January 13, 2020
After all the festive season’s excesses (we hope we all keep the waste that comes with it to a minimum), there is no better feeling than being warm and cosy indoors cuddled up on the sofa watching a great movie, or why not an eye-opening documentary?
We all know by now the seriousness of climate change, while a combination of extreme heat, prolonged drought and strong winds caused uncontrollable fires in Australia sadly, there is no space to deny the climate emergency we are in.
Netflix offers an extensive range of informative documentaries on the environment, wellbeing, lifestyle and sustainability. Perfect to expand your knowledge from the comfort of your sofa. We have listed our top five favourites below, including their trailers, so grab a blanket, some snacks, get comfy and enjoy!
Our Planet (2019)
Narrated by the nations beloved, Sir David Attenborough, Our Planet is one of the most relaxing, captivating and inspiring nature and ecology documentaries on Netflix. From the creator of Planet Earth and Blue Planet, this limited, visionary series educates us about ‘the wonder of the extraordinary place we call home’.
Season one presents our planet’s natural beauty via eight episodes, encompassing frozen worlds, jungles, coastal and high seas, deserts to grasslands, fresh water and forests. This ambitious documentary examines how climate change impacts all living species whilst humanity battles to protect their diverse habitats.
I would highly recommend watching this! The ultra high definition cinematography – filmed in over 50 countries – captures every detail and texture. It will open your eyes to the incredibly beautiful yet fragile interdependence that exists in this world and to the connections we all share.
The Game Changers (2018)
Watching The Game Changers quite literally ‘changed my game’ when it comes to my diet. My friends urged me to watch it and, now that I have, I can see why. This controversial, investigative documentary ultimately explores the benefits of a plant-based diet over eating meat.
A UFC fighter meets scientists and athletes to determine the optimal diet for both health and performance. He discovers how people can survive on a plant-based diet alone and amazingly perform at a higher, more powerful level without having animal protein for their sports nutrition.
Produced by Jackie Chan, Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron, and featuring professionals such as Lewis Hamilton, this documentary mixes shocking science with ‘cinematic stories of struggle and triumph’.
I, too, agree with Arnold Schwarzenegger that what we see in the commercials, selling the idea that ‘real men eat meat’ is a lie and is false marketing. He is living proof! I think that making the switch to a plant-based diet will change people’s lives for the better. I am now consciously making an effort to reduce my meat consumption. Well worth a watch!
Before the Flood (2016)
If you are a fan of Leonardo DiCaprio, you will love this. I greatly appreciate his Academy Award-winning acting skills, but it is his environmental activism which makes me fall in love with him that little bit more.
Throughout this documentary, it is Leo’s mission to find out whether the damage from climate change can be corrected in time. Directed by filmmaker Fisher Stevens, Before the Flood has aired globally on National Geographic – the world’s premium destination for science, exploration and adventure – and features the likes of Barack Obama, Elon Musk and Pope Francis.
Leo faces the most important issue of our time and questions politicians and explorers around the world about how we can act fast on behalf of saving the environment. Ice fields are melting, forests are being destroyed and paradises are lost in peril.
We need to put the concern of lifestyle and consumption at the centre of climate negotiations and a long-term strategy must be discussed internationally. In the words of Barack Obama, ‘if we keep pushing, there is no reason why we cannot solve this problem’. 10/10 in my opinion – please watch!!
Minimalism is a motivational social and cultural documentary about the important things in life, presenting the prominence of ‘less is more’. Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus are the stars of the show who call themselves ‘The Minimalists’, believing they live a better and more meaningful life with less.
We have all been there hoarding items that hold little to no meaning for us yet we cannot possibly chuck them out. In Minimalism, we witness people from all walks of life sacrifice their belongings, taking control of the present-day problem that is compulsory consumption. They are rejecting the American ideal that material things bring happiness.
Hopefully after watching this, it will flick a switch in your mind prompting you not to keep things for the sake of it. Ask yourself ‘do I really need this?’ when contemplating your next purchase. You might be surprised at your satisfaction and happiness levels!
A Plastic Ocean (2016)
Explorers Craig Leeson and Tanya Streeter have created a provocative documentary investigating the causes of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans and the consequent environmental impacts. The duo of an ocean-loving journalist and a world champion freediver makes for an adventurous watch.
A Plastic Ocean was filmed over four years on more than 20 locations with a team of international scientists. Their findings are outstanding. Only a fraction of the plastic that we produce is recyclable.
Every year eight million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans and the record is 276 pieces of plastic inside of one 90-day year old chick. It is heartbreaking to see how man-made produce is damaging other species and their environment.
What I took away from this film is that ‘change is possible, it starts with us… to save our future, we need a wave of change’.
These are my top five favourite eye-opening documentaries not to miss this year. With quality thought-provoking content, it is no surprise that Netflix is the world’s leading internet entertainment service.
These documentaries have all taught me ways to help the planet; we need to start living more consciously and sustainably. As the Queen stated in her 2019 Christmas Speech, ‘small steps can make a world of difference’! I am hopeful that we can follow this through and make the changes we need in 2020.