You might have read about the recent Netflix release Don’t Look Up? If you haven’t the film (according to Netflix) follows “two astronomers go on a media tour to warn humankind of a planet-killing comet hurtling toward Earth. The response from a distracted world: Meh.”
The film has drawn many comparisons from those in Sustainability and Climate Change roles (h/t Matteo Deidda of Lloyds Banking Group) across the world and is an analogy of our own current events and the biggest threat we’ve ever faced in Climate Change and our collective lack of action (Meh). Or as Mr DiCaprio puts it “our inability to hear and listen to scientific truth.”
Leonardo DiCaprio Explains Don’t look Up
What better time than at the start of 2022 and following the increased interest (hopefully) in a post Cop 26 world and the release of Don’t look Up, to highlight some of the films, TV series and talks that have helped influence the team at Hark and our mission – to improve how the world performs, through increasing efficiency, maximising yield and reducing waste.
An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
This film follows Al Gore on the lecture circuit, as the former presidential candidate campaigns to raise public awareness of the dangers of global warming and calls for immediate action to curb its destructive effects on the environment.
Incredibly the film is 16 years old this year and it appears as though for many we’re still stuck on raising awareness of the problem…
According to the film synopsis, animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and virtually every other environmental ill. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a feature-length environmental documentary that explores the world of animal agriculture and it’s massive impact on the world around us and the environment we live in.
Before The Flood (2016)
Ok, the second appearance of Leo in this post…Before the Flood, presented by National Geographic (and we LOVE their films and series), features Leonardo DiCaprio on a journey as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, travelling to five continents and the Arctic to witness climate change firsthand. The film has unprecedented access to world-leading experts and political leaders, follows scientists expeditions uncovering the evidence of climate change and also challenges disinformation campaigns from those who are seeking to confuse the issue with the public.
Chasing Coral (2017)
This is a follow up to the Emmy Award-Winning film ‘Chasing Ice’ from Director Jeff Orlowski. Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. A team of divers, photographers and scientists set out on a thrilling ocean adventure to discover why and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world. Between 2014 – 2017, Chasing Coral captured the most severe bleaching event in recorded history. During these years, 75% of corals suffered or died from heat stress brought on by climate change.
It is predicted that if nothing changes, by 2034 there will be severe bleaching events every year and by 2050, 90% of reefs could be lost and if you’re not sure why that is a BIG deal then The International Union for Conservation of Nature is the place for you – Coral reefs harbour the highest biodiversity of any ecosystem globally and directly support over 500 million people worldwide, mostly in poor countries.
2040 is a hybrid feature documentary that looks to the future, but is vitally important NOW!
The 2040 journey began with award-winning director Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film). Motivated by concerns about the planet his 4-year-old daughter would inherit, Damon embarked on a global journey to meet innovators and changemakers in the areas of economics, technology, civil society, agriculture, education and sustainability. Drawing on their expertise, he sought to identify the best solutions, available to us now, that would help improve the health of our planet and the societies that operate within it. From marine permaculture to decentralised renewable energy projects, he discovered that people all over the world are taking matters into their own hands.
Chasing Ice (2012)
Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. This is the earlier film from Jeff Orlowski and as you can see from the plethora of logos on the film’s poster, was a well-received piece. The film is set around the boldest expedition of the Director and Photographer’s life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, the production team begin deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.
Planet Earth (2006)
This TV mini-series took 5 years to make and won an astonishing 11 Emmy Awards, according to IMDb it’s also the most expensive nature documentary series ever commissioned by the BBC, and was the first to be filmed in high definition.
Every episode covers a global overview of a different biome or habitat on Earth (Polar, Mountain, Cave, Desert, Plains, Fresh Water, Seas, Ocean, Forest) and is narrated by Sir David Attenborough (or for those of you in the US, narrated by Sigourney Weaver). You can watch on iPlayer here.
Planet Earth II (2016)
This follows up comes a decade later than 2006’s Planet Earth but is loved by critics and viewers thanks to a repeat of the stunning cinematography. Each episode has a theme as with the original Planet Earth, these are titled Islands, Mountains, Jungles, Deserts, Grasslands, and Cities. There is also one compilation episode. As the BBC summarises: Experience the world from the viewpoint of animals themselves. From spellbinding wildlife spectacle to intimate encounters, Planet Earth II takes you closer than ever before. You can preview some of the best bits on the BBC Earth website.
As with other films in this list, Blackfish made an appearance at the Sundance Film Festival. The film tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. It’s an emotional, intense and sometimes difficult to watch 1hr 23 minutes. The film was inspired by an article in Outside Online in 2010 titled The Killer in the Pool and forces viewers to question the relationship we have with nature and other mammals.
2021’s release of Seaspiracy covers the extreme impact of fishing on the environment. Released in late March, the documentary-style film is directed by British filmmaker Ali Tabrizi and is available to stream on Netflix. Ali examines the variety of human impacts on marine life and advocates for ending fish consumption. You can join the movement set by Seaspiracy, learn more, research statistics and tips for shifting to a plant-based diet on their website.
The Blue Planet (2001)
IMDb phrases this brilliantly – Mammoth series, five years in the making, taking a look at the rich tapestry of life in the world’s oceans. What’s perhaps the most impressive piece of this series is the behind the scenes clips that show the viewers the lengths that camera operators went to to get the footage, check out the series on BBC iPlayer.
Our Planet (2019)
From the makers of “Planet Earth,” and narrated by Emmy and BAFTA winner Sir David Attenborough comes Netflix’s Our Planet. The synopsis from Netflix sets the scene for more exhilarating cinematography similar to Planet Earth but also some rather sombre messages on how our way of living is impacting other living things. Experience our planet’s natural beauty and examine how climate change impacts all living creatures in this ambitious documentary of spectacular scope. there are eight episodes in total: One Planet, Frozen Worlds, Jungles, Coastal Seas, From Deserts to Grasslands, The High Seas, Fresh Water and Forests.
One Strange Rock (2018)
There are ten episodes in this series which is narrated/presented by (renowned? 😜) Naturalist, Will Smith. Sorry Will, just kidding. This is a really great series that is produced by acclaimed filmmaker Darren Aronofsky alongside Nutopia and National Geographic. One Strange Rock covers the fascinating story of Earth and tells the story from a unique perspective – astronauts. The series covers cosmic storms, the battle with the sun, how the earth has evolved and also how life on earth began and what makes this planet different from the others. You can stream it on Disney Plus.
Paris to Pittsburgh (2018)
This National Geographic film focuses on events in the USA. Paris to Pittsburgh looks at the impact of changing and more frequent floods and fires and just how badly locals have been impacted. It also highlights some projects in local government and how they try to deal with the fallout from decisions made in Washington to roll back restrictions on the coal industry and also pulling out of the Paris agreement on Climate Change. You can watch it on Disney Plus.
Worst Weather Ever? (2014)
Another National Geographic film also on Disney Plus. Worst Weather Ever? looks at the world’s weather as it gets wilder, warmer and weirder, experts investigate the effects of our changing climate. Could it be making tornadoes and hurricanes more powerful? Or have severe droughts, floods and storms always been part of life and is technology merely highlighting it. No prizes for guessing where we sit on that debate!
Everybody Can Be A Sustainability Leader (2020)
This 14 minute presentation and talk by Annick Schmeddes for Ted Talks is an interesting one. The message here is that we can all make a contribution to sustainability in our present day to day life.
100 Solutions to reverse Global Warming (2018)
This is a fascinating talk backed by data and covers loads of solutions (100 as the title suggests) that can help reduce global warming. Chad Frischmann covers the overarching topic of ‘Drawdown’ and talks through tactics to achieve drawdown – some more obvious ones, such as renewable energy and land management, but also introduces other solutions, such as better family planning, education of girls and changing the way food is produced. When you’ve watched this you’ll feel more curious and also like you’ve learned a lot.
The innovations we need to avoid a climate disaster (2021)
Recorded in March 2021, this talk by Bill Gates coming in at just under 50 minutes is worth your time. According to Bill, cutting carbon pollution (from 51billion tons a year to zero) is THE most important thing to avoid a climate disaster. Within the talk, you’ll hear about ‘green premiums’ why it’s in our interest to pay a higher price for zero-emission products but also what we can do to try and reduce those premiums which can be a barrier for consumers and businesses to invest in cleantech and create a better future for us.