The 8 Sustainability Documentaries To Inspire Discussion And Change
Knowledge is power, and in the case of protecting the planet, the more we know about our impact and what we can do to reduce our carbon footprint, the better. From uncovering the issues within fashion to delving into sustainable farming, each of these insightful documentaries highlights environmental issues worth educating yourself on, as well as inspiration for how to live more sustainably.
I Am Greta
Arguably the world’s most renowned climate activist today, Greta Thunberg’s story and campaign for change deservedly made the subject of a must-watch documentary. I Am Greta follows the Swedish teen on her ongoing fight for climate justice, from her first ‘school strike for climate change’ campaign to her 2018 United Nations speech and sailing journey.
The Biggest Little Farm
The Biggest Little Farm is an informative documentary spotlighting the highs and lows of sustainable farming, directed by John Chester. It follows the 8-year journey of Chester and his wife Molly as they move to Apricot Lane Farms in Moorpark, California, and transform it into a biodiverse and environmentally-friendly estate.
Minimalism: A Documentary
Minimalism: A Documentary was released on Netflix in 2016, yet it’s still sparking discussions today. Exploring all walks of life, it examines why we always want more: more clothes, more furniture, more of everything. Filmmakers – Joshua Fields Millburn, Ryan Nicodemus, and Matt D’Avella – urge us to question what we really need and explain how living with less is beneficial for both us and the planet. This is an eye-opening watch to encourage us to try and get less caught up in consumerism.
A Netflix original exploring commercial fishing and the harm that humans can cause to marine wildlife. From the makers of Cowspiracy, Seaspiracy not only spotlights the environmental effects of the fishing industry, but it also investigates the supposed secrecy and controversy surrounding the trade. Although there have been criticisms of this documentary since its release, with accusations of misrepresentation and out-of-context interviews, it’s still an undeniably interesting watch and could encourage us to research further and develop our own discussions around the fishing trade.
If you haven’t already dipped into this eight-part documentary from national treasure David Attenborough (where have you been?) it’s the perfect place to begin when educating yourself on our planet. Journeying from the ‘frozen worlds’ being devastated by climate change to jungles and rainforests filled with fascinating wildlife, it’s both exhilarating and educational, whilst emphasising the importance of safeguarding our earth.
David Attenborough: The Life On Our Planet
Once you’re up-to-date with Attenborough’s life’s work, tune into his 2020 film which was released last year, which is his witness statement for the natural world and vision for the future. Throughout his career, Attenborough has experienced the scale of environmental change first-hand, and in this latest film, he takes the time to reflect on these devastating shifts, whilst discussing how we can now address the bigger challenges our planet faces.
Every year, 100,000 tons of donated and discarded clothes make their way across the Ocean to developing countries. Unravel is a short documentary directed by Meghna Gupta, following a young woman working in an Indian textile recycling factory, who longs to travel the world, in the same way, the clothing that reaches her does. It offers an insight into the lives of those who turn our waste back into thread daily.
This documentary was led by conservationist Mark Angelo and takes us around the world to compare some of the most healthy free-flowing rivers with some of the most polluted. Narrated by Jason Priestley, it examines the destruction of some of the planet’s most vital rivers through the manufacturing of our clothing, the effect of this on humanity, as well offering solutions to inspire hope for a sustainable future.