Interested in gaining new perspectives on the world we live in? The following documentaries are for you.
Covering topics of global warming, animal welfare, consumer behaviour trends and ethical standards of living, each one has been meticulously researched and expertly produced. Guaranteed to make your mind tick. Enjoy.
1. Before the Flood
With National Geographic and Leonardo DiCaprio’s names behind it, there were no doubts in my mind about the quality of this documentary. DiCaprio discusses the importance of acting now on climate change with world leaders and climate scientists, while incredible camera work shows raw footage of deforestation in Indonesia, melting ice caps in the Arctic and more.
2. The Human Experiment
An incredibly eye-opening film, the human experiment investigates thousands of untested chemicals that are put into products we use every day and packaged as “safe”. It draws links between these toxic chemicals and the rise in specific medical conditions and diseases. Documentary makers Don Hardy Jr. and Dana Nachman released the film in 2003 and are still collecting new research and continuing their fight for all chemicals to be labelled on packaging to this day.
Two very clever dudes who’ve survived tough times teach us how to live with less, and be happier because of it. They use market share figures to show how much mass consumption has spiralled out of control and suggest simple changes we can implement to decrease clutter and increase contentment.
A heart-wrenching investigation into SeaWorld’s unethical captivity regulations. Blackfish focuses on the story of killer whale Tilikum and shows how wild animals can and will turn against their captors when held against their will. Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite gathers shocking firsthand footage and conducts interviews with ex-staff members to give you an insight into the corruption behind the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry.
5. The True Cost
A confronting film that promotes the need for consumers to rethink their cheap clothing choices and for brands to be more transparent in their manufacturing terms. It shows horrific footage of factories where workers are bearing the brunt of society’s fast fashion choices and encourages shoppers to buy ethically.
6. Living On One Dollar
Four teenage boys from America travel to Guatemala to experience life in poverty – surviving off a minuscule one dollar each day. They battle sickness and fight off chronic exhaustion while working and living just as their incredibly resilient local neighbours do.
7. Earthlings / Unity / Beings
A three-part series (one of which has not yet been released) that looks at all life on earth as not the same, but equal. Delving into the unethical way animals and other humans have been treated for years, both Earthlings and Unity are gutwrenchingly powerful. Beings is still currently in production and will be released in 2020.
8. The Cove
The Cove follows a devastating investigation into the capture and slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan. Filmmaker Louis Psihoyos and Activist Ric O’Barry work with the Ocean Preservation Society to expose the cruel and inhumane Japanese practice, risking their lives to do so.
9. Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
A journey through space and time (literally), showing the drastic impacts of climate change and global warming on the earth’s surface. Award-winning documentarian Carl Sagan demonstrates humankind’s quest for knowledge by taking the audience on an expedition around the universe.
10. Anything by David Attenborough
This man is pure genius. Attenborough’s documentaries show our big beautiful planet in its rawest natural state. I’d love to say I’ve seen every single one but considering he’s produced over 100, dating back forty years before my birth, I’m not quite up to scratch yet. A few of my favourites are:
- The Blue Planet I (2001) & The Blue Planet II (2017)
- Planet Earth I (2006) & Planet Earth II (2016)
- Life (2009)
- The Truth About Climate Change (2010)