Here are some resources for you to check out if you are interested in learning more about the plastic free movement and various other environmental causes!
DOCUMENTARIES ABOUT PLASTIC
A Plastic Ocean is a comprehensive documentary that follows the issue of plastic not only from an ocean pollution perspective but also from a human health perspective. I highly recommend it, but bear in mind it is quite long so you might want to break it up into a few viewing sessions. You can watch the trailer here.
Bag It is a really charming documentary about an ordinary guy who makes it his mission to give up plastic. It becomes very personal and moving as the backdrop of the documentary shifts as Jeb’s wife gets pregnant and he starts to think more about the legacy of plastic for our children and future generations. You can watch the trailer here.
“Plasticized” is a documentary that follows ‘The South Atlantic Crew’ who seek to measure the level of plastic waste in the ocean. They set out a trawling net every 60 nautical miles (rain or shine!) and examine the plastic fragments that they find. This documentary is great in showing just how real this problem is and showing the level of dedication of researchers in the field seeking to improve the state of our oceans. You can watch the whole movie online here.
OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL DOCUMENTARIES
“An Inconvenient Truth” – I think most people have seen this, but it is an important starting point if you’re looking to learn more about climate change. It was really important in creating a real sensation and getting lots of people interested in the potential impacts of climate change. There were some controversies over the film, mainly regarding the political intentions of Gore as well as distorting scientific fact to exaggerate, but it is laid out very nicely with a more personal storyline running throughout. An Inconvenient Truth II was released last year, but to be honest I think it was not as culturally significant as the first, probably because we are hearing about and experiencing climate change a lot more now than we were when the first documentary came out.
You can watch the trailer here.
“Dirt!” is a great movie about the perils of soil degradation. The movie interviews many different academics, scientists, farmers and politicians who examine the issue and outline potential solutions to this problem. It’s a really great portrayal of an issue that isn’t exactly high profile.
“Blackfish” is a documentary that focuses on Tilikum, an orca that showed incidents of aggression when it was being held at SeaWorld. The documentary interviews people who were involved at the beginning of the business plan of SeaWorld, with the original capture of whales from the wild and following straight through to the death of Dawn Brancheau in 2010. Though it offers a lot of information about the dangers of holding wild animals in captivity, and exposes a lot of previously unknown information about how animals are treated at SeaWorld, it was criticized by SeaWorld for being misleading and leaving out any mention about the rescue and rehabilitation efforts of the park. Overall, I though it was great, but definitely should be paired with some personal research.
You can watch the trailer here, and the full documentary can be found on Netflix.
“Dive!” This movie is so wonderful! It follows a great group of friends who ‘dumpster dive’, which means going into bins and taking all the food that has been unnecessarily thrown out that day. The documentary then progresses into examining our broken food system, choosing to investigate why all the food is there in the first place. Jeremy Seifert, the documentary maker, outlines the flawed global food distribution system and what we can do to help.
You can watch the trailer here, although personally I think the trailer doesn’t sell it enough! The movie really is wonderful and opens your eyes to a lot of really tough issues.
“Sharkwater” is a documentary that follows Rob Stewart, a nature photographer who has a great passion for sharks. He seeks to remedy the popular image of sharks as villains. He investigates the shark finning industry, and the documentary follows his experiences with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The documentary gives a lot of information, but take it with a pinch of salt – Sea Shepherd has some very unorthodox techniques that I don’t always agree with. The organisation has been accused of being overly violent, and of impacting the legitimacy of mainstream marine movements.
*Update in 2018, this documentary has become even more meaningful since Rob Stewart’s untimely death last year while diving.
Here is the trailer.
“Shark bait” is another documentary about shark finning that follows the famous chef Gordon Ramsay who seeks to expose the horrifying shark finning industry. This film is great at exposing all the interests at stake, and showing how terrifying it can be to get in the middle of this multi-million dollar industry, but Ramsay was later criticized for engaging in recreational shark fishing. You can find a short clip from the movie here, but sometimes you can find the full documentary on Channel 4 on demand if you are in the UK.
“The Blue Planet” is a nature documentary series narrated by the one and only David Attenborough. If you don’t know much about the oceans, this is an amazing educational documentary with breathtaking footage. I highly recommend it! Blue Planet II was recently released and had some powerful messages about plastic pollution and how it is affecting our ocean.