Documentaries are almost certainly my most beloved form of information gathering. When done well, they offer such amazing perspectives and summaries of issues that we otherwise may not have even known existed. Over the years I have developed quite the arsenal of documentaries to "recommend" ie. forcefully urge others to watch. With each one, I have felt so empowered by the knowledge I gained. This list includes not only full-length documentaries, but also short videos covering a number of fascinating topics. Check them out — ALL OF THEM — and let us know what you think!
Before the Flood - Leonardo DiCaprio explores climate change and what must be done to save our planet.
Chasing Coral - Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. Photographers and scientists join forces in this Netflix Original film to discover how the reefs are changing, why this is happening and what it means for the health of our planet.
Cowspiracy - A documentary uncovering the most destructive industry facing the planet today - animal agriculture.
Eating Animals - *HIGHLY RECOMMENDED* Based on the incredible book by Jonathan Safran Foer (that everyone needs to read), Eating Animals spotlights the heroic farmers, whistleblowers, and innovators who are standing up, against all odds, to fight factory farming and provide a new way forward. Factory farming destroys our environment and harms public health, and never before has humankind caused more suffering. The film is narrated by Natalie Portman, and directed and produced by Christopher Quinn (GOD GREW TIRED OF US).
Fed Up - This documentary unveils how the food industry has been perpetuating the most health problems for the past 30 + years. From Katie Couric, Laurie David (Oscar winning producer of An Inconvenient Truth) and director Stephanie Soechtig.
Food Inc. – A look into America’s corporate controlled food industry.
Forks Over Knives – Examining the claim that degenerative diseases can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods.
Kids Menu - A feature documentary by the group that did “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead.” Joe Cross meets with experts, parents, teachers and kids, coming to the realization that childhood obesity is a symptom of a bigger problem.
The Mask You Live In - A documentary following boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity.
Minimalism – An inspiring documentary on the power of living with less.
Sustainable – A film about the land, the people who work it, and how to sustain it for future generations.
The True Cost - An incredibly compelling documentary about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world.
Wasted - This documentary addresses the massive problem of food waste and how it directly contributes to climate change, while acknowledging the innovations being developed to combat the problem.
What the Health - From the creators of Cowspiracy, What the Health exposes corruption within the government and big businesses that keeps us sick and costs us trillions in healthcare bills.
Where to Invade Next - Michael Moore visits various countries to examine how Europeans view work, education, health care, sex, equality, and other issues.
Laura Miller is an incredible resource when it comes to not only vegan living, but living authentically. She is light-hearted, funny, sarcastic, and incredibly honest. She does lots of really cool things, but here are some video series for you to check out.
Talking in Circles Openly addressing mental health is a defining characteristic of Laura Miller's message. In this series, she gets influencers around a table to chat about coping with mental health issues, anxiety, depression, relationships, and lots more. The conversations are fairly short but are sincere, funny, and validating.
Raw. Vegan. Not Gross. with Tastemade – In this series Laura demonstrates some of her best recipes that also fall into the raw / vegan category. But regardless of the type of diet you follow, there is a good chance you will find some new kitchen staples. Food aside, it'll take about 2 videos tops for you to be convinced that Laura is your best friend.
Erin Ireland - The media has the power to influence our food choices. Erin Ireland, Canadian small business owner and food reporter, speaks on this bias. Erin does a lot to promote responsibly sourced products and raise awareness about the impact our food industry has on our health and our planet. To learn more about her work, visit her website or follow her on Instagram.
Damien Mander - Damien began as a sniper in the Australian Special Forces and fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. But during a trip to Zimbabwe, he started learning about the lack of law enforcement in place to effectively protect rhinos from poachers. In response, Damien founded the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF), using military training and techniques to wildlife units in hopes of protecting endangered species around the world.
Dean Ornish - Dr. Dean Ornish is a fascinating man and leading expert on the topic of fighting illness through dietary changes. He is a highly regarded doctor who clinically demonstrated that cardiovascular illnesses -- and, most recently prostate cancer -- can be treated and even reversed through diet and exercise; findings once thought to be physiologically implausible.
Big Government Helps Big Dairy Sell Milk
This video offers interesting insight into how money has driven the government to encourage unnecessary dairy consumption under the guise of nutritional necessity.
As always, Vox knocks it out of the park with this six-part series produced in partnership with the University of California. These short videos explore the surprising elements of our lives that contribute to climate change and the groundbreaking work being done to fight back. Featuring conversations with experts, scientists, thought leaders and activists, the series takes what can seem like an overwhelming problem and breaks it down into manageable parts.
Larry King interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson - Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist, author, and science communicator. He is a genius on all accounts and has a profoundly moving ability to articulate the answers to topics that we all wonder about. I love this clip in particular, but the entire interview is well worth a watch.
The Story of Microfibers - The Story of Stuff produces wonderful animated short videos to demonstrate problems that arise from our consumption patterns. This one in particular shows us how the synthetic fibers in our clothing eventually flow through water systems and contaminate our rivers, lakes, and oceans. The facts are skillfully broken down to help us understand the process and learn how we can help generate change.