Find out our review of 10 of the best documentaries and films about sustainability and the environment worldwide. With some of them being controversial and most of them amazing, they all help us approach a much more sustainable development.
The food system, loss of biodiversity, global warming, uncontrolled dumps…Would you like to see our selection?
• Food Inc. (US, 2008)
–Directed by an Emmy Robert Kenner award-winning filmmaker, this documentary focuses on the condition of the American food system and industry, revealing that this aggressive model is spreading throughout the world. With a real format, it combines interviews to producers and farmers, smothered by large multinationals wanting to implement their own production methods no matter the consequences. Transgenic fodder, deceitful marketing techniques, intensive farming... Those multinationals mentioned in the film, such as Monsanto, Tyson Foods or Smithfield Foods, among others, refused to appear in the film. An enlightening film that will change our view on our food and above all, our way of choosing what we eat.
• The Cove (US, 2009)
–Nearly 23,000 dolphins are brutally slaughtered every year in “the cove”, at the Taiji National Park (Japan), to sell their meat for food –in spite of its high levels of mercury –and sell them alive for dolphinaria around the world, like Seaworld, with succulent benefits. Having won an Oscar for Best Documentary 2010, “The Cove” is a desperate denunciation by best-known dolphin trainer Rick O´Barrey, who denounces the consequences of dolphins and killer whales in captivity as well as their killings that take place for the purpose of trading with these beautiful animals. The film is a blend of activism and spying. An unsettling and revealing documentary film consisting of hidden cameras and undersea microphones which find out about the terrible reality beyond these dolphinaria.
• Oceans (France, 2009)
–With a €50 million budget, this documentary film is a work of art that shows what the marine life is like on the planet. Amazing species, their way of life and the serious problems besetting them are a part of this great film which above all will shock you with its wonderful images.
• The 11th Hour (US, 2007)
–Produced and directed by actor Leonardo di Caprio, this documentary shows data from experts like scientist Stephen Hawking to former USSR Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev. Tremendous weather phenomena, such as hurricanes, extreme droughts, and floods originate in climate change. Global warming and human activity effects. Di Caprio tells us about those drastic solutions to restore ecosystems, and urges us to implement these measures as soon as possible.
• Plastic Planet (Germany-Austria, 2009)
–“Plastic planet” intends to analyse the material which in a century has become indispensable for the modern life, and the consequences of its mass production and consumption. Its additives and long life cycle are extremely harmful for the environment. Directed by Werner Boote, this documentary seeks to show the global threat this material represents, while questioning radical issues like consumption habits and the pollution caused by these.
• Sushi, the global catch (US, 2011)
–Director Mark Hall tells us the history and impact of sushi consumption in the world, considering that in the last 30 years this typically Japanese tradition has turned into a food consumed regularly on a global scale. How will this phenomenon affect the animal species and society? After watching this documentary, the issue on how and what we eat is open for discussion.
• Ripe for change (USA, 2006)
Ripe for Change chronicles the intersection of food and politics in California over the last 30 years. California is at a crossroads in agriculture, fending off overdevelopment and the loss of farming traditions while simultaneously embracing innovative visions of sustainability.
• Cowspiracy (USA, 2014)
Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary following intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today – and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it.
• Earth (UK, 2007)
This documentary film, from the makers of Deep Blue, is a north-to-south journey throughout the planet, going through the four different seasons and showing contrasts between different places and how they change. The behaviour and way of survival of a multitude of animal species accompany us throughout this colossal work, which took 5 years to shoot.
• Waste Land (Brazil – UK, 2009)
This is a story about the largest waste dump in Latin America, Rio de Janeiro. Its director, Lucy Walker, and the two Brazilian directors João Jardim and Karen Harley who have produced it, want to show the audience what the daily life of all those people living on it is like. Brazilian artist Vik Muniz goes to Jardim Gramacho dump with the aim of depicting all those garbage collectors in painting and showing them as works of art. A documentary that will make a good deal of people feel uncomfortable because of its simply stark reality.
And do you know any other documentary on sustainability you would like to recommend? Share it with us!
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