If you’re looking for a way to educate yourself further to be more environmentally conscious, documentaries are a great resource for education. I’ve rounded up four documentaries that showcase some of the things that have the greatest impact on the environment. I’m not saying these documentaries focus on the four largest contributors to environmental destruction, but they are some of the largest. I found these documentaries to be frightening and insightful. I’m a visual learner and I love watching movies. I feel like documentaries are impactful as you’re able to see with your own eyes.
I read a lot of articles, but lately I’ve started to focus on watching documentaries as well. I’ve rounded up four documentaries you should check out if you’re trying to be more environmentally conscious. Read below for a brief synopsis, to get an idea of why they might be of interest and the ways in which they’ve impacted my own life.
I had no clue how much of an impact the animal agricultural industry had on the environment. Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation, (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.) Until watching this documentary, I was ignorant of the impact consuming animal by-products has on the environment. The documentary is fascinating, educational and eye opening. Since watching I’ve tried to reduce my consumption of fish (almost completely), meat and other animal by-products.
It’s been hard for me to completely reduce my intake of animal proteins and dairy products. I’ve almost completely removed fish from my diet. Studies show that based on the rate we’re consuming fish, and ultimately overfishing our oceans, there will be no more fish left by 2048 (HuffPost). That is horrifying to me. So fish has been the food I’ve almost completely removed from my diet. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s worth it.
I’ve tried to severely reduce my intake of red meat. I for the most part don’t cook it at home and I’ll occasionally eat it when I’m out. I regularly will try dairy alternatives. For milks: coconut and almond milk I’ll use in baking and cooking. I loveeee ice cream. There’s a lot of new dairy free ice creams sold in stores that I’ve been trying out. I personally like coconut milk based ice creams and some of the ones Ben & Jerry’s sells best.
I’ve tried some vegan restaurants in Orlando and they were a lot better than I expected. I also try to regularly opt for meatless meals (avocado toast is a staple for me..!) Next step for me will be to try out vegan cheeses. Jillian Harris (one of my fave bloggers) regularly posts about vegan products she loves on Instagram, if you’re looking for some inspiration and ideas, check out her Instagram!
Find Cowspiracy on Netflix. Learn more about the movie here: Cowspiracy.
The True Cost
This documentary was tough to watch. I watched it with my best friend and we sat in silence at the end crying. It is incredibly eye opening. We don’t think about why the clothing we buy for the most part is so cheap. The fashion industry creates demand with new styles and trends. Fast fashion makes it easy to keep up with trends, buying new articles of clothing that are cheap and discarding them a season later. The waste is tremendous, not only regarding how quickly we discard clothing, but also in terms of production in the fashion industry. What’s also horrendous is the conditions and the unlivable wages those who create these garments endure.
The documentary talks about the environmental and human impact of the clothing industry around the world. The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter of the environment, behind greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and fossil fuels, (EPA). It’s pretty shocking the impact it has on the world and our people. The documentary has made me rethink how I shop and now I’m looking to shop at companies that sell fair trade clothing.
Find The True Cost on Netflix. Learn more about the movie here: The True Cost.
This documentary was very interesting. I personally don’t find myself extremely attached to objects. For the most part, I’d rather spend my money on experiences as opposed to things. I did like the message and the reminder that possessions shouldn’t rule us and we shouldn’t be working for paychecks with the goal of putting them towards more objects. It was nice to see individuals live minimalistic lives and talk about how they made the change. Even if you aren’t someone who feels like they’re swimming in stuff in their home, I still think this documentary is beneficial to watch.
It makes me rethink some of the things I have. I have a tendency to hold on to things a little longer than I should for sentimental value. The idea of eliminating a majority of ones possessions seems pretty liberating. It allows you to focus on what’s most important in life. I personally over the years will go through periods where I try to limit the things I buy. When this happens, I notice I have less of an itch to buy more. When I consume more, I start to once again feel the need for more. I think it’s definitely mental and once you begin to break the cycle of feeling like you need things, it helps your overall wellbeing. I definitely can get behind the idea of having less. It’s better for the environment and for my mental health.
A quote I love: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything they have.”
Find Minimalism on Netflix. Learn more about the movie here: Minimalism.
A Plastic Ocean
This was another film that left me sobbing throughout. You don’t need to have a deep love for the ocean to understand its importance. This film touches upon another reason why I am eliminating seafood from my diet. Once plastics enter the ocean, they eventually break up in to smaller particles which are ultimately consumed by sea creatures. Toxins from the plastics are stored in seafood’s fatty tissues which make their way in to our food chain.
This film reaffirms the fact that we must reduce our consumption of single use plastics. I myself have begun asking waiters not to bring me straws at restaurants, have stopped taking plastic bags at stores, started carrying my own reusable cups every where, am making more of my own meals, and overall I’m trying to consume less. Change starts with each and every one of us. I recognize how crucial it is to change my way of living. I’m working to find other ways I can reduce consumption in my own life.
Find A Plastic Ocean on Netflix. Learn more about the movie here: Plastic Oceans.
I recognize that it’s important that I continue to educate myself regarding the environment and my own impact. I will continue to watch more documentaries coupled with doing some of my own research. Reading articles is always beneficial, but there’s something about watching a film that is especially eye opening for me. It can feel overwhelming at times all of the issues we see in the world. I understand above all that we won’t continue to have the problems surrounding us if we don’t have a planet to exist on. That is why I feel so passionate about learning more about my environmental impact and making lifestyle changes, along with educating others.
What documentaries have you watched that have made you more environmentally conscious? Share below in a comment!