Eco Documentaries That Changed My World View

Eco Documentaries - An Inconvenient TruthEco documentary directors and producers want to change the world, or at least their little part of it.  The only trouble is that they must have an audience willing to watch them.

The good news is that I love watching eco documentaries, and many have influenced my thinking.  In fact, I have watched so many of them, that I want to share a few of my favourites that influenced us the most.  I have only posted the trailers of each documentary, but I am sure with a bit of searching you could find the full version on-line, or source the DVD at your local library.

An Inconvenient Truth

This was the doco that blew me away.  It was life changing for me and my family.  It was during this documentary that I had my well-known green epiphany, and vowed that I would no longer be part of the problem, but be part of the solution to tackling climate change.

The End of Suburbia

This doco opened my eyes to the way our suburban living arrangement is heavily dependant on resources that are dwindling, for example oil and natural gas.   It has an US focus, but very relevant to the unsustainable sprawl of suburbia that we have here in Australian cities.

The End of The Line

A good friend (Hi Sim!) recommended this documentary to me in early 2009.  It is about how we are overfishing the oceans.  After I had watched this, I wrote a series of posts about overfishing, and what we can do to prevent the further collapse of our fisheries.  It changed the way I look at fish on my plate, and we now look for sustainable seafood options only.

The Economy of Happiness

This particularly good documentary opened my mind to the effects of mindful consumption and localization as an alternative to the consumer culture and globalisation.  It is very enlightening.

Garbage Warrior

This doco is brilliant. I have met Mike Reynolds who stars in this tale, and he is just like he is in real life. It is a story of his struggle to build sustainable housing in the US, and create a model of architecture that could be followed the world over. Enter the Earth ship!

What Would Jesus Buy?

If you want to have a laugh at today’s consumer culture, then this is the doco for you. I couldn’t stop laughing at some of the antics that Rev Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping (a bunch of activists) got up to, just to prove a point. They are on a cross-country mission to save Christmas from the Shopocalypse (the end of humankind from consumerism, over-consumption and the fires of eternal debt). It really makes you think about your consumption habits.

Age of Stupid

What if you could look back at today from a point in the future and ask “why didn’t they do something”. Well this doco does exactly that. I saw this one with friends at the Australian premier held by the Climate Action Network Australia. It was hard-hitting, and made me even more determined to spread the benefits of living a more sustainable lifestyle.

Food Inc.

After watching this, you will never look at food in the same way again, unless you grow your own of course. Shocking, hard-hitting, and eye-opening, this is the documentary that inspired me to get my own chickens, and double my food production here at home. This movie is the one that brought Joel Salatin into the spotlight for his common sense farming methods.


Well that is about it. There are a few others, but these eight eco documentaries had the biggest impact upon Kim and me.

We realised that the truth is out there, we just had to open our eyes and see.

Has your world view been influenced by any of these, or can you add another to the list?  I think you can embed video into the comments if you like, or just paste in the YouTube link if you can find it.

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    • Gavin Webber says

      Yes it was. Boy am I tied. I suppose that is what happens when I have to squeeze in all the greening after working a full day!

    • Gavin Webber says

      Hi Lois, yes I have and it was a load of tripe. It attacked the man not the science and was funded by the Tea Party movement in the US. Credibility = Zero.

      The science of man-made climate change is well established, and occurring faster than conservative scientific estimates.


  1. says

    The Power of Community was probably the most inspirational doco I have seen. After An Inconvenient Truth and Food Inc I found myself despairing and in a right panic about how mankind would survive. It was awful. Watching The Power of Community about how Cuba survived their own peak oil crisis was encouraging and gave me hope when I had none. :)

    • Gavin Webber says

      I agree with you Jessie. I should have put it on the list, as it did give me hope as well. Great documentary! x

  2. says

    Thanks for these links to the 8 films Gavin. I’ve been searching you tube for this kind of thing to watch. I’ve pretty much watched everything on minimalism that’s on there so this is the next set to watch. Can’t thank you enough for these links! Thank you.

    • Gavin Webber says

      No problem Jennifer. Hopefully you will be able to find full versions either on YouTube or at your local library.

  3. Madeleine says

    Hi Gavin,

    thanks for this list. I’m always looking for more inspiration/motivation, as well as tools to ‘brainwash’ – oops I meant ‘educate’ – the kids!! I think film is much more effective for kids than Mum going on and on about slave labour in China and the disgrace of the landfill!! I also enjoyed No Impact Man – I think many newbies would relate to the struggles of the wife as she tries to let go of shopping and lots of takeaway coffee.

    Have a great day,


    • Gavin Webber says

      Hi Madeleine.

      I did like No Impact man. Kim could especially relate to his wife and her struggles, although Kim was not a coffee addict. It was enlightening.

  4. tpals says

    I just watched The Age of Stupid. The hard part for me is the depression and hopelessness I’m filled with after viewing so much greed, corruption and selfishness.

    No wonder people want to hide in BAU when the truth is so horrible. :(

    • Gavin Webber says

      Yes, it was a bit depressing. However I find that those type of docos get me fired up to do better.

      I may not be able to change the world, but I can change your world. :-)

  5. foodnstuff says

    I’d add “There’s No Tomorrow”, mainly about oil decline, but easy to watch because it’s in animated format.

    • Gavin Webber says

      Well done. I have watched that one, the title was a bit off putting, but the content was great.

  6. says

    You absolutely HAVE to watch Bag It! It was my lightning-moment movie in the way that an Inconvenient Truth is yours! I was always interested in sustainability and being green, but that totally pushed things to another level. And started me blogging. I haven’t seen an Inconvenient Truth, I have to confess – maybe we should agree to swap recommendations?!

    Oh, and after Bag It, I would definitely recommend the Clean Bin Project, as Erin suggested. Both are positive, funny and offer solutions – and are very inspiring/motivating. Which I like!

      • says

        I KNEW I’d told you about this before! Dug out the post to prove it! ; ) looking forward to hear what you think. Erin is right, Clean Bin Project is also great…I prefer this one as a way to introduce others to the concept of waste. Likewise, I know you’ve been recommending An Inconvenient Truth since forever. I will go to the library website now!

      • Gavin Webber says

        You got me! The only problem about An Inconvenient Truth is that the truth about climate change is a lot worse than when the movie was first released in 2006!

  7. Natalie Pescud says

    The documentary that changed my life was “Earthlings” – not easy to watch, but it changed my thoughts on eating, living, growing my own food etc.

    • Gavin Webber says

      Sounds interesting Natalie. Do you have a link to the YouTube trailer that you can add?


      • Natalie Pescud says

        You can watch lots of documentaries free on this site. Earthlings is narrated by Joaquin Phoenix.

        Also, thanks for your pictures and blog about digging up your front lawn – we are in the process of digging up our front lawn to make a food forest. Thanks for the inspiration.


  8. alison says

    Recently watched – Project Wild Thing – about reconnecting kids with nature. Worth a watch!


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