Do you ever sit there and think, I know global warming is bad, but what can I do about it? One person can’t make a difference, can they? How can I live a life with less environmental impact? Below are 14 documentaries of people who have made change and brought awareness about the drastic state of the world, that will hopefully educate and inspire you to lead a more sustainable lifestyle.

The True Cost

14 Documentaries To Educate & Encourage A Sustainable Lifestyle

Directed by Andrew Morgan, the True Cost is an eye-opening documentary that highlights the sad truths of the fast fashion industry and the effects it has on the workers exploited, as well as the planet. It brings to light everything behind that bargain label that is often associated with mass produced clothes. The True Cost really illustrates that while people are paying this low price, the planet and workers are suffering with the higher cost of exploitation. It begs people to ask the question of ‘Who made my clothes?’ and ‘If I choose to purchase this, I am therefore supporting this fast-fashion industry and as a result, how will the people and the planet be affected?’

Minimalism: A documentary about the important things

14 Documentaries To Educate & Encourage A Sustainable Lifestyle

Minimalism, directed by Matt D’Avella, is a documentary that addresses the idea that less really is more. It follows various people, including ‘The Minimalists’, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, on a journey of finding meaning through the simple things in life. It is about finding more happiness and content through consuming less.

Planet Earth

14 Documentaries To Educate & Encourage A Sustainable Lifestyle

Planet Earth is a BBC docu-series directed by the well-known David Attenborough. It showcases just some of the breathtaking landscapes that animals inhabit on planet Earth. Amongst the 11 episodes that make up the series, you are able to see snow leopards roaming through the Himalayas, giant salamanders in Japan, walrus in the Arctic – the list goes on. Each episode focuses on a different habitat of the world, such as caves, deserts, fresh water, etc. and is packed with footage of the animals that live within it. It explores the effects of climate change and erosion on the spectacular wildlife and enviornment. Planet Earth is a truly intriguing and informative series that leaves people with a feeling of appreciation for the beautiful planet and Mother Nature.

Forks Over Knives

14 Documentaries To Educate & Encourage A Sustainable Lifestyle

The groundbreaking documentary, Forks over Knives is based on the idea that chronic disease and illness can be prevented or even treated by ditching meat and other animal products, as well as processed products that line the supermarket shelves. It follows a nutritional biochemist and top surgeon in their research to prove this as well as everyday people along the way, who implement this idea into their everyday life and diet.

More Than Honey

14 Documentaries To Educate & Encourage A Sustainable Lifestyle

More Than Honey by Marcus Imhoof, is a film which addresses the worldwide decline of the bee and the way they are kept by exploring honeybee colonies and farms in China, America, Switzerland, and Austria. As the title suggests, bees are more than just honey, and they help to produce one third of the world’s food through pollination. Through exploring the interesting life of bees in the film, people can take away from this that though bees are small, they are a huge contributor to mankind’s survival.

No Impact Man

14 Documentaries To Educate & Encourage A Sustainable Lifestyle

Directed by Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein, No Impact Man is a documentary about an author, Colin Beavan, and his year-long project to live a life with no environmental impact with his family in New York. He gave up what most would call ‘necessities’ in modern society, including electricity, gas-powered vehicles, but also things such as elevators and cosmetics. They only ate local and unprocessed foods which benefited their health, and Beavan says that it ‘reversed his wife’s prediabetic condition’. No Impact Man really does show that even one person, or one family can make a difference in the world.

A Plastic Ocean

14 Documentaries To Educate & Encourage A Sustainable Lifestyle

A Plastic Ocean, directed by journalist Craig Leeson, delves into the true depths of the ocean plastic issue, and the cycle at which plastic is broken up into smaller pieces in the sea, until it is swallowed by marine life, causing drastic environmental impact. Leeson teams up with divers and scientists and travels to 20 locations worldwide that uncovers the startling state of the sea.

The Story of Stuff

14 Documentaries To Educate & Encourage A Sustainable Lifestyle

The Story of Stuff is a 20 minute long fact-filled documentary about the cycle of material goods and consumerism from production to landfill. The filmmakers and The Story of Stuff Project then went on to produce eight other short films to follow, which titles range from The Story of Solutions and The Story of Change, to Ban the Bead (about microbeads). This is a must-watch series which highlights the importance of conscious consumerism and sustainability.

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

14 Documentaries To Educate & Encourage A Sustainable Lifestyle

Cowspiracy is an eye opening documentary which addresses the most environmentally damaging industry on the planet- agriculture. Agriculture is the leading cause of pollution, deforestation, habitat destruction, the list carries on. As filmmaker Kip Anderson begins to uncover more and more truths of the industry, he realises that the industry’s impacts has been just swept under the rug by many environmental organisations.

An Inconvenient Truth

14 Documentaries To Educate & Encourage A Sustainable Lifestyle

An Inconvenient Truth follows former United States Vice President Al Gore’s quest to spread public awareness to aid in preventing global warming through his presidential campaigns. An Inconvenient Truth shows the causes and effects of climate change, as well as solutions to the issue through a presentation that Al Gore delivered to thousands across the globe.

Before the Flood

14 Documentaries To Educate & Encourage A Sustainable Lifestyle

As a United Nations Messenger of Peace, actor Leonardo DiCaprio travels around the world alongside scientists and meets with world leaders to witness the drastic effects of global warming directly in the film, Before the Flood. He also learns that some public figures are campaigning for climate change awareness with insufficient measures that are misleading the public of the true extent of the issue.

The Cove

The Cove is a documentary that follows environmental activist Ric O’Barry and the Ocean Preservation society to Taiji, Japan, to shine a light on the terrible acts of the slaughter of dolphins by local fishermen. The documentary challenges the country’s fishing industry that kills thousands of migrating dolphins each year in a cove near Taiji, as well as the threats that dolphin meat has to people’s health with mercury-poisoning.


14 Documentaries To Educate & Encourage A Sustainable Lifestyle

Directed and produced by Shaun Monson, Earthlings is a documentary which highlights the mankind’s exploitation of animals as pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and scientific research for money, and their suffering that comes with it. Using hidden cameras, the filmmakers were able to capture graphic images and videos in puppy mills, factory farms, and research labs that really illustrate the awful truth throughout the film.

River Blue

14 Documentaries To Educate & Encourage A Sustainable Lifestyle

River Blue is a documentary which brings light to the pollution and destruction of rivers through the fashion industry. It follows conservationist Mark Angelo to rivers in China, India, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, just to name a few, where he uncovers the true extent of the industry’s environmental effects these rivers.

So why don’t you grab a cuppa and watch one of these documentaries above. Some sad and devastating, some intriguing and fascinating, all of them share the truths of the world we live in and will educate and encourage you to make a difference by living a more sustainable lifestyle.


Founder + Blogger

Hey there! I'm Brodie, the passionate blogger behind Ethically Engaged. My mission is to find ethical lifestyle options to lead you in the direction of conscious consumerism. I hope you enjoy coming along this journey with me x

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