America's mass of public lands are a source of wonder and prosperity for the people. Throughout the country, generations of families have grown up on these lands, and derived great support and spiritual meaning from its awe-inspiring gifts. But the majesty of these lands is dwindling, and the long-held ways of life for these families are being threatened consistently by the federal government, the wealthy elite, and private business interests. Executive produced by noted filmmaker and fervent environmental activist Robert Redford, the beautifully assembled feature-length documentary Public Trust: The Fight for America's Public Lands explores the battle between these interests and the unwavering will of the people.
640 million acres of public land are available to the American people and are used for revitalizing outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, and rock climbing. Public parks and nature trails are often constructed on these sites as well, and generations of indigenous peoples continue to reside on many of them.
But this land is also a potential cash cow for corporate interests as they may harbor an endless underground well of oil, gas, coal deposits and uranium. As these corporations continue to claim and consume these lands - especially in the face of limited regulations - the environmental devastation has become apparent. The topography is being mangled, and the waters are becoming grossly contaminated. From the mountainous plains of Utah to the Florida Everglades, these land masses and complicated ecosystems are being irrevocably disrupted. Environmental protections often erode when there's money to be made.
These nefarious efforts are being criticized, protested, and occasionally thwarted by throngs of conscientious activists who are unafraid to speak truth to power. This David and Goliath showdown constitutes the heart of the film.
The film introduces us to the citizens who are proud to proclaim an ancestry that has lived and flourished on these lands for centuries, as well as climate change activists who strive to hold government forces to task for their negligence of these precious natural resources. They testify to the activities of the current administration, which they claim are endangering the future of the planet in favor of greed and energy dominance.