One of my favourite quotes has to be Wendell Barry’s: “The Earth is what we all have in common.” Sometimes it’s perfect to be reminded of this. Despite some of our differences, it’s important to remember that we share the same home. With this in mind, it only makes sense to think about the Earth as something sacred. After all, it’s our shared home. And this means that we have to know what’s at stake. We can’t make changes if we’re unaware of what’s going on. To help you get on board, I’ve shared my top 5 environmental documentaries. I found these five docs very influential. They all got me thinking and inspired me to make lifestyle changes.
There’s a huge chance you’ve heard of Cowspiracy (2014). It made a lot of noise when it came out. And when it comes to environmental documentaries, this one is a must-watch! The doc looks at the effect of the meat and dairy industry on the environment and questions why some of the most prominent and most influential environmental groups don’t make the big deal they should when it comes to the cattle industry. The film doesn’t shy away from a “call to action.” It promotes a plant-based and vegan diet as a necessary step towards sustainability. The numbers will shock you. They certainly left me thinking about the choices I make in my diet.
Racing Extinction (2015)
Racing Extinction (2015) is directed by Louie Psihoyos, and let’s just say the film left me in tears. The film powerfully captures and reveals the world of endangered species. While the film doesn’t offer a happy ending, it leaves us to imagine a better future. The sense of hope the film conveys makes the viewer question their actions. The film references a variety of issues such as waste, fishing, cattle, extinction, fossil fuels, etc. And by doing so leaves the ball in our court, reminding us that even a single step can make a difference.
This Changes Everything (2015)
Based on Naomi Klein’s book, This Changes Everything (2015) is a documentary by Avi Lewis, written and narrated by the author herself. In a nutshell, the documentary argues that our economic system is incompatible with environmental sustainability. In addition, the doc looks at powerful and inspiring grassroots activism worldwide, inviting us to visualize the kind of world we want.
If interested, read our book review of Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything book here!
The True Cost (2015)
When it comes to environmental sustainability, the fashion industry’s role cannot be overlooked. The industry is the second-largest polluter (after the gas industry), uses lots of water and land, and produces a lot of waste. In addition to being destructive to the environment, the fashion industry often exploits its workers. Andrew Morgan’s The True Cost (2015) offers excellent insight into what the fashion industry looks like.
Before the Flood (2016)
We can’t talk about environmental documentaries without mentioning one of our favourite environmentalists – Leonardo DiCaprio. Before the Flood (2016), directed by Fisher Stevens, follows the actor as he discusses the dangers of climate change and solutions with world leaders, politicians, activists, and scientists. What’s great about the doc is how it brings together various issues around sustainability and climate change.
There you have it, lovely people. These environmental documentaries got me thinking about climate change and sustainability. But, more importantly, these docs encouraged me to think about the actions I can take to make changes that are in harmony with the well-being of our shared home.