Becoming more eco-friendly usually begins with education and awareness. Documentaries can help us explore extraordinary wildlife and planets, while helping us understand the truths about endangered species, food waste, and climate change.
Here are five documentary films and series that offer unique perspectives on nature and our impact on the environment through the eyes of filmmakers, scientists, and local communities.
1) Our Planet
"This series will celebrate the natural wonders that remain and reveal what we must preserve to ensure people and nature thrive.” — Sir David Attenborough, narrator, Our Planet
In 2019, Netflix released Our Planet, an eight-episode series portraying the most significant habitats worldwide and the threats they face. Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, it will educate you about how our intricate ecosystems work and what we can do to protect them. Understanding and valuing the diversity of life on Earth contributes to maintaining a healthy planet. Each episode highlights an issue and brings viewers along, from the people and animals living near the north and south poles dealing with planet warming to the shrinkage of grasslands, the rich home of our largest land animals.
2) Down to Earth with Zac Efron
"We need to start rethinking how we consume everything, from our food to our power." - Zac Efron, narrator, Down To Earth with Zac Efron
In Down To Earth with Zac Efron, actor Zac Efron and wellness expert and entrepreneur Darin Olien journey around the world exploring local food, from Iceland to Sardinia to France. The charismatic duo is on a mission to find more sustainable and healthier solutions to enrich our lives by engaging with local experts in each destination on subjects including renewable energy, pollution reduction, and nutrition. Down To Earth with Zac Efron is worth watching if you enjoy a series that is both entertaining and informative.
“I think there’s room for a different story, a story that focuses on the solutions to some of these problems.” - Damon Gameau, narrator, 2040
Directed by Australian filmmaker and environmentalist Damon Gameau, 2040 is a documentary movie highlighting an optimistic guide to reversing global warming and improving quality of life through community projects. Inspired by concerns about the planet his 4-year-old daughter may inherit, Gameau began his global journey to meet changemakers and innovators in areas ranging from technology, education, agriculture, and sustainability. The filmmaker makes complicated subjects accessible with well-chosen experts, engaging visuals, and a can-do approach.
In 2040, Gameau discusses solar power and how it can enable households to donate or sell excess power to neighbors on the microgrid. ecobee also produces technology that allows homeowners to make better energy choices. The eco+ software for ecobee smart thermostats learn household schedules to maximize savings without compromising comfort and unlocks lower energy rates and incentives from local energy providers.
In areas where the Community Energy Savings feature is available, eco+ can make temporary temperature adjustments to your thermostat (1–4 degrees for a maximum of 2–4 hours) when electricity demand in your community peaks. This lessens the strain on the power grid to reduce blackouts and brownouts and increases the consumption of cleaner energy. By enrolling in Community Energy Savings, you can also receive rewards from your local utility. While you may not even notice a difference in temperature, comfort is always in your control, and you can always opt-out of the program.
4) Wasted! The Story of Food Waste
“We don’t need to produce more. We need to act differently.” - Massimo Bottura, narrator, Wasted! The Story of Food Waste
Wasted! The Story of Food Waste will take you around the world, showing you how approximately 1.3-billion tons of food are wasted yearly, even as more than 800-million people face food insecurity. The documentary follows the world’s most influential chefs like the late Anthony Bourdain, Mario Batali, Danny Bowien, Dan Barber, and Massimo Bottura to explore how they make the most of every food type. Their ability to turn what we consider scraps into delicious dishes will inspire you to waste less food in the kitchen. The documentary also exposes the connections between food waste and climate change and offers solutions that inspire us to make changes.
For more tips on how to reduce food waste, check out our blog post How to Reduce Food Waste at Home.
5) A Plastic Ocean
“Only a fraction of the plastic that we produce is recycled.” - Craig Leeson, narrator, A Plastic Ocean
Craig Leeson, an Australian journalist, directed this documentary released in 2016. It documents and illustrates the shocking impacts of plastic pollution on our environment. A Plastic Ocean features contrasting footage between the beautiful, pristine ocean environment and one covered in thick layers of plastic debris. Throughout the film, Leeson interviews experts who offer insights into the repercussions of our overdependence on plastic. There is so much plastic in the ocean now, but our day-to-day actions can help reduce how much more goes in and lower the strain on the environment.
At ecobee, we strive to reduce waste. That’s why our latest products, the ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium and ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced, are packed inside fully compostable 100% tapioca starch trays wrapped in recycled paper and cardboard packaging. We also offer refurbished thermostats at a lower price, with the same industry-leading three-year warranty as our new devices. Check out our post to learn about The Benefits of Buying Refurbished Products.
These documentaries can help you start thinking about how to reduce food waste and plastic use or save energy during peak hours. Watching them does not mean that we will save the planet, but the messages can inspire us to take small actions that can make a big difference.
For more tips about how to save the environment, check our posts about How to Transition Your Home to Cleaner Energy, How to Conserve More Energy This Summer, and Five Resolutions to Make your Home More Eco-friendly & Comfortable This Year.
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