If this watchlist had a mixtape-style name, it’d probably be “Because we are of the Earth; the Earth is not ours.” Check out these award-winning and favorite movies that represent not only awesome filmmaking but also portray some fascinating and moving stories about our complicated relationship with the planet and its resources.

 

Bikes vs Cars

I know this and I’m sure you know this: The Waze app and “take Fountain” are not the answer.

Go around the world to cities like Sao Paolo, Toronto, Amsterdam to see the accomplishments and challenges that bike activists and urban planners are contending with. This documentary also zeros in on the City of Angels, dropping some cool and little-known L.A. transportation history: the major streetcar system, bike highways, the car culture genesis story.

 

 

The True Cost

Do you know which industry follows closely behind oil when it comes to dangerous impact on the environment and human lives? *Using some David Bowie lyrics as a hint* “Turn to the left! Fashion! Turn to the right! Fashion.” This documentary breaks it down, and you walk away with some real reasons to care about where your cute stuff comes from and who made it. Watch it on Amazon.

 

 

The Birth of Saké

I like to believe that craftsmanship is like being a good steward of your natural resources; it’s a way to avoid waste. This is a stunning film about a Japanese team of experts that work together to craft a batch of sake, the rice-based liquor, according to a generations-old heritage. If you like a contemplative pace and scene after scene of gorgeous filmmaking, you’ll want to get lost in this. Watch it on Amazon.

 

 

I Am

Film director Tom Shadyac traveled across the globe asking questions like “What’s wrong with our world?” and “What can we do about it?” This documentary movie uncovers some inspiring observations about human nature and how we connect with others and the planet. Watch it on Amazon.

 

 

Food, Inc 

If you want a beginner-level and compelling documentary about the food business and its influence on your basic health and wellness, get you some of this. This is basically an expose on big food corporations–when it’s all about profits and nothing about nutrition and sustenance. My optimist take-away from it: some proof that our collective buyer demand for sustainable options can nudge a pretty greedy corporation in a better direction. Watch on Amazon Prime.

 

More Than Honey

The bee situation needs to have us all shook. This documentary is directed by an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, with some amazing visual style and vantage points on the insect world. While the main storyline is an investigation of the real cause(s) of the bee plague, it’s hard not to geek out on the education you get about bee society. Watch it on Amazon Prime.

 

 

Flight of the Butterflies

This is more of a nature documentary if you just want to chill with a low-key, visual story that follows the monarch butterfly migration across North America. It got me thinking, Am I in a cocoon, caterpillar or butterfly stage right now? I mean, if you’re doing it right, in life you go through many phases of growth and rebirths, no? Watch it on Amazon.

 

 

Food Matters

“The solutions are here. They’ve always been here. Every single person in the world, every culture, every language, every person in the world knows it: You are what you eat.” This documentary is sorta the tough love approach: It drops some knowledge about unsustainable choices like pharmaceuticals and modified foods, and gets real about how you should be making mindful decisions about what you put into your body. Watch it on Amazon.

 

 

An Inconvenient Truth

An oldie but important moment, this documentary was released 10 years ago and is worth a revisit. How much has changed since 2006? How are things worse? Are we getting better fast enough? But seriously, shout out to former VP Al Gore for raising the issue of climate change and moving us to act.

 

 

And there’s a bonus round 10th title!

Before the Flood

Consider this new release as required viewing: It’s a look at the very serious sitch otherwise known as global warming. Our homeboy and Oscar Award-winner Leonardo DiCaprio gets into the science and mobilization efforts to act now to preserve our planet.

**Freebie Alert**: The film is streaming for free through Nov. 6 on Youtube. Also, for every use of #BeforeTheFlood across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram from Oct. 24 – Nov. 18, National Geographic and movie studio Fox will donate $1 to Pristine Seas and $1 to the Wildlife Conservation Society.

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