There are a lot of documentaries on Netflix and Amazon. It’s difficult to find great documentaries on sustainability, veganism, and minimalism that are actually trying to educate people on the lifestyle, instead of explaining it as a forum of entertainment. It’s also important that documentaries explore important issues in today's society, and explain how you can enter the lifestyle and bring more positivity into your life. The reason I have chosen veganism, minimalism, and sustainable documentaries is because there is a ton of overlap between the three lifestyles. Many who are sustainable are also vegan and minimalistic. Here are my top 5 documentaries that I believe more people should watch to gain more knowledge and information into these three lifestyles.
5) Food Inc.
Food Inc. is the documentary that forced me to think critically about the vegan lifestyle. Especially when it comes to the lack of regulations in the meat and dairy industry. The documentary follows the lives of farmers, parents, and many people who have seen the negative effects of the meat and dairy industry. Especially one parent who had to see her son die because of salmonella poisoning from uncooked chicken. This documentary shocked me into the vegan lifestyle, but it didn’t tell me how to go about the lifestyle. It just told me to stop eating meat. However, since I didn’t know a lot about the vegan lifestyle, I ended up eating a lot of salads and actually losing weight very quickly because I wasn’t gaining the right nutrients that I needed. For those reasons, I have decided to put this at the bottom.
4) What the Health
This is another veganism documentary that concentrates more so on how one can be part of the vegan lifestyle. This in conjunction with Food Inc, allows for people to understand the dangers of the meat industry, as well as how they begin eating a more vegan diet. This documentary also digs a bit deeper into the marketing and lobbying of the meat and dairy industry. One example, is the American Cancer Society explains that one should eat a high-calorie, high-protein diet. This can be accomplished with a vegan diet. However, the website tells it’s audience to drink protein shakes with powdered non-fat dry milk, instant breakfast mix, and other dietary supplements. During the documentary, when asked to talk about these options on their website, that decline to comment. This is just one example of how lobbyists have a huge influence on the types of food we eat and the information we are given about our diet.
3) The Minimalists
Once I began eating a more plant-based diet, I began to understand the issues with consumerism. I decided to take my research a step further and take a look at the documentary, The Minimalists. This documentary explains positives and negatives of the lifestyle, and how one can become more minimalistic. Instead of explaining the minimalistic lifestyle as a trend, it reveals the various issues within the consumerist culture. The film is filled with footage of people kicking and screaming into their way through stores on Black Friday. The two founders/The Minimalistic, who created there website to spread the positive aspects of the minimalistic lifestyle also explain the unsatisfactory life that many consumers live. The reason being that stuff can buy happiness for that moment. Unfortunately, when the moment passes one feels that they need to purchase something else to get that feeling back. This especially comes when people use coupons or only purchase things on sale. In the end, they end up with a whole bunch of stuff that they hate. By thinking critically about our purchases and really asking ourselves, can we live without them? When we as a society slowly began to realize that what we thought we needed isn’t actually a need, we began to find ourselves spending less and less money.
2) A Plastic Ocean
We have finally reached the top two of the list! It was a difficult decision, but I have put this documentary at number 2 for many reasons. One in particular is that it ties the other three documentaries, whilst also looking at plastic in a new way. I found, the issues with trying to stay vegan and minimalistic, is that I still continued to purchase things that were plastic. Plastic is an oil based compound that can be made cheaply and into pretty much anything. However, it’s endangering our wild life, especially those who live in the ocean. One of the most important facts about our world that no one can deny is that our planet is mostly blue. Unfortunately, scientists have predicted that because of the amount of plastic, including micro plastics that are in the ocean. Every single underwater animal has some forum of plastic in its body. When we eat these animals, we ingest this plastic material. This is a horrifyingly realistic point that not many have considered when taking about the plastic industry and veganism. The documentary also follows a family as they try to reduce the amount of plastic they use on a daily basis. Please check it out if you haven’t already, or don’t think you can give up some food items that are wrapped in plastic. This documentary will definitely have you thinking otherwise.
1) The Human Experiment
We have finally made it to number 1! This documentary is one of the most eye opening documentaries that I have ever watched. Especially as someone whose family members have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. This documentary may cross the fine line between educational and horrifying. However, it speaks to a larger audience, which I think needs to be done more. Most documentaries are speaking to either a younger or older generation. This one takes stories from young people, older people, minorities, and people of all kinds to really explain how terrifying plastic, chemicals, and harmful toxins are to our bodies. For those reasons I have decided to put it as number 1. This is definitely not for people who have just started the zero waste lifestyle. Instead for those who sometimes think it’s too difficult and need a bit of a push of encouragement to continue going. This documentary follows the lives of people whose health has been directly infused by chemicals that are mass marketed to everyone as safe and effective. It ties in elements from all the four other documentaries, while also touching on subjects that people usually turn away from wanting to learn about, since “everyone dies at some point in their life, right?” What if we could stop using plastic and chemicals, thus living longer?
Luckily for you, all of these documentaries can be found on Netflix, as of September 2017. I am always up for watching and hearing more about amazing documentaries. Let me know in the comments if I forgot any!!