6 Must-Watch Documentaries About Sustainability
When you are interested in a subject but don’t really know where to start to learn about it, where do you go? Sometimes there is no better way to get to understand a topic more than through images. Even more so, documentaries that are both informative and humane can help us dissect a theme in more depth than mere words ever could. In the case of such a complex subject as sustainability, many people have turned to documentary series and films to grasp the concept in its entirety through the many angles it tackles.
However, with more and more documentaries coming out, which ones are the best ones to be introduced to environmentalism, the struggles the planet currently faces, and the sustainable efforts that the world is making to save it? We have compiled 6 of the best documentaries to get you started on your sustainability journey, from political rallying to discovering the beauty of nature and so on, so sit back and enjoy!
1. Before The Flood (2016)
This National Geographic documentary follows the one and only Leonardo DiCaprio, also a designated UN Messenger of Peace on climate change, around the world exploring the causes of climate change and its effects in many parts of the globe. As he sees the detriment that rising temperatures have caused in nature over the years, he also speaks to various activists and industry people bent on saving the planet at all costs. Leo himself expresses he is attempting to understand the density of the problem and how it can be solved on an individual and political level throughout the doc, so we consider this to be a must-watch for those who wish to be introduced to the topic. It is as heartfelt as it can be gut-wrenching, filled with gripping conversations and outstanding imagery.
David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet (2020)
Many might know Sir Attenborough as the wildlife explorer that showed us all how kind and breathtaking animals and nature can be. In Our Planet though, he quickly segways to focus on the threat the planet is under. Without wanting to be alarming or discouraging, he takes us through a journey that veers more toward empathy for a call to action as he travels from biome to biome in every continent both recounting his life’s work and showing us the devastation that climate change has caused the flora and fauna of each place. For those who are keen on soothing voices and beautiful scenery, this one is for you!
This documentary co-directed by Keegan Kuhn and Kip Andersen, the same duo behind equally shocking films What The Health and Seaspiracy, focuses on the impact of the meat and dairy industry on climate change. Not for the faint of heart, Cowspiracy makes sure that their imagery is just as impactful as their message: the meat industry is responsible for about 15% of all greenhouse emissions, without mentioning the inhumane and unsanitary conditions in which animals are treated and kept at factories. This eye-opening feature includes interviews with environmentalists, activists, and politicians among other figures exposing the questionable activities of the industry, enough to have its viewers second-guessing their eating habits and the brands they support.
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017)
If you were around in the mid-2000s, you remember Al Gore’s controversial An Inconvenient Truth – the documentary that opened the gates to a brand-new way of seeing environmentalism and the way we lived our everyday lives. Released in 2006, Gore’s film introduced the mainstream to the horrors of global warming and the rising temperatures, all while showing appalling studies of how the world would be looking like if we didn’t take charge of how we treat nature.
An Inconvenient Sequel follows Gore along his worldwide journey spreading the word on climate change through conferences and public events, as well as footage from the 2015 COP21 summit. He also shifts the focus on politicians and what nations are doing to better their gas emissions, demanding them to switch to renewable energies and such. While the footage shown of all the natural disasters can be quite discouraging, this documentary ends on a positive note which uplifts spirits and prepares them to fight for the cause against global warming.
Chasing Coral (2017)
This visually captivating documentary focuses on the effects of climate change in the ocean, and more importantly coral reefs. A team of photographers, divers, and marine biologists get together to talk about the dangers of the rising sea level and temperatures that are causing reefs to die out and all their fauna with it. Filled with suspense and dazzling images of the biodiversity of coral reefs, this film is set to show us the wonders of the ocean as it explains the dangers it faces and the job we have to make it better, otherwise, it could disappear.
While pregnant, Melanie Laurent got a message from friend Cyril Dion about an article warning of the possible extinction of humankind. This worried her so much, the two sought out to find those who were willing to change those odds for the better. Tomorrow (Demain) is a free-spirited documentary that showcases the sustainable projects happening around the world, from small farmers to state-wide recycling initiatives.
Rather than capitalizing on the negative aspects of climate change and the decaying state of nature, this feature is the last stop in our filmic journey, leaving on a positive note to encourage you to join the sustainable bandwagon! Although it is a serious matter, we want you to remember that it is not all grim and fatalistic out there and that the planet is still as salvageable as can be. It is through small efforts such as caring more for our beaches, our daily activities, how we demand change from our politicians, and accountability from big corporations that change can start.