I love Netflix because for a very low price, you have access to not only great entertainment but some of the best documentaries on a variety of topics. So without further ado here are my top favorite documentaries that I truly believe everyone has to watch:
- The True Cost
Why not start my list with a bang! This is a documentary talking about our relationship to the clothing we own. From beginning stages of where the materials come from, to who makes the clothes, to how long the average item of clothing’s life expectancy is now-days, to what happens to the clothing after. It addresses all of it. The True Cost opens your eyes to the environmental affects that fast fashion has on our planet and the inhumane treatment regarding those who make our highly consumed and discarded clothes. It explains why clothes are so much cheaper now than they ever have been before in the history of time and how clothing is no longer a seasonal collection. Many stores now have new inventory on a weekly basis! Fast fashion is truly one of the worst offenders to our environment which is why this documentary exposes fashion’s true cost. You won’t look at the clothes on the racks the same after watching this,…which is a good thing.
2. Food, Inc.
This documentary is probably the first, if not one of them, of documentaries I watched talking specifically about the food industry and the negative affects it has on our health and the environment. It exposes the unsustainable practices we use to farm our foods which is depleting natural resources, and adding toxins into our environment. These practices in turn are linked directly to why we are having a health epidemic of modern day illnesses in our country. Food, Inc. also talks about the abuse that goes on to our animals and employees. I would definitely suggest this being a starting point on documentaries to watch about the food that we eat.
3. Fed Up
This documentary talks a lot about what types of food, and food companies are funded and subsidized by the government. Exposing the corruption and deceit that companies and government have to make a profit. Often we are told that we are overweight and sick, and that our children are because they eat too much and don’t move around or exercise enough. We’re finding that that isn’t the truth but that our bodies react differently to certain food than others. In other words, calories aren’t all created equal. Our addiction to processed, unnatural foods change our taste preferences and the way our brains are wired and ultimately making it almost impossible to get off the rat race of diet and exercise to get healthier. It’s not until we stop eating things in packages and start eating true food that we can heal our bodies and minds.
Based on the book “Cooked” written by Michael Pollen, a New York Times Best-Selling Author, this docu-series talks about the very basic principle of what makes us “human.” What separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom, which is that we cook our food. Fire, Water, Air, and Earth are the four natural elements that has evolved and shaped our most basic foods we have been consuming for thousands of years. Beyond the food, this documentary takes a look into how this act of nourishing our bodies connects us with those we love and share community with.
5. Forks Over Knives
Based on the book, “The China Study,” which is one of the most comprehensive study on nutrition ever conducted by M.D. Thomas M. Campbell and PhD T. Colin Campbell. Essentially the study done proved that animal products “turn-on” cancer cells while consuming plants “turn-off” them. T. Colin Campbell is quoted saying to New York Times:
“The idea is that we should be consuming whole foods. We should not be relying on the idea that genes are determinants of our health. We should not be relying on the idea that nutrient supplementation is the way to get nutrition, because it’s not. I’m talking about whole, plant-based foods.”6. Living On One Dollar
Many people in the developing world live on the equivalent of one US Dollar a day. Four college friends take it upon themselves to live in rural Guatemala for 56 days on only $1 a day. They document the experience as they try to live like the locals, growing a crop during that time to sell and the struggles that come with poverty in the developing world. This documentary is very eye opening to what it would be like to not live with what we think to be very basic necessities and what families in these areas are faced with.
7. A Plastic Ocean
I was a little apprehensive to watch this because of the title alone, but I’m so glad I did. My daughter watched it with me and she was full of questions the whole time as to why the fish were full of plastic pieces and how did the plastic bags get into the water? The people documented in this movie who dedicate their lives to researching and teaching people on the negative affects plastic has on the ocean are genuine people who have a love and amazement for a part of the world we know very little about. What we do know is how much we rely on the ocean for our sustainability as humans and we are polluting it in enormous amounts with our plastic consumption. If you want motivation to kick the plastic habit, this will do it to you as you watch animals dying because they are filled with plastic and learning on the negative affects mico-plastics have on the fishes health, and ultimately, our own. It’s amazing how something that’s treated as a disposable is anything BUT disposable.
I hope you’ve made it to this point down my list of documentaries to watch because this one is my new favorite. I religiously listen to The Minimalists podcast every Tuesday. Josh and Ryan, better known by their blog as “The Minimalists,” interview many different people who live the ‘minimalist’ lifestyle on varying different levels. The concept being that there is no “right-way” but that ultimately owning less and putting less emphasis on material possessions gives you the freedom of living a more intentional life that helps one to focus on what values you have for yourself, giving your life more meaning. I love this documentary and I love Josh and Ryan’s podcast. They have great insight into how to live a life with intention and purpose.
One of my favorite things said in the documentary, though I can’t recall who it was said by, was that it’s not that we are too materialistic, but it’s that we aren’t materialist enough. Meaning we don’t see the value of items, we don’t take care of what we have, we see things as disposable, replaceable.
At first glance you may think, “What does being happy have to do with the environment?” Often we seek for material possessions to make us happy; clothes, house, expensive trips, but the principles that bring true happiness have nothing to do with material possessions. There is a certain amount of our basic needs being met that does make us truly happy, but after that point, when you are not in need, happiness comes from the things that you can’t buy.
A man’s journey to live a more “green” life suddenly realizes that one of the biggest offenders on the environment is the animal agriculture industry. He goes on a quest to find out why environmental non-profits aren’t talking about this? If you profess that you’ve changed your ways to being “more green” or “more eco-friendly” this documentary will open up your eyes to how little of an impact taking short showers or recycling your water bottles have on the environment compared to what’s on your plate at dinner time.
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