Top Documentaries for Environmentalists
One of the most common ways for people to discover the true cost of how they live is through documentaries and thanks to YouTube and Netflix, these can now be accessed easily and cheaply worldwide.
These are my favourites for showing just how much needs to happen to bring about the huge change we have to make, and how you can help do your bit.
An Inconvenient Truth - the first film to highlight just what we are doing to the planet, with a no frills, fact-based narrative but too few impactful and actionable points for your average person to be able to make a dent in our overconsumption habit.
War On Plastic - a BBC 1 series with Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall and Anita Rani with a focus on plastic and zooming in on the destructive nature of our consumer habits; where our recycling REALLY goes, and what we can do as individuals to pressure the big corporates whose plastic is now littering the planet and poisoning our oceans.
Cowspiracy - The original documentary showing the impact of animal agriculture with enough stats to turn even the most doubting Thomas vegan for at least a month! Not too much of the distressing factory farming footage here either. The line in this documentary: “You cannot call yourself an environmentalist and not be vegan” has stuck with me ever since and when a piece of cheese calls my name, I remember it and ask myself who I want to be…
Dominion - made to turn the slaughterhouse walls into glass, this pulls no punches. There is nothing but animals suffering at the hands of humans here, but you might be surprised at the number and variety of ways we have exploited them. That friend you have who says they could kill a chicken with their bare hands, should watch this. They cover all types of farming - organic, free-range, etc, as well as some of the fashion and entertainment we use animals for.
5. What The Health - dealing with the negative implications on our health of eating animal products and shines a light upon the darkness of the animal ag industry - its disease, the constant threat of epidemics, overuse of antibiotics, carcinogenic, pesticides, etc. by advocating a whole-food, plant-based diet for optimum health whilst canvassing opinions from doctors and patient studies.
6. Before The Flood - ominous title for a dystopian film directed by Leonardo DiCaprio to show how the deforestation of rainforests to make way for planting crops for animal feed is going to destroy life as we know it on earth, unless we change things today. I’d watch “The Revenant” beforehand to appreciate the film which inspired Leo to make the documentary.
7. Land of Hope and Glory - amassing footage from within the UK animal agriculture industry is no easy task, but this film shows the heroic efforts of animal activists as they draw back the curtain on the horrors of “Red Tractor farms”, organic farming and every animal’s will to live. For a country which prides itself on superior food standards globally, it’s shocking viewing.
8. Chasing Coral - the largest living creature on earth, centuries old, is dying under the sea. This extraordinary film had me in tears (I’m a scuba diver) at the thought of the beauty that lies under the sea vanishing in a few years. The impact on the eco-system can only be imagined but it’s not looking good for whales, dolphins, tuna, cod, salmon, sardines, prawns, shrimp, sharks, turtles, etc.
9. Our Planet - the most recent film from David Attenborough (the one the BBC wouldn’t make) showing the true impact of climate change on specific species and habitats with harrowing scenes including walruses plummeting to their death from the top of a cliff, along with starving polar bears and homeless orang-utans.
10. Let Us Be Heroes - focuses on the food choices we have made as humans and the impact this has had on our health, animals and the planet. Made in Singapore, this brings Asian perspectives into the conversation and highlights how the West has changed diets there to everyone’s detriment.
The Game-Changers - a feature documentary whose global premiere launched Sept 2019. This feature zooms in on plant-based athletes at the top of their game in all kinds of sports and shows off the gains to be had from switching your diet to plants. With James Cameron at the helm and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan and Lewis Hamilton as Executive Producers, it’s as glossy as you imagine - with some really funny bits (unusual for this genre!).
[Animals in Fashion TITLE - TBC] - a focus on the exploitation of animals in the global fashion industry, from the maker of the Let Us Be Heroes documentary mentioned above.
Seaspiracy - the much anticipated sequel to Cowspiracy showing the treatment of our oceans, coral and creatures that live there.