The Environment

8 Incredibly Powerful Documentaries That Will Change How You See The Planet Forever

Prepare to have your mind totally blown....

It’s hard to take in everything we’re told about the planet and the environment at the moment. As soon as you’ve got your head around global warming, you get bombarded with news about deforestation, then ocean pollution, then waste and food. It’s all too much.

If you’re someone who cares about the planet however, it’s important to do everything you can to be informed, so you can act in a way that protects it. One of the best ways to do this is to find a good documentary and let it inspire you.

There are so many documentaries out there about the environment, it feels like if you’ve already watched An Inconvenient Truth, it’s difficult to decide where to look next. To make this a little easier, we’ve put together eight of the best films out at the moment.

From the oceans, to climate change and bottled water, if you watch these documentaries, you’ll never be able to see the planet in the same way again…

1) how to change the world

From writer-director Jerry Rothwell, this documentary follows the adventures of a group of young pioneers who set out to stop Richard Nixon’s nuclear bomb tests in Amchitka, Alaska, and end up creating the worldwide green movement with the birth of Greenpeace.

Whether you follow the organisation Greenpeace or not, this documentary is a fascinating and influential watch. A real look into how one group of people can make a real difference to seemingly enormous global problems and make the world listen.

It is also however, a look at the effect of power onto any group of people. The scenes in the late sixties show an eccentric group of young people, concerned with eco activism and hallucinagenics in equal measure, however by the mid seventies the media attention looking at the group and internal egos within the group had clearly changed the organisation forever.

2) Earthlings

Nicknamed ‘the vegan maker’, Earthlings is both a strange piece of filmmaking and a difficult watch.

From the outset it is very clear that this documentary is very much a piece vegan propaganda and carefully crafted to evoke definite emotions in the viewer – however that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch it.

For all of its flaws, if you want all the facts and a clear view of the meat industry and how food gets to your plate, this film is one of the only ones our there that shows you everything. It’s footage of slaughterhouses, farm conditions, regular industry standards and lesser known farming protocol makes it a must see for anyone who wants to be full informed about the food they eat.

It’s not a fun watch, but by the end you will definitely know where you stand personally on meat and factory farming in the UK and America.

3) before the Flood

The recent documentary by the National Geographic perseveres to expose people to the current state of global warming and the future of what is to come if we don’t make some very big changes.

Leonardo DiCaprio, the United Nations Messenger on Climate Change, leads this documentary and in it’s ninety minutes you really feel the force of the all the work he has put into raising awareness and making change over the last decade. The film follows DiCaprio’s talks with many top leaders and scientists to piece together an overview of how much trouble the planet is really in – the outcome does not look good.

This documentary puts the melting ice caps of the Arctic right next to footage of climate change sceptics currently in Washington and makes the powerful point that to save the planet we have to look to ourselves and to each other. The problem is too big to simply leave to those in power. Watch it and join the fight.

4) Revolution

If you’re looking to be inspired into fighting for the planet, this documentary is the one to watch.

Filmaker Rob Stewart, known for his successful documentary Sharkwater, has put together this film on the environmental collapse in our near future, but also about how young people are coming together to fight against it.

Focusing on ocean acidification, over fishing, deforestation and climate change, this film not only ties together all the threats facing the planet, but also the way that you can get involved and prevent them.

You will leave this documentary informed, concerned, but mostly fired up to help prevent the outcomes it presents.

5) Food Inc.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that foodborne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year…. Those are some pretty big numbers to process.

Food Inc. is not a film created to scare, but to inform. From talking to farmers it investigates the amount of control that big business holds over them. Looking at the farms themselves, it looks at the ways that food production has changed in order to meet growing demand and the devastating effects these changes could cause.

“I think we’re beginning to see the dangers of this inexpensive food that these big agribusinesses are producing” explains the film’s director.

“The more we can see the cracks in this system, the faster it’s going to fall apart. I’m hoping that this film can help people to start to think about it…People are becoming much more conscious of their food, and the more we think about it, the more good food we’re going to get.”

6) Tapped

How much money do you pay each year for drinking water? We see water as a human right, while also buying and selling it like any other commodity. This strange contradiction underpins this amazing documentary.

The idea for the film came from the creator’s research into ocean pollution and their realisation that all aspects of the problem could be traced straight back to the bottled water industry.

Looking at companies such as PepsiCo. and Nestlé Waters, the film finds “several potentially harmful chemicals, some known carcinogens” in their bottled water. Looking at the environmental effects f bottling so much water,  the film finds that an amazing “Forty percent of bottled water is really just filtered tap water, and every day we throw away 30 million single-served bottles of water as plastic waste.”

A real eye opener to anyone who wants to find out more about the big business behind drinking water.

Watch it here

7) Trashed

Led by Jeremy irons, this documentary gives a full, emotive and informative view of how waste is building up on our planet and the effects it is having on the Earth and on the human race. The planet works through a process of production and decay, yet we’re making things that do not break down and are building up and damaging the planet.

Travelling the word to see the true effect waste is having right now, the documentary proves that out of sight is not out of mind after all, we have to change our habits and inform others about the damage being done.

Far from being defeatist however, Trashed is an amazingly inspirational film that shows the ways we can solve our trash problem and reverse the effect we’re having on the earth. It’s a pivotal documentary in the history of environmentalism and a film that all young people should see.

8) More Than Honey

“Over the past 15 years, numerous colonies of bees have been decimated throughout the world, but the causes of this disaster remain unknown. Depending on the world region, 50% to 90% of all local bees have disappeared, and this epidemic is still spreading from beehive to beehive – all over the planet. Everywhere, the same scenario is repeated: billions of bees leave their hives, never to return. No bodies are found in the immediate surroundings, and no visible predators can be located.”

This is the mystery at the centre of this amazing film. What is behind the mystery of Earth’s disappearing bees? By the time the documentary is over, you’ll have some answers, but you’ll also have a lot more questions.

Remember Albert Einstein’s famous words;  “If bees were to disappear from the globe,” he predicted, “mankind would only have four years left to live.”

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