Editor’s note: If you love these movies, you should check out Ethically, a new chrome extension that is the fastest way to shop sustainably on the internet. You can download it for free here.
Now… on to the show(s)!
- David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet
The voice of nature, David Attenborough, is a beloved and acclaimed naturalist and advocate. In perhaps his most important movie, he walks us through the many ways our planet has changed in just one lifetime. It is shocking, disappointing, and somehow still hopeful and therefore claims our number one spot for must-see movies.
- Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things
If you’re looking for inspiration to clean out your closet, look no further. Minimalism follows the stories of multiple people who have come to find greater peace through less consumption and, in doing so, illustrates how you too might be happier if you give it a try. Your guides in this journey are Josh and Ryan, two friends who, for very different reasons, have come to the same conclusion: that less is more. If you like the movie, you can subscribe to their newsletter and listen to their podcast.
- Fools & Dreamers: Regenerating a Native Forest
Perfect for a quick study break, Fools & Dreamers is an incredibly inspiring story that will make you want to catch the next flight to New Zealand. For 30-minutes, you can capture a glimpse into the life of a brilliant conservationist, Hugh, as he walks through how he has managed to reforest massive swaths of land and bring the community around him along for the ride.
- The Ivory Game
Equal parts thriller and hard-hitting journalism, The Ivory Game will make you want to get a degree in Criminal Justice so that you can hunt down the people responsible for the slaughter of elephants across Africa. This documentary comes at a time when we see a rapid decline in the elephant population, and exposure to poaching is necessary to bring an end to the practice.
- The True Cost
An oldie but a goodie, The True Cost is an absolute must-see documentary for anyone interested in the world of fashion or textiles. You will walk through the real-life impact of fast-fashion production on workers’ lives in garment factories and see the truly dark side of globalization.
- A Plastic Ocean
Another classic, A Plastic Ocean, has withstood the test of time in that it is still accurate and incredibly well told. With the help of scientists, the film shows the chilling effects plastic has on the oceanic environment. From the destruction of habitats to the interruption of the food chain, this film does not sugarcoat the situation. No matter how you feel about plastic going into the film, you’ll leave it wanting to reduce your reliance on it.
- Our Planet
From the same people who brought you Planet Earth and Blue Planet, Our Planet is a brand new look into the world around us. Filmed entirely in Ultra High Definition, you will feel as if you are there yourself while the voice of David Attenborough narrates through each continent and over 50 countries. And because there are eight episodes, you can use each one as a reward between study breaks.
- Mission Blue
Few people in the world have dedicated themselves more to the betterment of our oceans than oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle. She has spent decades advocating for laws that would declare swaths of the sea as protected areas, the same as we have nature reserves on land. She calls us all to action on her mission to save the ocean, and once you hear her speak, you won’t be able to stand on the sidelines.
- My Octopus Teacher
If you are interested in film or communications and its intersection with conservation, My Octopus Teacher is precisely the film for you. Both beautiful and a little bit weird, the film beautifully captures the ethical dilemmas of filming the natural world while showcasing the power of relationships.
- Kiss the Ground
If you’re in desperate need of a conservation film that will leave you feeling hopeful and rejuvenated, give Kiss the Ground a try. The film claims that while the science is complex, the solution is straightforward: we need to save our soil to save our planet. With the use of beautiful animations, you’ll quickly grasp challenging concepts like biosequestration and will feel empowered to turn your parent’s backyard into a soil haven.