• Ainsley Marsh

10 Must-Watch Documentaries on Sustainability

When I want to do a deep-dive into something new, I often look towards documentaries for digestible,preliminary information. With everyone (supposed to be) staying in right now, I thought it would be a great time to give you my top 10 sustainability documentary recommendations! I have included the trailers so you can get a better idea of what each film is like. With that being said, grab some popcorn and a blanket, and get ready to learn something new!


*These are not in any intentional order!*



1. Expedition Happiness (2017)

This endearing and heartfelt documentary will make you fall in love with tiny living. Felix and Selima convert an old school bus into a tiny home and set out for a year of travel with their dog Rudi. This documentary provides a fun and realistic way of life on the road, living a zero-waste life, and the true beauty of nature and the trials of tiny living.


Available on Netflix and YouTube.


2. Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things (2015)



I sat down with this film not too long ago.

Much lighter than the former documentary, “Minimalism” explores how our lives might be better with less by taking viewers inside the lives of minimalists from all walks of life. I’ll just be honest here: I instantly started de-cluttering. 


Available on Netflix.


3. The 11th Hour (2007)


Leonardo Dicaprio fans, rejoice! And then cry, because “The 11th Hour” is no joke. This 2007 film explores how humanity has arrived at the 11th hour – the last possible moment that change is possible for our planet and its ecosystems. Featuring ongoing dialogues of experts including former Soviet Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev, renowned scientist Stephen

Hawking, and sustainable design expert

William McDonough, “The 11th Hour” is a

dense film that is likely to rattle you.


Available on Amazon Prime Video & DVD.


4. No Impact Man (2009)


This guy... Self-proclaimed “No Impact Man,” Colin Beavan swore off plastic and toxins, turned off his electricity, went organic, and started riding his bicycle exclusively for an entire year. Reviewed as a “sensational, funny, and consciousness-raisin story,” I think “No Impact Man” is a fun way to learn about zero impact living. 


Available on Amazon Prime Video.


5. Forks Over Knives (2011)


As someone who is working her way toward a fully plant-based diet, “Forks Over Knives” has definitely stuck out to me. If you’ve ever struggled with a chronic disease like obesity, cardiovascular disease, or cancer, “Forks Over Knives” says you should blame processed animal-based foods. For anyone interested in nutrition and health sciences, this is a must-watch!

Available on Amazon Prime Video & Netflix.


6. More than Honey (2012)


Did you know that if bees were to disappear from the globe, mankind would have only four years left to live? Not great. In “More Than Honey,” Oscar-nominated director Markus Imhoof tackles the issue of why bees are facing worldwide extinction. I have a feeling it’s our fault. Anyone else curious?



Available on Amazon Prime Video.


7. Happy (2011)


“Happy” is one of those films that has everyone talking! In the film, filmmaker and director Roko Belic sets out to travel the world with the intention of discovering the meaning of happiness. Belic was inspired to make the film after coming across an article in The New York Times entitled, “A New Measure of Well Being From a Happy Little Kingdom.” The article ranked the United States as the 23rd

happiest country in the world.


Available on Amazon Prime Video.

8. Cowspiracy (2014)


I firmly believe that watching “Cowspiracy” should be a requirement for every environmentalist. Rather than taking a purely ‘save the animals’ stance on animal agriculture, “Cowspiracy” digs deep into its environmental impact as the leading cause of carbon emissions, global warming, deforestation, and just about everything else. Watched this for the first time as a junior in high school and it truly

changed my mindset on what it means to live

sustainable. If you watch anything on this list,

this has to be it.


Available on Netflix.


9. Planet Earth (2006)


This David Attenborough documentary celebrates the amazing variety and beauty of the natural world. Filmed over four years and across 64 different countries, there are few films that compare in terms of scope. It’s a classic for a reason!


Available on Netflix and (some) on YouTube.


10. The True Cost (2015)


“The True Cost” pulls back the curtain on the fashion industry to give viewers an honest look at the human and environmental costs of producing clothing. I thought this documentary was genuinely eye-opening; I haven’t been able to look at the clothes in my closet the same way since. Highly, highly recommend!

Available on Amazon Prime Video.



Let us know what YOUR recommendations for sustainable documentaries are in the comments below!

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