By Tessa Whitby @UNLITTER Team
For those in search of solution-oriented documentaries that focus on regenerative sciences and positive progressive options, we have hand-picked a selection of top #UNLITTER Netflix Picks. There are many environmentally destructive aspects of “big industry” that should not be overlooked. It’s our responsibility to lift up and empower groups and individuals who are solution-oriented and take action where we can in our own lifestyle choices. There is a huge movement of people who recognize the difficult realities we are facing, and who are doing their best to influence a shift toward regenerative and sustainable practices that deserve to be heard. Together, we can educate and empower each other to take action, fight back, #UNLITTER the world, and restore our Earth.
While most of these movies do focus on restorative science and progressive action, we still encourage you to watch with a critical eye! Documentaries should always be considered more of a “starting point” than a direct source of information or fact reference. Not all of these movies are flawless, but they are rooted in progressive change and restorative sciences. Read our recent blog post “#UNLITTER The Food System: Seaspiracy Thoughts and Clarification” to learn more about what we liked, and didn’t like about the most recent Netflix documentary.
We hope to see more mainstream documentaries voicing systemic change for the environment that are solution-oriented and scientifically accurate. Another noticeable factor in many mainstream films is that there should be a louder voice given to indigenous cultures. Often there is little recognition of the regenerative traditions that are an inherent part of many different indigenous peoples' customs or the role they play in maintaining biodiversity. We also hope to see that people’s interest in activism doesn't lose steam when the Seaspiracy hype wears off. If this movie struck a chord with you in any way, then keep educating and taking action toward progressive change. Together we can influence the transformation that needs to happen, but it is crucial we do not create further division or confusion, as we take on the difficult realities we are facing.
#UNLITTER Solution-oriented Environmental Documentaries:
A Plastic Ocean (Netflix)- This documentary is a great example of how consistent and credible facts have no need for extra drama. The film details the dangers of microplastics and the impact of industrial infrastructures on ocean biodiversity. Interviews with various scientists and conservationists shed light on the horror but also illuminate a greater hope for progressive action and solution-based thinking. Additionally, this film gives a little more of a voice to disproportionately affected cultures doing everything they can to fight against the odds with the limited resources they have.
David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet (Netflix)- This captivating documentary expresses a great urgency but also a strong hope for the future. With a focus on restoring biodiversity and “Rewilding the World”, we can take a deeper look into the potential of systemic solutions through regenerative science. David Attenborough, who is now in his 90s, has witnessed many sides of life as a natural scientist and historian. His personal plea for the future disproves myths, splits open taboos, and uses the foundations of science and sustainability to pose feasible solutions.
Kiss The Ground (Netflix)- An uplifting take on the very unnerving truth about our food system narrated by Woody Harrelson featuring doctors, scientists, activists, and farmers. The current state of our soil health is in great danger. It can no longer be seen as a rumor or myth that we are destroying our planet’s biodiversity through our food system. Industrial agriculture and industrial meat both play a large role in the current state of our topsoil and our overall health.
The good news is, there are many dedicated indigenous peoples, scientists, and farmers working endlessly to restore health to our soil. Regenerative Agriculture practices are largely based on the practices that many indigenous cultures maintained for centuries before Western influence. From carbon sequestration to permaculture, this movie does not skip a beat explaining the details of the problems we are dealing with. It offers a very rational perspective on the direct ways we are altering soil health and the very near future but also draws out a map for how we can change it. Positive solutions are possible for our food industry, and that vision is made clear in this movie. It is our job to educate ourselves and take action. (Other great movies on this topic but not streaming on Netflix: Gather, The Sacred Cow, The Need to GROW)
Brave Blue World (Netflix)- Narrated by Liam Neeson, featuring Matt Damon, and Jaden Smith, this film tackles the realities of our water crisis and the race to solve it. It’s become apparent that we are reaching a frightening time in relation to safe water and sanitation. More areas than ever before around the world are facing issues with undrinkable water, droughts, contamination, and other water-related problems. It’s time we looked deeper at how we are contributing to these issues and figure out restorative ways to make safe water and sanitation accessible everywhere. There is so much potential to fix these problems before it’s too late, it’s essential that we start to take action and raise awareness to secure our future.
Minimalism (Netflix)- Produced by Matt D'Avella, Ryan Nicodemus, and Joshua Fields Millburn, this documentary pairs with a series also available on Netflix called The Minimalists. It explores the concept that the fewer things you own, the happier you will be. We are often so caught up in the consumer journey that we forget what actually matters to us. Finding ways to step back and take a deep look at what you really need in your life, is essential to finding balance and taking care of mental health.
Chasing Coral (Netflix) - This film offers a positive take on how we can protect our coral reefs from the global devastation and destruction they are facing. The biodiversity of our oceans is in a very delicate state, and coral reefs are an intricate part of that system. There is very inspiring monumental work being done to revive these organisms and raise awareness about the ways we need to change.
Sometimes, learning about the realities of the climate crisis can be heartbreaking and exhausting. Research and action is important, but so is mental health. Mindfulness is essential to master when facing such challenging times! We hope you enjoy this selection of #UNLITTERYOURMIND bonus movies if you need a little break but still want some inspiration.
#UNLITTERYOURMIND Bonus Choices:
The Creative Brain (Netflix) - Narrated by neuroscientist David Eagleman, this film takes us on a journey through the creative history of humanity, and peaks into the future we can build together. Innovation is a part of all of us in some form, and it has helped us to come as far as we have. This film aims to inspire viewers to think outside the box and take risks to create a reality that is rooted in growth, equality, beauty, and progress.
Your Mind Explained (Netflix) - This limited series narrated by Emma Stone, dives into how the human brain actually works. From dreaming to anxiety disorders, it’s natural to have questions about the complexity of the mind. This series answers some of those questions and explores the ways that mindfulness and science are connected to the human experience.
Expedition Happiness (Netflix)- A very real and refreshing perspective of what it’s like to live on the road in pursuit of the simpler, true joys of life. This incredible couple, Selima Taibi and Felix Starck, accompanied by their dog Rudi, completely transform a school bus into a mobile home and quest across Canada down the Pacific Coast, all the way to Mexico. Their journey takes them through some of the most beautiful sights to see, but also offers a very real take on some of the obstacles they end up facing. The soundtrack produced by the filmmakers (Mogli- band name) is absolutely entrancing and adds so much ambiance to the odyssey. The realizations made throughout the movie are absolutely inspiring and insightful.
Into The Wild (Netflix) - This biographical movie starring Emile Hersch and directed by Sean Penn, is an undeniable timeless classic. For those who have already seen it, it is always worth revisiting. Based on the memoirs of “Alexander Supertramp” (Chris McCandless), Into the Wild is an epic story of a man whose feelings of deep disconnection with society inspired him to embark on a journey into the great unknown. His travels through the US to his destination in the Alaskan wilderness evoke powerful life realizations that will move you to tears. The connection between nature and the soul is undeniable through his eyes and reveals some hard-to-handle truths about the human struggles with relationships and society. Nevertheless, it has a very powerful message that continues to make it a timeless cult classic movie choice.
The Midnight Gospel (Netflix) - This adult animated series written by Duncan Trussell (comedian, philosopher, and podcast host) and art created by Pendleton Ward (Adventure Time creator), should not be a series you miss! Taking place in an alternate dimension, the main character Clancy travels through different worlds in his universe simulator and meets all sorts of inspirational influences from beyond. This visual animated adventure “explores existential questions about life, death, and everything in-between”. To experience such moving realizations through captivating art and hysterical scenarios is one you will never forget and will absolutely recommend to all of your friends.
How to Meditate: Headspace Series (Netflix) - One last limited series you won’t want to miss. Whether you meditate already or are thinking about trying it out, this series walks you through what you need to know. The power of the human mind is undeniable, but mastering these powers takes effort. Headspace takes a step-by-step journey into mindful observation and useful tactics to practice in daily routines that will encourage self-growth, love, and understanding.
We hope you found some new suggestions for your next movie night from this selection of #UNLITTER Solution-oriented Netflix picks. Make sure to sign up for the #UNLITTER Newsletter to keep up to date with sustainable tips, resources, events, and more! We plan to organize and announce a virtual screening in the near future and we would love for you to join us and explore the ways we can change the future together. If you're taking action this upcoming Earthday, no matter how small, we would love to hear about it! We hope to encourage everyone to embrace Earthday every day, however you can.