Documentaries to spark inspiration for change.

Updated: May 11, 2021

Number 1. Down To Earth

Zac Efron was formerly know as a teen heartthrob by many of us and he’s very cleverly brought his good looks, followed by his sense of humour around the world to bring awareness to the current changes that are happening in our plant. He also is on a mission to highlight some of the most important issues we should be looking at, in this constant changing day and age.

He is accompanied by Darin Olien, whom Efron describes a “guru of healthy living and superfoods”- and he has the background to back up that introduction. Olien wrote 'SuperLife: The 5 Simple Fixes That Will Make You Healthy, Fit, and Eternally Awesome' and he earned the nickname “the Indiana Jones of superfoods” because of his many quests to hunt down healthy dishes all across the globe.

The show is cleverly built on some important issues we need to be educating ourselves on, whilst making them light hearted with Efron’s sense of humour, as you will see from the opening scene of the first episode of him doing his best Attenborough impression. The editing and narration works beautifully alongside the few light-hearted moments brought to the screen by the duo that keeps you glued to your couch to flick another episode of their adventures on.

You will learn so much as this is a serious nature documentary that will also have you giggling through some of the scenes as these two make the perfect travel pair to bring some topics that are of paramount importance to our future way of thinking.

2. Kiss the Ground

'Save our soil in the hopes the soil might just save us'. If this quote by Woody Harrelson has not already grabbed your attention to watch this powerful documentary, narrated by the man himself, to spread the word about regenerative agriculture and its potential to mitigate climate change, then perhaps you need to wash your face with some cold water and wake up hunnie.

Farmers, scientists, cows and some celebrities you might recognise work together in this documentary to spread awareness as soil happens to be crucial to the survival of our species.

If you want to get down with some farming terms that will make you become aware of the critical soil beneath our feet you will be in awe of this wealth of information.

To give you a snippet of what we have learnt about industrial agriculture is that it cause's desertification though tilling and synthetic pesticides and fertilisers. On the other hand regenerative agriculture is a more resilient system based on the principles of soil health and biodiversity that integrates multiple crops, cover crops and livestock animals.

Trust us when we say soil is the new tool to a greener future.

3. A Plastic Ocean

The chilling reality of this documentary is that it began as a film crew trying to catch footage of the blue whale off the coast of Sri Lanka. To their horror, they caught so much footage of a stream of garbage, debris and plastic that is surly never to believed to be found in the middle of the ocean. Approximately eight million tons of plastic is dumped in our oceans every year, with most of it coming not from boats and ocean vessels, but from land-based sources then making it’s way to the sea from rivers and streams.

Plastic wreaks havoc on the ocean environment including the plants, wildlife and fish that live around and about it. Whales as a prime example feed by opening their large jaws to take in large amounts of water, along with whatever is in it, then expel that water and end up with stomachs full of plastic instead of krill.

This sobering documentary shows you the raw scenes of birds stomachs being cut open to revel a stomach full of plastic, as they inadvertently eat small pieces of plastic or micro-plastic's when they feed on fish from the ocean.

Leeson, whom is the journalist behind this eye opening piece of film, leaves us with some very good examples from Germany to Haiti on how we can reduce our plastic usage, as everyone recycles because they get money back for doing so, and recycling is a lucrative industry. If you want to be left with an incentive to change your ways to reduce your plastic intake take this chilling quote from Leeson and let it sink in-“Every species on the planet works towards the benefit of the ecology and environment that it lives in, but us humans, we just seem like passengers on this earth.”

4. Fools & Dreamers

As we all should know, nature knows best. I strongly believe that we all have a purpose in life and that if we listen to the signs the universe gives us we can all truly fulfill that calling. Hugh Wilson definitely was given that calling from a young age with his fascination of plants as a child. This short documentary about this beautiful place in Hinewai, New Zealand brings us on a journey of one man who announces to the local community that he was planning to spread a weed to grow as a nurse canopy to regenerate farmland into native forest and restore the native biodiversity as much as possible. This was published in the local newspaper in which he stated to see his secret dream: “one day a whole catchment… could be set aside for nature to reassert her original covering.”

The locals were not only cynical but furious with Wilson, as one farmer in particular thought his ideas were absurd responding with “I’m all for saving patches of bush, but the thought of starting from scratch on land that is clear enough to be used productively appalls me… heaven help us from fools and dreamers.” Have you ever met a hater doing better than you? Me neither. All it took was this one negative hater as Wilson took the words straight from this mouth and made them a reality as he believed the world was in desperate need of more fools and dreamers. What a fucking hero.

5. Chasing Coral

This documentary was actually directed by the same filmmaker- Jeff Orlowski, who also worked on Chasing Ice. It is very similar in the respect that the nature photographer Balog captured by camera the disappearance of Artic ice. Both documentaries convey the reality of climate change through vivid visual evidence, which I adore, as it makes us understand more what’s happening on the topic visually rather than reading statistics sometimes. Orlowski started working with this project after he heard about the makers of chasing coral whom were documenting the raising sea temperatures caused by climate change that is ultimately eradicating the world’s coral.

Coral reefs provide sustenance and protection to vast numbers of humans and marine organisms, it would be detrimental for them to go extinct. Between 2014 to 2017 El Niño caused a global-scale mass coral bleaching event of unusual severity, which damaged coral reefs around the world.

Thanks to the astonishing makers of chasing coral they managed to document this disaster. Their film is like a love letter to an extraordinary group of disappearing animals, a poem of serious reflection to the amount of these animals that have vanished already and a wake up call to us, humanity. The team is led by ocean conservationist Richard Vevers, who really cuts you deep the reality of the the different coral colonies after another, which are deteriorating into a vacant, algae-coated boneyard. After you watch the destruction of once rich coral ecosystems, wipe away those tears, pull up your socks and make the small change's in your life so our children can see the beauty of coral for themselves and not just see pictures of it in a book.

6. Brave Blue World

We learn in this documentary about strategies to save water and strengthen sanitation before we run dry of water on our plant. We meet a bunch of numerous intelligent individuals whom have come up with some incredible solutions to recycle our water and to protect the water sources we do have. It is led by celebrity Matt Damon, who I am quite confident did not act the expressions of worry riddled on his face to portray the message that drinking water will soon become a luxury if we don’t respect the water we have. It’s a very optimistic future for our water and the film maps out the ways we can get there by educating ourselves and spreading the knowledge to others. They believe that even one person with enough knowledge can make a difference and inspire a movement. They surely have provided that knowledge.

“We envision a day when everybody has access to clean water and sanitation and we envision that in our lifetime.”- Matt Damon, Actor and Co-Founder I would like to believe in this bold statement from Damon, but also believe we also should be aware of other countries like that suffer with water scarcity like Latin America, Israel and Central Asia.

7. Our Plant

Spend the next few hours of your time watching a vast amount of animals flourishing in their natural habitats, your eyes will be in awe with this breath taking footage, just as millions of years of evolutionary adaptions, intended.

Narrated by the one of the most extraordinary men I have followed since a young child and oh so ever dear to my own heart explorers, Sir David Attenbourgh. The big difference with Our Plant from previous nature shows I have watched with Sir Attenbourgh is that they do not shy away or ignore the threats facing all the environments and animals caught on camera. This is what inspired a deeper change in my own life, after all watching fluffy documentaries on wildlife without environmental warnings about plastics in our oceans and chemicals poisoning the life we have around us, we will continue to live in our comfortable, fatal state of denial. Sir Attenborough in the opening minutes hits us hard with “In one human lifetime, wildlife populations have fallen by an average of 60%. The stability of nature can no longer be taken for granted.”

Finally we have a socially responsible nature programme that still holds all its beauty, it is a call for us to rally, to save it before it’s too late. Perhaps it is about time we realise the predator is us.

8. David Attenborough: A life on our plant

Sir Attenborough has spent a life time studying the natural world, at 93 years of age he should have our full attention when he asks people to take note of his ‘witness statement’ about the jeopardy humans collectively face in regards to how we are treating our natural surroundings, he certainly has earned my full concentration to hear what he has to say.

He brings us down memory lane of his own astonishing career to quickly revert back to the point he is so desperate to hit home with, as he explains to us the dire situation we are in. ‘Our plant is loosing ice’ and the need to ‘work with nature rather than against her’. He retains from being holier-than-thou, to level with us that this is his warning, as we are under threat of how we are treating our plant and this has become increasingly visible in everyday life.

I don’t think anyone has more credibility to be to heard out more, than this man himself.

9. Cowspiracy

A very interesting documentary that hones in on the impact of agriculture on the environment. There is a strong sense from this film that the world’s largest environmental organisations are not protecting our plant as they claim. It’s quite a powerful piece of information that allows you to reevaluate how you treat food, we should be more aware of what we put inside our bodies, as by now we know we are what we eat. In relation to this point we also need to remove the box from which we live inside and begin to question certain farming practices that are clearly destroying the plant. Question everything my lovelies, as it is the only way to find answers.

The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.”– Socrates.

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