Here are some resources for you to check out if you are interested in learning more about the plastic free movement and various other environmental causes!
“An Inconvenient Truth” – I think most people have seen this, but it is an important starting point if you’re looking to learn more about climate change. It was really important in creating a real sensation and getting lots of people interested in the potential impacts of climate change. There were some controversies over the film, mainly regarding the political intentions of Gore as well as distorting scientific fact to exaggerate, but it is laid out very nicely with a more personal storyline running throughout.
You can watch the trailer here.
“Plasticized” is a documentary that follows ‘The South Atlantic Crew’ who seek to measure the level of plastic waste in the ocean. They set out a trawling net every 60 nautical miles (rain or shine!) and examine the plastic fragments that they find. This documentary is great in showing just how real this problem is and showing the level of dedication of researchers in the field seeking to improve the state of our oceans.
You can watch the whole movie online here.
“Dirt!” is a great movie about the perils of soil degradation. The movie interviews many different academics, scientists, farmers and politicians who examine the issue and outline potential solutions to this problem. It’s a really great portrayal of an issue that isn’t exactly high profile.
“Blackfish” is a documentary that focuses on Tilikum, an orca that showed incidents of aggression when it was being held at SeaWorld. The documentary interviews people who were involved at the beginning of the business plan of SeaWorld, with the original capture of whales from the wild and following straight through to the death of Dawn Brancheau in 2010. Though it offers a lot of information about the dangers of holding wild animals in captivity, and exposes a lot of previously unknown information about how animals are treated at SeaWorld, it was criticized by SeaWorld for being misleading and leaving out any mention about the rescue and rehabilitation efforts of the park. Overall, I though it was great, but definitely should be paired with some personal research.
You can watch the trailer here, and the full documentary can be found on Netflix.
“Dive!” This movie is so wonderful! It follows a great group of friends who ‘dumpster dive’, which means going into bins and taking all the food that has been unnecessarily thrown out that day. The documentary then progresses into examining our broken food system, choosing to investigate why all the food is there in the first place. Jeremy Seifert, the documentary maker, outlines the flawed global food distribution system and what we can do to help.
You can watch the trailer here, although personally I think the trailer doesn’t sell it enough! The movie really is wonderful and opens your eyes to a lot of really tough issues.
“Sharkwater” is a documentary that follows Rob Stewart, a nature photographer who has a great passion for sharks. He seeks to remedy the popular image of sharks as villains. He investigates the shark finning industry, and the documentary follows his experiences with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The documentary gives a lot of information, but take it with a pinch of salt – Sea Shepherd has some very unorthodox techniques that I don’t always agree with. The organisation has been accused of being overly violent, and of impacting the legitimacy of mainstream marine movements. Here is the trailer.
“Shark bait” is another documentary about shark finning that follows the famous chef Gordon Ramsay who seeks to expose the horrifying shark finning industry. This film is great at exposing all the interests at stake, and showing how terrifying it can be to get in the middle of this multi-million dollar industry, but Ramsay was later criticized for engaging in recreational shark fishing. You can find a short clip from the movie here, but sometimes you can find the full documentary on Channel 4 on demand if you are in the UK.
“The Blue Planet” is a nature documentary series narrated by the one and only David Attenborough. If you don’t know much about the oceans, this is an amazing educational documentary with breathtaking footage. I highly recommend it!
http://myplasticfreelife.com/ – the woman who totally inspires me in all of this! Beth Terry has been plastic free for over 6 years and she’s AMAZING. Check out her site for tons of resources and inspiration!
YOUTUBE (TALKS AND OTHER VIDEOS)
The TED talk that started it all: Beth Terry http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JXWRVrFiKs
Incredible Edible Todmorden: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLdMcmHXdcA
The Story of Stuff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GorqroigqM
Masdar: The City of the Future: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIaz61zpLfs – this is one of my favourite examples of sustainability!
How recycling works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CFE5tD1CCI
Animal factories and the abuse of power: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2pMlY2sJts
Saving the sea: Maldives cabinet meets underwater: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9Jm1x9ShIU
Oceans – The Threat to Our Seas and What You Can Do to Turn the Tide
This book, edited by Jon Bowermaster, is a series of essays on tons of different issues that affect our oceans. The book features esays with filmmakers, academics, politicians, scientists, and and many more. It covers many different issue areas, like plastic pollution, overfishing, whaling, and so on. There is then a section at the end on what you can do, and what environmental organizations support the oceans.
Ocean of Life, by Callum Roberts
This book, written by a professor of marine conservation, thoroughly examines our relationship with the oceans, starting with a geological explanation of how oceans physically came about, as well as examining ancient civilizations’ relationship with the sea. Roberts then systematically looks into each issue that plagues our oceans in modern times. A great read, and the perfect amount of ‘science’ in there for those of us who are less inclined towards facts and figures!
Fish, by Elizabeth DeSombre and Jeffrey Samuel Barkin
This book focuses on our broken fishing industry. They begin by outlining the growth of the global fishing industry and how the structure leads to negative impacts on our oceans. The authors also address the attempts made to regulate this industry, and how those have succeeded and failed. The final sections focus on the aquaculture industry, finishing the book with how consumers can use their choices to positively influence the global fisheries system.
Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson
This book was an awesome Christmas gift given to me by my younger sister! It’s a really great guide on how to massively minimize your waste in the home. The author, who is a mom of two children, gives great practical advice on how to get rid of waste in all sections of life: your bathroom, your kitchen, in your grocery shopping, in your gift-giving.. The list goes on and on. It’s really inspirational to see how much of an impact she’s made just by being a more conscientious consumer.
Big Green Cookbook: Hundreds of Planet-Pleasing Recipes and Tips for a Luscious, Low-Carbon Lifestyle, by Jackie Newgent
Another Christmas gift from this year! This is an awesome recipe book that begins by explaining why it is so important to choose eco-friendly things to put into your body. The author, a nutritionist, talks about the issue of food miles and wastes, before giving basic tips on ‘low-carbon cooking’, how to choose the lowest-impact food, how to use leftovers etc etc. Along with all of this, she has tons of recipes that are categorized along seasonal produce (although she lives in California I think, so we have totally different seasonal produce!).
World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental And Economic Collapse, by Lester Brown
Not gonna lie, this book is a little bit heavy! Brown goes through and systematically unpicks almost every single major environmental issue and outlines their consequences. Brown has actually been criticized by a number of other environmentalists for being too “gloom and doom”, and not taking into account humanity’s ability to adapt. Nevertheless, it’s a good guide if you’re unfamiliar with the severity of the issues.
Climb the Green Ladder: Make your company and career more sustainable by Amy V Fetzer and Shari Aaron
This is a great tool for people who are unsatisfied with the sustainability practices in their workplace. It gives a lot of case studies and practical advice about how to approach higher-ups and ask them to change various facets of the company to make it more environmentally friendly. The book also offers tons of advice on how to speak about the issue with other people without coming off preachy!
Zero Waste Bloggers and Instagram accounts
Lauren Singer, Trash is for Tossers: a New Yorker with style, sass and no trash! Check out her blog with lots of videos and tips, including her Q&A. Check out her instagram trashisfortossers and her blog here!
Just a little note: I’ll be updating the resource section constantly, so if you have anything that you think might be appropriate here just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to suggest it! Thanks!