While Netflix is often a means to escape reality and zone out for a while, it also has content that can bring value to an Earth-friendly lifestyle. Some captures the beauty of Earth and shows us what we’re fighting for; other content exposes the greediness of big industry and shows us what we’re fighting against. Many documentaries and series include a call to action, teaching us new ways to positively impact the planet.
I’ve put together a few documentaries and series that have moved me in some way, and I would be happy to add more. Tell us your favorite show, documentary or movie – not necessarily limited to Netflix – in the comments or on our contact page.
Netflix shows about wildlife and the natural world
Our Planet (2019) – Really, any nature documentary that Sir David Attenborough has touched is extremely valuable. Emmy award-winning Our Planet takes us through Earth’s seven ecosystems and captures the natural beauty of each one. More importantly, it reveals the jaw-dropping complexity of the biosphere and how one small change can ripple throughout the planet. Compared to other nature documentaries One Planet is relatively light on the human guilt, focusing largely on natural beauty. With that said, certain scenes may bring tears.
A large part of my passion for the natural world and Earth-friendly living can be attributed to David Attenborough. His work is scientific, heartfelt, optimistic, honest, and stunningly thorough. Our Planet is a must watch, especially with its sequel Seven Worlds, One Planet coming to the United States on January 18, 2020.
Terra (2015) – This documentary begins by showing the evolution of life on Earth, from the bacterial building blocks to the first creatures to crawl out of the sea. After establishing the beauty of the natural world, it reveals the many ways humans are systematically destroying it. Not quite as fluffy as One Planet, but perhaps more effective in raising the alarm. Here’s the takeaway: we have the ability to destroy this planet, which means we have the ability to save it.
Disclaimer: this documentary has gruesome scenes of animal slaughter and other disturbing images. It might not be suitable for the whole family.
Netflix shows about industry and consumerism
Broken (2019) – With episodes about makeup, vaping, faulty furniture, and the “recycling sham,” Broken reveals the viscous cycle of mass consumerism. For example, the episode “Makeup Mayhem” shows how lustful, social media-driven consumerism has created a counterfeit makeup industry that’s literally poisoning the industry. Spoiler: only consumers have the power to reverse it.
Rotten (2019) – In a similar vein as Broken, this docuseries exposes industries that exploiting workers and natural resources. The episode “Troubled Water” explains how Nestle and other bottled water producers are making insane profits by hoarding, bottling, and selling a publicly owned resource – water. I’ve never been so triggered. Everyone needs to watch this episode and stop buying bottled water.
Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things (2016) – People from all walks of life discuss finding happiness by living a minimalist lifestyle. This documentary speaks to how decades of pervasive advertising and marketing have changed the “American Dream” to necessitate nonstop consumerism.
Shows about health and food
The Game Changers (2018) – This documentary is the most compelling case for eating a plant-based diet. Period. Former UFC fighter James Wilks takes us through examples of plant-eating athletes outperforming meat-eating peers, and the science behind it. In the end, eating plants KO’s eating meat in every measurable category and provides a valuable means to combating climate change.
Shows about science and social phenomena
Explained (2019) – Over 30 episodes each 15-20 minutes in length. Explained touches on a variety social issues like monogamy, athleisure (yoga pants), astrology, diamonds and more. Many of these phenomena were born out of a misconception or hyper-successful marketing tactics. How does this contribute to an Earth-friendly lifestyle? Getting to the root of why we “need” a real diamond to get married or what’s driving American meat consumption exposes how ridiculous these ecologically harmful institutions are.
Did we leave out your favorite Earth-friendly Netflix show? Let us know in the comments or on our contact page and we’ll be happy to add it!