64 brilliantly enlightening and at times terrifying (yet hopeful!) environmental films, documentaries, books, podcasts, TED talks, IG accounts, and other resources that will educate and broaden your understanding of the climate crisis.
Wherever you are on your sustainability journey, we hope you’ll find something new among this lot that will inspire. Be prepared to be pushed out of your comfort zone; not everything on this list is an easy watch, listen, or read. But it’s time to wake up and give a f**k, because as our old pal Robert Swan famously said: “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” Pass the popcorn; it’s time for a guilt-free binge on our top environmental documentaries, films, books, podcasts, IG accounts, and more.
Films & Documentaries
Before The Flood
Premiering at The Toronto Film Festival in 2016, the film narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio charts an incredible three-year journey covering every corner of the globe documenting the devastating impacts of climate change. A must-watch that brilliantly articulates the urgency of the climate crisis.
Ice On Fire
Yet another Leonardo Dicaprio production (the last time he’ll feature on the list, we promise!) that provides an eye-opening focus on groundbreaking new solutions to slow the escalating environmental crisis.
As coral reefs continue to vanish globally at an alarming rate, a team of divers, scientists, and photographers take to the oceans for an underwater adventure to reveal the mysteries of our dying reefs.
Renowned environmental photographer James Balog heads to the brutal Arctic in an attempt to capture the changing landscape of the region, proving that ancient ice mountains and glaciers are disappearing at an alarming rate.
A Plastic Ocean
Every year 8-million tonnes of plastic is dumped into our oceans. This award-winning Craig Lesson documentary demonstrates how plastics break down once they reach our oceans and enter the human food chain with devastating consequences.
The Sustainability Secret: Animal agriculture is the world’s leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution. Filmmaker Kip Anderson delves into the murky industry and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organisations are too scared to talk about it.
An Inconvenient Truth
This Oscar-winning documentary about former United State Vice President Al Gore’s campaign to educate people about global warming is well worth a watch.
Credited with igniting public awareness and energising the global environmental movement, this 2006 film was a true game-changer.
Hankies at the ready, Blackfish is a devastatingly emotional watch. Focusing on Tilikum, a captive orca held at SeaWorld, it highlights the deaths of three trainers and the consequences of keeping killer whales captive. It will fundamentally shift the way you view performing whales.
Ever wondered who caught the fish you’re having for dinner? Ghost Fleet immerses viewers in the true story of slavery in the Thai fishing industry. Every year, thousands of men go missing aboard slave ships enduring brutal treatment to put food on your plate. An uncomfortable but necessary watch.
Let Us Be Heroes
Directed and produced by our very own Green Warrier, Rebecca Cappelli, Let Us Be Heroes demonstrates just how much difference one person can make through the impact of our lifestyle and dietary choices. If you’re on a journey towards veganism, this will give you a nudge in the right direction.
The Game Changers
Staying on the theme of diet, The Game Changers is a revolutionary film about meat, protein, and strength. It will change the way you look at meat without being preachy. Starring Arnie, Jackie Chan, Lewis Hamilton, and more high profile individuals who have thrived on a plant-based diet, it truly is a game-changing (see what we did there?) watch.
Be warned, this is another tough watch. This feature-length Aussie documentary presents viewers with a damning exploration of the abuse of animals in the meat, dairy, egg, clothing, and entertainment industries. Uncomfortable but essential viewing.
The True Cost
Exposing the ugly truth behind the glossy world of fashion. The True Cost provides a gut-wrenching insight into the devastating human stories of those who pay the price, sometimes with their lives, to provide the western rich world with fast-fashion.
Proving that your life can be better with less, Minimalism follows the journey of two friends who help people live meaningfully with less stuff. It’s the perfect antidote to the rabid overconsumption of modern living (and you’ll want to have a clear-out of everything you own the moment it ends).
Are you worth it? Toxic Beauty delves into the world of tried and trusted beauty products that contain dangerous substances. Shining a light on the inadequate regulation of the beauty sector, this film will make you think twice about what you’re putting on your face and your skin.
“Every single piece of plastic that has ever been created since the 19th century is still somewhere on the planet. So if it never goes away, where does it go?” reads the tagline of this film. So what’s the answer? It’s likely that plastic ends up in The Great Pacific Garbage Patch: one of the most remote places on earth that has become ground zero for ocean plastic waste. This film will make you release the unconscionable reality of the plastic problem the world faces.
The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, by David Wallace-Wells
Quite possibly, one of the most terrifying books you will ever read. But fret not, Wallace-Wells concludes that we have all of the solutions to solve the climate crisis at our fingertips. It’s a compelling page-turner that will inspire you to take action the moment you stop reading.
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, by Naomi Klein
This book s***ts all over climate deniers and the “tragic defeatism of too many mainstream green initiatives”. In it, she argues that climate change is an alarm to the world that calls upon us to fix our broken economic system that is failing us in multiple ways. In short, in order to survive and thrive, we must embrace a radical change of our global systems. A must-read.
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the teachings of plants, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Robin Wall Kimmerer is a scientist and indigenous women, and within this text she explores the relationship between those two identities, the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness and the human relationship with the world.
The End Of Nature, by Bill McKibben
Considered a groundbreaking work in environmental studies, McKibben argues that we must fundamentally change our relationship with nature and how we as humans relate to it. Addressing core issues such as the greenhouse effect, acid rain, and the depletion of the ozone layer, it’s often referred to as the “handbook for survival”.
How to give up plastic: a guide to changing the world, one plastic bottle at a time, by Will McCallum
Ever wondered how to rid your life of plastic? Give this book a whirl. It’s an accessible guide that travels through each room in your home and office highlighting all of the single-use plastic that surrounds us. And also offers sustainable alternatives that will help you reduce plastic waste.
A terrible thing to waste: Environmental racism and its assault on the American mind, by Harriet Washington
Published in 2019, this book looks at the “devastating consequences of environmental racism and what we can do to remedy its toxic effects on marginalised communities”. Prepare to feel outraged by what you read yet inspired to help transform the conversation.
There is no Planet B: A handbook for the make or break years, by Mike Berners-Lee
For those who don’t know where to begin when it comes to living more sustainably, this is a brilliantly insightful (and at times funny) take on how everyone can start taking action today. It deals with all the big issues and questions like “should we be flying?” and “do I need to be vegan?” and breaks it down in an accessible way.
The Overstory: A Novel, by Richard Powers
“The best novel ever written about trees, and really, just one of the best novels, period” – Ann Patchett. We’re sold. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize For Fiction 2019, this is the story of multiple strangers each summoned in different ways by the natural world, who are brought together in a last-ditch attempt to save it.
The Drowned World, by JG Ballard
Published way back in 1962, this novel depicts a post-apocalyptic future in which global warming has caused the majority of the Earth to become uninhabitable. Set in London in 2145 it’s a terrifying (yet hopefully not prophetic) glimpse at what the future may hold if we carry on with business as usual.
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert
Over the last half a billion years there have been five mass extinctions. Here, Kolbert draws on the works of scientists and researchers monitoring the sixth extinction which she argues is currently taking place around us and is a direct cause of human action.
The Angry Clean Energy Guy
If you’ve never tuned in to listen to Assaad Razzouk’s musings then you are missing out. We love the no BS approach of this clean energy entrepreneur, investor, and commentator. The focus of his podcasts are wide-ranging but focus on topics that make him angry (naturally). Broadly speaking themes cover climate change, solar or wind power, plastic pollution, environmental degradation, wildlife, and the oceans.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with negative news about the climate crisis, tune in to the Green Dreamer to learn about empowering stories of restoration, regeneration, and resilience. It’s time to unlearn and reimagine what could be.
Get up to speed and join a global conversation about the issues that really matter. Not all episodes are climate-related, but those which are are well worth a listen. Hear from the brightest minds as they delve into challenging climate issues and what we can do about them.
We’re obsessed with this fashion-focused podcast. Each episode focuses on a different fashion-related theme, from how fashion can be more intersectional to vegan alternatives to leather. There are over 200 episodes waiting for you to dive into.
This is a brilliantly funny and light relief approach to discussing serious issues surrounding climate change. Explaining the most complex environmental issues in simple terms, it’s the perfect podcast for those wanting to dip their toes into juicy topics without the doom-mongers.
Purge your feed of brands that aren’t bringing you joy and replace them with this eclectic mix of excellent humans doing brilliant things that will inspire.
Ajabarber: A powerful voice against fast-fashion who also delves into social justice and anti-racism issues.
fash_rev_sg: Calling for greater transparency, sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry.
Plantbasednews: A leading multi-award winning vegan news media and plant-based health education platform.
Livekindlyco: Pro-animal, plant-based updates.
Anne-Marie Bonneau: The queen of the zero-waste kitchen.
Thezerowasteguide: A daily guide to zero-waste living.
Zero.waste.collective: Inspiring you to waste less.
Bea Johnson: The mother of zero-waste living.
zeroxplastic: On a mission to end plastic pollution.
Rachel.Cargle: “building an intellectual legacy through teaching, storytelling & critical discourse” i.e. she’s a Queen.
thegreatunlearn: A relatively new account for curious individuals encouraging us all to unlearn our current realities and expand our minds.
Chicksforclimate: Where feminism and environmentalism come together.
A little dash of all things sustainability
Lilearthgirl: Our very own Tammy Gan’s educational insights into all things sustainability.
Myecoresolution: Environmental justice platform bridging individual action and systemic change for a world that thrives (pssst. Cara Delevigne is in on this collaboration).
Jo_lorenz: A visually stunning feed covering climate, equality, social justice, sustainability, and Mum sh*t (her words).
Climatereality: Founded by Al Gore, this platform aims to bring the world together to stop climate change and create a healthy and prosperous future powered by clean energy.
Al Gore: The Case for optimism on climate change
Gore asks three powerful questions about the man-made forces threatening to destroy our planet — and the solutions we’re designing to combat them. Don’t just stop there, Al is the king of climate TED talks. If you enjoyed this one, also check out Averting the climate crisis (3.5 million views) and New thinking on the climate crisis (2.2 million views).
Greta Thunberg: The disarming case to act right now on climate change
I can’t think of many 16-year-olds who could stand up in front of the world and deliver a passionate call to action. But here’s Greta doing exactly that. Here she explains the beginnings of her school climate strikes outside Swedish parliament that have led to her meteoric rise on the global climate stage. “The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions,” Thunberg says. “All we have to do is to wake up and change.”
Leyla Acaroglu: Paper beat plastic? How to rethink environmental folklore
Most of us want to do the right thing when it comes to the environment, but things aren’t necessarily that simple. Here, sustainability strategist Leyla Acaroglu, issues a bold call for us to “let go of tightly-held green myths and think bigger in order to create systems and products that ease strain on the planet”.
David Wallace-Wells: How we could change the planet’s climate future
“The climate crisis is too vast and complicated to solve with a silver bullet”, says author David Wallace-Wells. “What we need is a shift in how we live.” Learn more about the action we need to take now to ensure a prosperous future for our planet.
Ray Anderson: The business logic of sustainability
Demonstrating that sustainable commerce does work, Ray Anderson explains how he has increased sales and doubled profits of his company through his deep commitment to sustainable ways of doing business.
Chris McKnett: The investment logic for sustainability
Why large institutional investors need to look at a company’s environmental, social, and governance structures and not just financial data.
Paul Gilding: The Earth is full
We need about 1.5 earths to sustain our current economy. We are all living beyond our means. Have we really used up all our resources? Have we really filled up all the livable space on Earth? Gilding thinks so, and here he shares the devastating consequences.
Britt Wray: How climate change affects your mental health
“For all that’s ever been said about climate change, we haven’t heard nearly enough about the psychological impacts of living in a warming world”. Eco-anxiety is a reality and Britt explores how climate change is threatening our wellbeing and what we can do about it.
Per Espen Stokes: How to transform apocalypse fatigue into action on global warming
Explore the five inner defences we use to avoid the reality of the climate crisis, and a new way of communicating that will prevent us from shutting down. Step away from the doomsday narratives and learn how to make caring for the earth feel personable, do-able and empowering with this fun, informative talk.
Asmeret Asefaw Berhe: A climate change solution that’s right under our feet
“[Soil] represents the difference between life and lifelessness in the earth system, and it can also help us combat climate change — if we can only stop treating it like dirt.” Biogeochemist Asmeret Asefaw Berhe demonstrates the awesome ability of soil to trap carbon.
Condé Nast has partnered with Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) to create The Sustainable Fashion Glossary; a reference tool to help editors, writers, designers, artists, innovators and educators (and anyone else who’s interested) to help share key issues regarding sustainability in fashion. Even for the layman it’s an interesting tool packed with interesting information.
This is a comprehensive online tool from the brightest minds at MIT. Branding itself “climate knowledge for everyone”, this is a one-stop-shop for climate science, risks, and solutions. From dispelling myths to the latest climate tech solutions, you’ll find it all here. One to bookmark on your browser.
*Lead image by Harsha Poojari