energy options and take action to achieve true energy independence. This is the movement that I see growing in all regions of our country.'

'A Concerned Citizen presents complex ecological problems and troubling trends. This is a clarion call for people to get savvy and reclaim democracy by speaking out. See this film; be dedicated, persevere, and be the change. We'll all be healthier if you do, including the planet.' Rob Moir, President and Executive Director, Ocean River Institute

'This film is not just about oil spills and environmental activism. It is about the critical link between the concentration of economic power, and how that has led to the concentration of political power. Every citizen, regardless of where they are in the political spectrum, needs to understand how political polarization is driven by wealth polarization. We can have a more responsive democracy by learning the lessons offered in this film.' Daniel Craig McCool, Professor Emeritus, Political Science, University of Utah, Author, River Republic: The Rise and Fall of America's Rivers

'Dr. Ott has used her voice as a scientist, activist, and citizen of the world to bring attention to the dangers of our fossil fueled society and the disproportionate health and environmental impacts experienced by people of color and low income communities. The reason why this film is powerful is because this story doesn't end with telling us about the problems we face. Instead, it provides the viewer with both a history of how we got into this environmental mess, as well as a roadmap for how to move forward...Best of all, we learn about ways that we all can get involved in creating authentic democracy. Highly recommended!' Anne Miller, Coordinator, South Seattle Climate Action Network

'A Concerned Citizen beautifully captures the sights and sounds of the places and people that Riki has dedicated her life to protecting and educating. We see the ecosystems in peril and hear the concern of citizens, and then experience Riki's approach to empowering communities through knowledge and the confidence to act. Through testimonials and her own insights, viewers walk away inspired by her life's work and catalyzed to take action.' Jenny Wiedower, Senior Manager, K-12 Education, U.S. Green Building Council

'Excellent...Dr. Riki Ott's sense of the future follows a vector that leans toward those who will celebrate Earth Day in 2101. That vector is civics. It gives permission for youth to argue that their inheritance trumps short term gain because Ultimate Civics teaches them to give themselves permission to shape now what only they will live to see in 2101.' Don Bunger, retired teacher, Highline High School

'Riki is one of the everyday citizens who will inspire more grassroots heroes and activists in America. They are sorely needed in this day and age.' Hugh Kaufman, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

'A Concerned Citizen is terrific, especially at the time of the Youth Climate Strike. This film documents the movement to curb the accumulating disaster of the fossil fuel economy and revitalize our democracy. It ranges from an eloquent scientist-activist to the accelerating student protest movement. It couldn't be more timely or informative, and is inspiring for a wide range of audiences.' Richard Tucker, Adjunct Professor, Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan

'This beautifully shot film uses one woman's story to give a powerful message about the link between threats to democracy and threats to the environment. It reminds us that each individual has a role to play and that 'science and civics...go hand in hand.'' Susan Clayton, Professor of Psychology and Environmental Studies, College of Wooster

'Riki Ott is a tireless scientist/activist/educator who has devoted her life helping people and communities across the country take back their destiny fighting corporate greed and government regulatory failure. This inspiring film captures her indefatigable spirit and passion for democracy and a sustainable planet. Let it inspire others to take up the cause she so ably champions.' David Donnenfield, Educational Technology/Filmmaker

'Riki Ott has worked, like so many activists before her, to protect us from allegedly 'safe' chemicals and 'harmless' environmental issues pushed by corporate interests and enabled by weak government oversight. But today, with our political system increasingly stripped of its democratic underpinnings and beholden to wealth, the need to address the links between ecological threats and economic/political ones has never been more pressing. This film shows us how to take that battle forward.' Brian Allen Drake, Senior Lecturer, Environmental History, University of Georgia, Author, Loving Nature, Fearing the State: Environmentalism and Antigovernment Politics before Reagan

'A must see video for anyone who wonders what he/she can do to change the world and needs a spark of inspiration. Like Riki Ott, we may begin to question one social problem (such as oil spills) and find that it leads us down a path to addressing an even bigger problem (decline of democracy), in ways that we never even imagined.' Lisa Eargle, Professor and Chair of Sociology, Francis Marion University, Editor, Black Beaches and Bayous: The BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Disaster

Citation

Main credits

Ott, Riki (on-screen participant)
Boudart, Bo (film director)
Boudart, Bo (film producer)
Boudart, Bo (screenwriter)
Boudart, Bo (videographer)
Utell, Susan (editor of moving image work)
Utell, Susan (screenwriter)

Other credits

Editor, Susan Utell; music composer, Malcolm Payne.


Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Activism
American Studies
Anthropology
Business Practices
Citizenship and Civics
Climate Change/Global Warming
Education
Energy
Environment
Environmental Justice
Geography
Government
Health
Law
Marine Biology
Political Science
Social Justice
Social Work
Sociology
Toxic Chemicals

Keywords

Dr. Riki Ott, marine toxicology, fishing communities, Exxon Valdez, Deepwater Horizon, civics course, young activists, whistleblower, Alaska, compensation, loss of health, loss of income, toxicology, organizing Gulf Coast communities, Ultimate Civics curriculum, money in politics, constitutional amendment, end corporate personhood, one person can make a difference, extreme oil activities, safer energy options, energy independence, activism, civics, climate change, riki ott, environmentalism, environmentalists, campaign finance, campaign finance reform, citizens united, corporate personhood, protest movements, youth movements, fossil fuels, oil spill, oil pollution, deepwater horizon, toxicology, toxicologists, move to amend; "A Concerned Citizen"; Bullfrog Films