From the plastic that pollutes the depths of our ocean to the mountains of unwanted clothes over-saturating landfills, our planet is in dire need of help.
The damage that human behaviour is having on the Earth is soon to become irreversible, but the situation is not yet unsalvageable. The following ecological documentaries highlight the problems we are facing and will inspire you to take action to prevent further harm from taking place. It’s never been more imperative. Do your bit this Veganuary.
The elephant population has decreased drastically in recent years, with the African elephant’s conservation status changing from Endangered to Critically Endangered. Why? Because of the poaching epidemic, where elephants are needlessly slaughtered for their ivory, a material viewed as a status symbol in China. The documentary follows undercover filmmakers for 16 months as they expose the corruption in the global network of ivory trafficking. With estimates that the African elephant will go extinct in twenty years, the documentary aims to help prevent this heartbreaking statistic.
Netflix original documentaries seem to dominate discourse for weeks on end, and Seaspiracy was no exception. The makers of Cowspiracy follow up their 2014 documentary with an insightful account of the devastating impact that human behaviour has on our oceans. From the fishing industry to plastic pollution, the documentary highlights how we are destroying marine ecosystems, and argues for the end of fish consumption.
If anybody is going to single-handedly convince people to save the planet, it is none other than national treasure, David Attenborough. The natural historian lends his dulcet tones to this eight-part documentary that showcases the calamitous consequences that climate change is having on ecosystems across the world, with a particular emphasis on the human impact. From the Arctic Wilderness to the jungles of South Africa, the docuseries emphasises the necessity for conservation in various diverse habitats. Its stunning cinematography captures just how beautiful our world is and just how worthy of saving it is.
Coral reefs are notorious for their longevity, with certain colonies living for centuries. But they cannot do so when coral bleaching occurs. The leading cause of coral bleaching is the warming of the oceans, and this is caused by, you guessed it, climate change. The reefs are dying quickly, and Chasing Coral provides an eye-opening account of a phenomenon that not many people are aware of but that could be detrimental for all living organisms.
Could you be happy with less? Minimalism examines our obsession with consumerism, noting how the human desire to constantly strive for more contributes to various worldwide issues. Filmmakers Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus promote their minimalist lifestyle that no doubt increases sustainability. The documentary will provoke you to evaluate the things you deem important in your life.
Andrew Morgan’s documentary delves into the fast fashion industry. It discusses unsustainable garment production and the unethical treatment of low-wage workers, along with the harmful biproducts of the industry, such as pollution and contamination. Our clothes have a story that begins long before we wear them and, though the cost of garments might be dropping, the price is still being paid elsewhere.
An award-winning investigation into the effects that the ever-increasing volume of plastic in the ocean is having on the environment. Journalist Craig Leeson teams up with free diver Tanya Streeter as they travel to twenty different places to investigate plastic pollution. There’s currently over 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean. Though it’s currently impossible to remove it all, the documentary provides us with solutions to prevent further pollution.
Millions of bees have been leaving their hives without returning. No bodies have been found, nor have any potential predators been identified. This 2012 Swiss documentary discusses the unusual circumstances surrounding the bee’s potential extinction. The insects are integral to our ecosystem. 80% of plant species need to be pollinated, and this cannot happen without bees. The ramifications this would have on the food chain would be irreversibly damaging.
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