New Sustainability Documentaries to Watch in 2021

From Netflix docos on regenerative farming to sustainability to switching to a vegan diet, here are all the documentaries you should watch to start creating a greener future for yourself in 2021. 

There have been countless sustainability documentaries released in the last couple of years, so why not start 2024 with a bang and watch these inspiring and life-changing documentaries. Start the new year with good intentions for the future of the planet, along with your day to day conscious living.

Each of the following documentaries gives a closer look into issues such as climate change, the use of fossil fuels, fast fashion, changing consumerism, food systems and veganism. We learn about how these are affecting our planet, as well as our health and our futures. So it’s important to listen carefully. Take a moment to absorb this important information and ask yourself: how can I adapt my lifestyle in order to create a better future? Is it by switching to a sustainable bank? Buying ethically sourced clothing? Sustainably made make-up?

Whether it’s Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime or simply YouTube, we hope one of these sustainability documentaries open your eyes to these worldwide issues. 

Here are our top 7 sustainability documentaries to watch in 2021:

#1 Kiss The Ground

Narrated by Woody Harrelson, Kiss the Ground has to be one of the most inspiring, eye opening yet uplifting sustainability documentaries released in 2020. Honing in on the way we’re currently farming and the disastrous impacts of our current practices lead to specialists and passionate farmers explaining how we can indeed revoke and reduce our atmospheric carbon through the use of regenerative farming techniques and increasing diversity across the world.

The answer? Soil. 

Who knew we’d ever be so intrigued, interested and surprised at the importance of soil on the future of our planet’s climate. 

The show is available to watch on Netflix, rented on Vimeo (for just $1.40!) or available to host a screening for your friends. There’s just no excuse not to check out one of the most powerful documentaries of 2020.

#2 Rotten

Are you an smashed avo fiend? This one might make you question your creamy green breakfast habits. 

Rotten is a two-season sustainability documentary based on how foods across the world are produced and the changes that have occurred – even very recently. From learning about what effect the surge in avocado demand has had on South American farmers, to how corrupted and controversial the production of bottled water has come to be. 

Through interviewing industry experts across the world, as well as regular farmers and citizens affected by various food production chains, you can discover a more informed and rounded opinion on your own consumption. And better yet, make sustainable choices for people, the environment and the economy. 

Since the series is produced by Netflix, you can only watch it there. However it’s well worth getting the 30 day free trial offer if you haven’t already and are itching to increase your knowledge on sustainability.

#3 A Life On Our Planet

Our favourite naturalist, David Attenborough has hit our screens once again. And this time, with one of the most important messages you’ll ever hear. Over his 90+ years on the planet, forests have depleted significantly, countless animals have become extinct and climate change is becoming more apparent every single day. 

In this eye-opening sustainability documentary, David Attenborough gives us shocking facts on how the world has changed since his youth. And better yet, lays out the ground rules and steps to follow in order to help prevent our planet from its looming extinction. 

#4 2040

Created by talented Australian filmmaker Damon Gameau, 2040 is an empowering sustainability documentary on the prospect of creating and maintaining solutions to climate change. During the film, Gameau travels the world to discover new approaches and interview inspiring innovators. All in search of a better and more stable future for his young daughter and what she can expect the world to look like in.. you guessed it, 2040. 

The film looks into economics, technology, civil society amongst, of course, agriculture, sustainability and education. With the discovery that people all over the world are taking climate change solutions into their own hands, isn’t it about time we started to come together to provide bigger and better solutions?

Having already raised over AUD$1.5 million to invest in climate solutions, planted almost 25,000 trees and with 360 farms registered to support the cause, the 2040 film has had a huge impact worldwide. 

You can either rent the film for $6.99 or buy it for $19.99 through the 2040 website itself. 

#5 Broken

And onto one of the topics that lies so close to home for many of us – consumerism. Over consumerism. Fast consumerism. Or unnecessary consumption as some might say.

The gist? This Netflix docuseries is about how modern consumerism has been making dangerous products for the population due to greed and cost-cutting. Whether it’s the huge realisation that the dangerous and poisonous counterfeit makeup industry is thriving due to influencer culture to how flat pack furniture companies are so intent on cutting costs that their furniture proves to be dangerous for children and babies.

But the biggest threat? Plastic. Broken looks at the surplus of plastic in the world and how it is affecting the health of people across the world. Plus the lack of recycling resulting in huge landfill issues and ocean pollution.

Although the series seems to talk more about the problem than the actual solution, each episode will most certainly make you take another look at what products you’re consuming, what they’re made out of and how each decision you make affects the bigger picture. 

Broken is available to watch on Netflix. 

#6 Minimalism

On a slightly different pathway than lots of people, Minimalism is a sustainability about ‘the important things’. Created by The Minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus are on a mission to rid the world of a materialistic lifestyle in order to live a more meaningful life. 

The documentary delves into the lives of those who lead a minimalist lifestyle and their reasons for ridding their lives of things they don’t truly need

Whilst this particular documentary isn’t quite as hard hitting as others in this list, it’s a great one to watch if you notice yourself becoming materialistic and your consumption becoming out of control. 

The documentary is available on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Vimeo on DVD. So really, there’s just no excuse to sit down and clear out your wardrobe, right?

#7 The Game Changers

Another prominent sustainability documentary is The Game Changers. Whilst the premise of this film is about how high-performance athletes are dispelling the myth that people need meat and high levels of protein to build strength, it adds to others’ reasoning of ‘why do we need meat’? Is it just something that we’ve been coerced into for huge companies to make money?

Featuring greats like Arnold Schwarznegger, Jackie Chan, Lewis Hamilton and Novak Djokovic, this documentary delves into the benefits of a vegan diet and how the human body can actually perform just as well – if not better – from a plant based diet. 

Whilst a plant based diet can help the future of climate change, it can also aid in creating a healthier, stronger human body. 

Watch The Game Changers on Netflix, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime or YouTube. This one will more than inspire your next gym session.

Been through all of these documentaries? Check out our favourite climate change podcasts to listen to on your commute, at the gym or during your studies.