I've been teaching Bill McKibben's Deep Economy in my ethics class all year and have been collecting videos to go along with our discussions. My students love McKibben's chapter on eating local foods. To most of them, it's completely novel to think about where their food comes from. And they love to eat. So of course it's exciting that they can eat a meal and at the same time have it be an intellectual exercise.
But they get very defensive when it comes to talking about suburbs and the community (or lack of it) that is typical of American neighborhoods. For those that have grown up in suburbs (which is most of them), they know no other world. In fact, I not uncommonly hear that Rochester is a dangerous city and that their parents have counseled them never to go downtown and certainly never to go downtown alone. (I should mention that other than the public housing that is downtown, there is also the highly respectable Eastman School of Music, a lively bar scene, and a 5-screen independent cinema which specializes in foreign films.) What I would like to do is take them on a field trip.
Barring that, I'll take the confrontational approach and show this video of James Howard Kunstler pontificating on why suburbs are "not worth caring about" and on big box stores, that "when we have enough of them, we're going to have a nation that's not worth defending." Nothing like a radical to put a moderate position into perspective. Is the language too strong? I think anything is fair game these days.