It’s hard to believe, but fall is right around the corner. Starbucks just released the Pumpkin Spice Latte, and while we don’t drink Starbucks for a variety of reasons, it does seem to signify the beginning of the new season. We don’t know about you, but we’re ready for some snuggly nights, hot soup and good movies. It’s time to make a delicious meal then relax with these three environmentally-focused films.
We have been inspired by several different films this year that have further encouraged us to find more thought-provoking movies. Producers are getting more creative in their storytelling than ever before. They are showcasing how spectacular our planet is and presenting examples of people doing wonderful things to keep it safe. They are also highlighting how some of the decisions leaders around the world have made, negatively affect our planet and what we can do to course-correct now that we understand the true impact.
If you’re interested in watching inspirational content about people and our planet, this list is for you.
The first movie on our list is actually a series on Netflix. Our Planet premiered in April 2019 and during its first month had more than 25 million views around the world. It is already the most successful documentary series every produced.
The delightful Sir David Attenborough narrates the eight-part series that explores the natural wonders of our unique planet. The project took four years to complete, with more than 600 crew members filming in 50 countries. If you want an inside look into the production process of the film, there is an incredible hour-long episode on Netflix in addition to the actual series.
What stands out the most about Our Planet is its commitment to carrying an important message of conservation throughout its core. It isn’t overtly obvious about it, or trying to push it down the viewers’ throat, but instead offers it as critical insight in one or two sentences at the end of a few scenes.
We certainly learned a great deal about our planet’s biodiversity and the earth’s seemingly magical inner workings. Although at this point it seems impossible to do so, it also gave us a further sense of urgency around solving our biggest existential threat: climate change.
“A cornucopia of visual wonder and environmental advocacy, Our Planet’s breathtaking cinematography explores more of this beautiful, blue marble while presenting an urgent call to action to its inhabitants.” Rotten Tomatoes
Ice On Fire
Leo did it again.
Ice on Fire was directed by Leila Conners and produced by George DiCaprio, Matthew Schmid and Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio. Leo, an incredible humanitarian whose work is dedicated to bringing awareness and action to the climate change crisis, also narrates the film. Ice on Fire highlights “cutting edge research behind today’s climate science – and the innovations aimed at reducing carbon in the atmosphere, which could pave the way for a reduction in the global temperature rise and a benefit to the planet’s life systems.”
Between Leo’s narration of the film, the breathtaking cinematography and fascinating people interviewed, there are many reasons to watch this documentary more than one time. We did. Four times. Thank you, HBO.
The documentary’s message is that we need to take a two-pronged approach to reversing climate change. We need to reduce carbon emissions through traditional and innovative renewable energy sources, like tidal energy, and adopting “drawdown” measures that sequester carbon from the atmosphere. The film illustrates how people all over the world are making critical strides in technological solutions for mitigating climate change. These include marine snow, sea farms, urban farms, and bio char to name a few.
If you’re looking for a serious documentary packed with educational and inspiring stories, then this is for you. However, we recommend that you don’t lose sight of the reality of climate change, despite how encouraging the film makes the state of climate change sound.
“The filmmakers put considerable emphasis here on the rise of renewable energy sources and new advances in carbon sequestration. These technologies offer hope that the world might, just might, be able to keep the global rise in temperature to a still dangerous two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, as committed to by the Paris Agreement. That’s probably a good accentuate-the-positive tactic to take for a television audience, although some might argue that the thrust of Ice on Fire’s argument is too reassuring given how high the stakes are and how bad the data actually looks.” The Hollywood Reporter
Biggest Little Farm
End your night on a happy note by watching The Biggest Little Farm. It’s an inspiring story of a couple with a dream of having their own sustainable farm where they can create a place of harmony and peace. It follows their trials and tribulations during an eight-year experience creating Apricot Lane Farms on 200 acres in Southern California.
The story begins with John Chester, one half of the couple and the director/producer of the film, who, by way of happenstance, adopts a dog and falls in love with the joy he brings to their life. The couple is forced out of their apartment, where they have a small balcony garden, because their dog won’t stop barking when John and Molly, the other half of the wonderful couple, leave the house.
John and Molly’s story of taking a dilapidated farm and turning it into one of the most beautiful farms – let alone sustainable farms – is packed to the brim with excitement, disappointment, nail-biting and tear-worthy (or, at least, we cried) moments. We highly recommend this film.
“This is a must-see film, not just for the primer it offers in how foodways, farming practices and larger environmental forces are crucially connected but for its dazzling imagery of nature in action, both by way of breathtaking close-ups and sensational aerial shots of the farm and its environs.” The Washington Post