Sustainability Must Watch

To complement our sustainability reading list, we’ve found a variety of movies that provide insight and viewpoints on many sustainability and environmental issues. These movies can be checked out from the Georgia College library or your local library, or can be streamed on Netflix or Amazon.


Fig. 1. Ina Dillard Russel library’s DVD collection which can be found on the second floor.

Taking Root: The Vision of Mangari Waathi is a documentary about the life of Wangar Maathai and the Green Belt movement. The Green Belt Movement started off as a grassroot effort to improve the community, fight deforestation, and lead to economic development in Kenya. This documentary, directed by Alan Derter and Lisa Merton, features interviews from people directly involved with the Green Belt Movement. This documentary shows how planting trees and tending to them was a way for the women of Kenya to get around oppressive laws. The film uses first-person accounts and archival footage to tell the story of how the Green Belt Movement helped end a dictatorship and vastly improved the environment of Kenya. You can check out Taking Root: The Vision of Mangari Waathi from the GC library or buy it off Amazon.

Flow: For Love of Water was released in 2008 and was directed by Irena Selina. This film focuses on how waterways across the world are being effected by corporations and other factors. Throughout the film, scientists and activists are interviewed about the availability of water. Ms. Selina argues that water resources are quickly dwindling due to over-use and pollution. While the film mostly discusses how water is decreasing, it also examines technology that can help the water supply as well. You can check out Flow: For the Love of Water at the GC library or buy it off Amazon.

Tapped is a documentary about the bottled water industry and its ecological impact on the environment. Tapped was directed by Stephanie Soechtig and Jason Lindsay. Tapped examines the efforts of Nestle to privatize public water for company gain and how bottled water became so prevalent. This film features interviews with scientists, chemists, government officials, and townsfolk to show how bottled water is harming the environment. You can buy Tapped from Amazon or watch it on Netflix.

Fossil Free is a documentary that examines the efforts of climate change activists to get wealthy investors to invest more in renewable resources. Fossil Free was released in 2015 and was directed by Martijn Kieft. The documentary examines divestment movements, which are efforts to redirect invested money from fossil fuels and into renewable energy sources, across the world and their successes and losses against companies that support fossil fuels. The film follows several people as they campaign for divestment by meeting with politicians, business executives, and investment firms. Mr. Kieft has made Fossil Free available for free screening, so you can watch the film on YouTube.

Chasing Ice is a documentary about National Geographic’s James Balog filming of the glaciers in the Artic. Mr. Balog used time-lapse camera to capture years’ worth of images and turn them into videos that show the effects of global warming. The film follows the aftermath such an endeavor had on Balog’s career, crew, and skeptics of climate change. The film is filled with beautiful but haunting images of glaciers in Greenland, Alaska, and Iceland; and is a visual delight. Chasing Ice was awarded the 2014 News and Documentary Emmy for Outstanding Nature Programming. You can buy Chasing Ice from Amazon, iTunes, or watch it on Netflix.

While movies give good insight into the environment, there are a plethora of TED Talks available to watch as well. TED Talks about the environment range from topics such as sustainable design, substitutes for oil, and much more. While they are all informative, we have picked out a few to highlight. These TED Talks are The Missing Link to Renewable Energy, How Pollution is Changing the Ocean’s Chemistry, and This App Makes It Fun to Pick Up Litter.

In The Missing Link to Renewable Energy, Donald Sodaway examines the biggest problem to renewable energy, maintaining a supply when the source is not active. Mr. Sadoway also explains how he is working on a new battery that may solve the problem. In How Pollution is Changing the Ocean’s Chemistry, Kristin Marhaver explains how the ocean is being impacted by the increasing CO2 levels around the world. Ms. Marhaver also explains how ocean water is collected, examined, and studied and what the findings mean for the future of aquatic life. Jeff Kirchner examines how his app, Litterati, is being used to track littering data and reduce the act around the world in This App Makes It Fun To Pick Up Litter. Mr. Kirchner also draws the connection with how littering data can be used by brands to change their environmental impact.

These are just the few of the many movies and TED Talks about the environment and sustainability. Try to watch many different films to gain various perspectives and expand your knowledge of environmental issues and changes.

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