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50 Eco-Conscious Documentaries to Honor Earth's Birthday

By Films For Action / filmsforaction.org
Apr 22, 2017
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50 Eco-Conscious Documentaries to Honor Earth's Birthday
Art by Leon Bedore

Pachamama, our dear Mother Earth, is 4.5 billion years old. She is home to an estimated 8.7 million species of life! This wondrous web of relationships is truly a gift to be a part of, and we can thank our growing and evolving Mother Earth for the eyes and mind we have to appreciate our relationship with her. Just think - we evolved to have a form of consciousness that would eventually see that, as Earth is one meta-organism, we are the consciousness of that organism. In the same way that trees and plants are the lungs and ocean currents are like a circulatory system, humans are consciousness!

Earth Day is a day to be filled with cool epiphanies like these. It's a day to honor the many connections and relationships we have to Papatūānuku, and to remember that we really, truly are not separate from the universe. We are the universe.

While we have people like Rachel Carson, Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson and David Suzuki to thank for teaching us the scientific understandings behind this reality, Earth Day is also a day to give thanks to our indigenous elders - the oldest wisdom carriers of our human family - for retaining this wisdom so that the cultures who forgot could some day remember. We are still in that process of remembering. And in the spirit of that remembrance, we wanted to put together this list of environmental, eco-conscious documentaries. 

Most of them are free to watch online or can be watched for a few dollars. Just click the link for each film to watch. 

Happy Earth Day. <3

The Evolution of Ecological Consciousness (2013)
109 min · Permaculture designer Andrew Faust gives us an inspiring and heady narrative about the evolution of all life and human consciousness on Mother Earth.  For more info about the Center for Bioregional Living or to subscribe to the...
The Global Brain: Peter Russell (1983)
35 min · Peter Russell’s award-winning video, based on a live audio-visual presentation in 1983. He explores the idea that the Earth is an integrated, self-regulating living organism and asks what function humanity might have for this planetary...
Earth Days (2009)
102 min · While the publication of Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring in 1962 has been cited by many as the dawn of the environmental movement, the celebration of the first Earth Day in 1970 demonstrated to many that the concern over pollution...
United Natures: a United Nations of all Species (2013)
103 min · United Natures explores the Rights of Mother Earth, Environmental Philosophy, Wisdom, Spirituality and the potential for a Neo-indigenous future for humanity. Directed and produced by Peter Charles Downey, who most recently made...
HOME (2009)
93 min · We are living in exceptional times. Scientists tell us that we have 10 years to change the way we live, avert the depletion of natural resources and the catastrophic evolution of the Earth's climate. The stakes are high for us and our...
Dirt! The Movie (2009)
80 min · DIRT! The Movie takes you inside the wonders of the soil. It tells the story of Earth's most valuable and underappreciated source of fertility--from its miraculous beginning to its crippling degradation. The opening scenes of the film...
A New Story for Humanity (2016)
102 min · A New Story For Humanity presents a beautifully and sensitively woven tapestry of the rich diversity that is the human family. Featuring interviews on the essential topics of our time: from cosmology to ecology, from ancient wisdom to...
A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity (2016)
79 min · A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity is a feature-length documentary that follows a community in Australia who came together to explore and demonstrate a simpler way to live in response to global crises. Throughout the year the group...
Origins (2014)
101 min · This is a movie about how we have left the natural connection to the planet. The movie investigates how this has happened, the incredible amounts of pollutants that we are exposed to, even as a fetus, and the technology that can help...
The Choice Is Ours (2016)
59 min · This film series explores many aspects of our society. To rethink what is possible in our world, we need to consider what kind of world we want to live in. Although we refer to it as civilization, it is anything but civilized. Visions...
DIVE! Living Off America's Waste (2009)
53 min · Inspired by a curiosity about our country's careless habit of sending food straight to landfills, the multi award-winning documentary DIVE! follows filmmaker Jeremy Seifert and friends as they dumpster dive in the back alleys and gated...
Our Land - A 6 Part Series about Revolutionizing Our Relationship to Food & Land
60 min · We have created this series of films to celebrate and interpret intervention, undertaken by individuals and communities, to shift our food and farm economy.  These episodes each address a major systemic failure of the old food...
Years of Living Dangerously (2014)
60 min · Hollywood celebrities and respected journalists span the globe to explore the issues of climate change and cover intimate stories of human triumph and tragedy.    In this first episode, we’re taken across the world to get various...
Ecological Learning Through Direct Experience (2015)
45 min · This is a documentary about getting out into the natural world and learning from the wisdom of land and people - focusing on how rewilding our perception might be the catalyst for the changes we wish to see in the world.
Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective (2015)
92 min · Humanity is more than ever threatened by its own actions; we hear a lot about the need to minimize footprints and to reduce our impact. But what if our footprints were beneficial? What if we could meet human needs while increasing the...
Gimme Green (2007)
27 min · Gimme Green is a humorous look at the American obsession with the residential lawn and the effects it has on our environment, our wallets and our outlook on life. From the limitless subdivisions of Florida to sod farms in the arid...
Earth Pilgrim (2008)
49 min · A spiritual journey into the ethereal landscape of Dartmoor with Satish Kumar, the world-renowned ecologist & creator of Resurgence magazine. Through changing seasons, Satish walks the moor and explores ancient woods and rivers, home to...
The Economics of Happiness (Abridged Version)
19 min · This is a shortened version of the award-winning feature-length documentary film, The Economics of Happiness. Cut down from 68 minutes to less than 20, it provides an introduction to the concept of localization - a systemic alternative...
PLANETARY  (2015)
81 min · We are in the midst of a global crisis of perspective. We have forgotten the undeniable truth that everything is connected. PLANETARY is a provocative and breathtaking wakeup call, a cross continental, cinematic journey, that explores...
Planet Ocean (2014)
88 min · Can we imagine a film that would change the way people look at the ocean? Can we explain simply, to everyone, the greatest natural mystery of our planet? And lastly, can we help our children believe in a better and more sustainable...
Honey At The Top (2016)
57 min · Kenya: a forest people #fightback as they are illegally evicted, beaten & imprisoned - paid for by the World Bank. HONEY AT THE TOP is the new documentary from Dean Puckett ( Grasp The Nettle Films ) about the Sengwer forest people of...
The Nature of Cities (2010)
39 min · "The Nature Of Cities" follows the journey of Professor Timothy Beatley as he explores urban projects around the world, representing the new green movement that hopes to move our urban environments beyond sustainability to a...
Within Reach (2013)
87 min · Within Reach explores one couple's pedal-powered search for a place to call home. Mandy and Ryan gave up their jobs, cars, and traditional houses to 'bike-pack' 6500 miles around the USA seeking sustainable community. Rather than...
The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil (2006)
52 min · When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, Cuba's economy went into a tailspin. With imports of oil cut by more than half – and food by 80 percent – people were desperate. This film tells of the hardships and struggles as well as the...
Regreening the Desert with John D. Liu (2012)
48 min · "It's possible to rehabilitate large-scale damaged ecosystems with the use of permaculture design principles and techniques." Environmental filmmaker John D. Liu documents large-scale ecosystem restoration projects in China, Africa...
Here and Now (2015)
18 min · Here and Now weaves together social justice, land conservation, human history, and scientific knowledge into a cohesive and moving story about what’s possible by working together. We learn about four innovative partnerships between...
Where Do You Draw the Line? (2016)
60 min · Why is the Ecuadorian government proposing to extract oil in an area frequently classified by ecologists as one of the most bio-diverse rainforest regions left intact on earth? Featuring music and narration from Daddy G of Massive...
Unwasted: The Future Of Business On Earth (2011)
54 min · Unwasted presents the alluring ideal of zero waste as a key element of the sustainable business model. While some may shake their heads thinking this an impossible task, it’s worth remembering that mankind had a zero waste lifestyle up...
Singapore: Biophilic City (2012)
44 min · A whirlwind week in Singapore exploring the amazing story of how Singapore came to be one of the most 'biophilic' cities of the world, on the cutting edge of ecocity design and innovation. Did you have any idea? There has been...
Seeing the Forest (2015)
31 min · This documentary tells the story of how a national forest service evolved from seeing trees as its primary resource, to seeing the forest whole.
Recipe For Change | Building an Earthship in Ushuaia (2014)
62 min · The first feature length documentary having been conceived by the Valhalla Movement, Valhalla follows the story of Earthship Biotecture down in Ushuaia, Argentina as they and a group of academy students build a two room simple survival...
A Burning Question: Propaganda & The Denial Of Climate Change (2012)
52 min · Climate change has been hailed as "the biggest challenge to mankind in human history" and has also been called "the biggest swindle". Today many people are confused as to what climate change is and what consequences lie ahead for...
In Transition 2.0: A Story of Resilience & Hope in Extraordinary Times (2012)
66 min · This film is an inspirational immersion in the Transition movement, gathering stories from around the world of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. There are stories of communities printing their own money, growing food...
Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives: The Environmental Footprint of War (2008)
58 min · Using on-site and archival footage to illustrate specialist and eyewitness accounts from around the world, "Scarred Lands & Wounded Lives" shows how war and preparations for war further compromise the environmental health of a planet...
Occupied Cascadia (2012)
116 min · Occupied Cascadia is a documentary film both journalistic and expressionistic. Exploring the emerging understanding of bioregionalism within the lands and waters of the Northeast Pacific Rim, the filmmakers interweave intimate landscape...
First Earth: Uncompromising Ecological Architecture (2010)
90 min · FIRST EARTH is a documentary about the movement towards a massive paradigm shift for shelter -- building healthy houses in the old ways, out of the very earth itself, and living together like in the old days, by recreating villages. It...
A Passion For Sustainability (2008)
56 min · Envision a society where economic opportunity, social justice and sustainable culture all spring from environmental stewardship. Imagine a world where nurturing the health of the planet is the catalyst for global financial success and...
Education For a Sustainable Future (2012)
53 min · Education For a Sustainable Future presents information on how today's practices in schools are socially unsustainable. The documentary film critically analyses what is considered socially relevant in a new education system which brings...
Fall and Winter (2013)
102 min · This stunning film takes you on a hypnotic journey, reaching to the past to understand the origins of the catastrophic environmental transitions we now face. Over two years, director Matt Anderson traveled 16,000 miles to document...
Waste = Food (2007)
49 min · Man is the only creature that produces landfills. Natural resources are being depleted on a rapid scale while production and consumption are rising in na­tions like China and India. The waste production world wide is enormous and if we...
Not Business As Usual (2014)
61 min · Not Business As Usual is a provocative look at capitalism and its unintended price of success. The film tracks the changing landscape of business with the rising tide of conscious capitalism through the stories of local entrepreneurs...
Acid Test: The Global Challenge of Ocean Acidification
22 min · This groundbreaking NRDC documentary explores the startling phenomenon of ocean acidification, which may soon challenge marine life on a scale not seen for tens of millions of years. The film, featuring Sigourney Weaver, originally...
Seeds of Permaculture: If It's Beautiful, It's Better (2013)
88 min · An interactive film about permaculture in the tropics, with education and inspiration as the main threads running through this hour-and-a-half-documentary. We remind you subtitles are available! Visit http://www.seedsofpermaculture.org...
The Soil Solution To Climate Change (2013)
30 min · What If A Solution To Climate Change Was Beneath Your Feet?  Soil is a living universe beneath our feet. As important to our lives as clean air and water, soil also holds a potential solution to the global climate crisis. Increasing...
The Bloom Episode 2: Practicing The New World
51 min · Part II of The Bloom explores how Transformational Festivals have become incubators and spaces for “Practicing The New World”, where the festivals are produced using a model of CO-CREATION, utilizing an ethos of PARTICIPATION to create...
How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change (2016)
125 min · Oscar Nominated director Josh Fox (Gasland) continues in his deeply personal style, investigating climate change – the greatest threat our world has ever known. Traveling to 12 countries on 6 continents, the film acknowledges that it...
The Superior Human? (2012)
73 min · "The Superior Human?" systematically challenges the common human belief that humans are superior to all other life forms, which is often used as an excuse for animal cruelty and the destruction of our own environment. It reveals the...
Affluenza (1997)
56 min · AFFLUENZA is a groundbreaking film that diagnoses a serious social disease - caused by consumerism, commercialism and rampant materialism - that is having a devastating impact on our families, communities, and the environment. We have...
Disruption (2014)
56 min · This is the story of our unique moment in history. We are living through an age of tipping points and rapid social and planetary change. We’re the first generation to feel the impacts of climate disruption, and the last generation that...
Occupy Love (2013)
85 min · Join acclaimed director Velcrow Ripper on a journey deep inside the global revolution of the heart that is erupting around the planet. Humanity is waking up to the fact that the dominant system of power is failing to provide us with...

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