Before The Summer Ends: 9 Inspiring Environmental Documentaries to Watch

August 17, 2018

Hello Everybody,


This is Dylan Spralja, a current student at Orange Coast College with a passion for sustainability, better transparent business, and environmental preservation. I am currently interning for Derek Sabori, founder of The Underswell. He also does work with Volcom’s sustainability team and co-owns a sustainable mens yoga clothing line named KOZM. I welcome anyone to this blog who has an interest in making a positive impact on this earth we call home.


The first documentaries that I discuss below were recommended to me by a recent guest on the podcast, Jackson Hinkle. After watching those, I felt like there was so much more to learn. Watching those and then the others felt like a very productive use of time for me - I'm eager to learn more and if you're reading this, likely you are too.


I have created a list of all the documentary films that I watched this Summer and would recommend to anyone who is interested in learning more about our home; Earth. I really enjoyed watching and learning from these films. Some of these documentaries are about current issues and can be hard to watch at times but I feel like everyone should understand what is really happening around our globe. Instead of being upset and confused we need to realize there is a solution; sustainability! It's a journey, but you've gotta start somewhere!


I might even suggest watching them in this order...



Gasland, a film by Josh Fox explains his personal experience with “fracking” or the hydraulic fracturing of “natural” gas below the earth’s surface. Josh Fox was offered $100,00 by a natural gas company to lease his land to drill for gas. Fox seeks information on a road trip across the country to meet people who have already been affected by hydraulic fracturing for gas close to their homes. The main problem is the contamination of these people's water supply. The water is discolored, filled with methane, and flammable.


Unfortunately, Josh meets many people who have had their own personal health affected as well as their pets. The value of these people's homes have gone down because of the water situation; making it hard for them to even move away. The government and fracking companies are not taking blame for contamination; leaving the public to find other ways to get clean water. Hydraulic fracturing is also chemical intense; putting hundreds of chemicals deep in our earth. Hydraulic fracturing has even been known to cause earthquakes!


The film ends on a cliff hanger; you'll for sure want to watch GasLand 2.


This was a topic I knew nothing about before watching the film; and I really value the information I learned from Josh Fox.


Gasland Part II:



Josh Fox continues his research and fight against the dangerous hydraulic fracturing happening in America; and even threatening his own house which was actually built by the hands of his mother and father. This film argues that the gas industry says natural gas is a clean and safe alternative to oil; this is a myth.


Fox explains that fracked wells will “inevitably leak over time, contaminating water and air, hurting families and endangering the earth’s climate with the potent greenhouse gas, methane.” Fox also directed this film with the intention to look at how strong the oil and gas industries are. In his own words, they are “contaminating our democracy.”


Another powerfully personal film by Fox. His search for the truth is truly inspiring.


How to Let go of the World and Love All Things Climate can't Change:



In “How to Let Go of the World and Love All The Things Climate Can’t Change,” Josh Fox explores climate change; or the greatest threat our world has ever faced. Fox travels to 12 counties on 6 different continents to find what can’t be destroyed by climate change. Josh Fox continues to search for hope on a damaged planet, our home, Earth.




Terra is a environmental documentary, found on Netflix, that explores the natural history of mankind and our existence on Earth. This movie shows how animals have become the world’s most desperate refugees. Theses animals are suffering, hungry, and thirsty with limited land to live. Deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions are a global problem. Terra explains to viewers that the future of our land has always been in our hands but we must choose to be better.


How to Change the World:


How to Change the World is an excellent documentary about the grass roots of Greenpeace. These passionate activists take to the seas, in the early 1970’s, to get in between the whales and the whaling boat’s harpoons. This documentary introduces the daring men that risked their own lives for the better of humanity; bringing global attention to the slaughter of whales and other inhumane killing of animals. Eventually leading to the formation of a world renowned environmental non-profit.


When Two Worlds Collide:


This documentary is about the violent clash between the indigenous people of the Amazon and the Peruvian Government; fighting over land and economics. Natives protest local government and oil companies to save the last of their land from deforestation.


This film was very powerful to me. I felt a strong connection with the native people because of their connection to their land. We are all natives to the land we live on as humans; therefore we must choose to fight for renewable energy and sustainable practices.


Catching the Sun:



This documentary explores the positive impact of clean energy. Ultimately, solar energy can reverse greenhouse gas emissions. Also, giving the  opportunity to people to learn more about this technology and even pursue careers in this industry. This documentary is great for people and the planet.


The time for clean renewable energy is now!


A Plastic Ocean:


Producer Jo Ruxton and team explore the microplastics polluting our oceans. These microplastics were found in larger numbers than plankton. Whales, birds, fish, and all marine life are lethally affected by this pollution.


I’ve lived by the beach my whole life and go to the beach whenever I need to free my mind. I hurt knowing that we hurt our oceans and marine life in so many different ways. We can all help combat this crises by refusing single use plastics and also cleaning our own beaches, or your own environment,  with our hands!


Before the Flood:

National Geographic and Leonardo Dicaprio present the truths of climate change. Dicaprio travels to five continents and the Arctic, as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, to view climate change with his own eyes. He meets with political leaders who are supporting making changes to combat climate change. On his mission he also discovers the public have been given “calculated disinformation;” to confuse people about the urgency of our climate crisis. Leonardo Dicaprio continues to search for hope and truths.




I hope everyone will enjoy learning from this list of documentary films. Please take the knowledge you learn and create positive impacts in your environments. We can all make daily positive decisions to help preserve the Earth we call home.



To all those who are making positive impacts in their environments and practicing sustainable living; Stand Strong!






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