Four years ago Richard Paradise programmed his first Environmental Film Festival on the Vineyard. After all, the Island stands on the front lines of so many issues related to conservation and global warming.

“People here are environmentally conscious,” he said this week while putting the finishing touches on this year’s festival, which begins Thursday, May 24 and runs through Sunday, May 27 at the Film Center in Vineyard Haven. He is also getting ready for the summer season at all three of the theatres he runs. The Capawock Theatre in Vineyard Haven opens on May 24 and the Strand Theatre in Oak Bluffs opens on June 14.

Part of the fun of the festival, he said, is partnering with the Island community. The festival is presented in collaboration with the Vineyard Conservation Society, and also includes guests from around the Island introducing films and leading discussions, from the Fishermen’s Preservation Trust to Polly Hill Arboretum, Island Grown Gleaning, local filmmakers and student artists.

The films span the globe, or rather the universe, from saving elephants in Thailand to a pristine coral reef called Aldabra to deep space — The Farthest is a documentary about the Voyager probe launched in 1977 which still continues to send images from the outer galaxies.

“But no aliens,” Mr. Paradise said with a laugh.

“We try to offer films that give a worldwide perspective but can also be drilled down to local concerns and issues,” he continued.

Films about the environment can be a sad affair, he acknowledged, as so many document the degradation humans continue to wreak on the planet. “But we try to schedule not just doom and gloom,” he said.

As examples of inspirational films he pointed to The Gardener, Living in Future’s Past and Just Eat It, all of which chronicle people working with nature instead of against it, to help insure the planet’s future.

The opening reception is on Thursday at 6:30 p.m., just after the environmental short films and before the opening night film Living in Future’s Past.

And be sure to put Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on the list, when the student artist winners are unveiled. The contest was judged by the Vineyard Conservation Society, and this year’s theme was The Habitat.