There’s nothing like sitting down to watch a well-made documentary. While rom-coms and horror flicks take us away from everyday life, documentaries bring us closer to what really matters. tentree’s motto is to protect the world we play in, and so here are 10 documentaries about nature and environmentalism that remind us why this planet is worth fighting for:
1. Food Inc.
Food Inc. and its brutal look at the global fast food industry is definitely not for the faint of heart. In fact, this documentary is responsible for converting a massive number of cheeseburger lovers into die-hard vegetarians. It’s no wonder why – after seeing how a McNugget is made, you’ll be forever scarred.
2. A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash
A Crude Awakening travels from Caracas to Azerbaijan, talking to experts and investigating peak oil and what could happen when Mother Earth runs out of non-renewable resources. Featuring archival footage that’s both startling and powerful, this theatrical documentary will make you feel really good about the next time you ride a bike to work.
3. The Cove
If there’s anything that’s close to the heart of Generation Y, it’s the children’s classic Flipper. Ric O’Barry, the main character of The Cove, captured and trained dolphins for the original TV show, until one of the dolphins committed suicide longing for freedom. Since then, O’Barry’s become a leading advocate against keeping cetaceans in captivity, and this documentary uses state-of-the-art-equipment in the waters near Japan to show why.
This haunting masterpiece of natural wonders and disaster zones was put together from over five years of footage in 25 different countries. Samsara is both breathtaking and bizarre at times, leaving all sorts of burning existential questions long afterwards.
5. The Human Scale
Did you know by the year 2050, 80 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas? Overpopulation is a frightening reality, and one that city planners and architects are struggling to deal with amid great uncertainty. This documentary explores these challenges, especially that of human behaviour and how loneliness can tear apart society.
6. The 11th Hour
Narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio (who is also an environmental activist behind the scenes), this documentary provides innovative and interesting solutions to fixing the planet’s decaying ecosystems. The most profound revelation of the film is the idea that humans will die out long before Earth will.
7. Who Killed the Electric Car?
It’s perhaps the most practical and sustainable invention of our time, yet it almost didn’t even survive the consumer market. Who Killed the Electric Car? is a documentary that’s educational without trying to be, and looks at how Big Oil, car companies and the government have all conspired against the success of renewable energy.
This feature-length documentary is pieced together from the famous BBC television series Planet Earth. Earth follows the migration paths of four animal families, leaving the viewer to revel in the beauty, mystery and diversity of nature.
9. African Cats
Samuel L. Jackson steps up his game as the narrator of this doc about two groups of cats raising their cubs to survive the wild. If you loved March of the Penguins, this is right up the same alley, with an even further developed characters and a storyline about the importance of family.
10. Happy People: A Year in the Taiga
In Happy People, documentary maverick Werner Herzog follows the lives of an indigenous settlement in Siberian Taiga. The natives keep to themselves and as a result, their lifestyle has changed very little for around a century. Their story affirms that technology and materialism are not the real source of true happiness.