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5 Movies That Inspire Sustainable Action

Written by Megan Marshall


Posted on April 29 2024

To create change, you must make an effort to learn from and follow the examples of those who came before you.

If you're looking for inspiration on how to lead your sustainable lifestyle, these five movies will get you on the right track. From individuals fighting to make an impact to companies dedicated to improving the world, these films offer real-life scenarios and inspiration for sustainable action in your own life.

Bending the Arc

The ARC organization is trying to change attitudes towards sustainable development, and Bending the Arc is a documentary that shows how they are doing it. At one point in time, most people thought sustainability was an abstract concept with few real-world implications; but as awareness has grown, solutions have emerged, and hope for a greener future has emerged.

While Bending the Arc isn't perfect—it glosses over some of the challenges of transitioning to new sustainable habits—it is a great movie to get people talking about sustainability at home and in their communities. It offers thoughtful ways to start bending our Earth back towards a healthier center.


The Machinists

The Machinists is a fascinating documentary that takes an inside look at Bangladesh's exploitation of garment workers. The documentary follows two young women and their families; a young, pregnant woman and a woman in her 20s who's worked in the industry since she was nine.

With low and irregular pay, excessive overtime, and poor working conditions, they unite with other garment workers to stand up for their rights. It's a shocking look into Western fashion's severe human and environmental costs.

Whale Rider

It is a movie that tells a beautiful story about an 11-year-old girl who defies her Maori tribe's patriarchal rule and becomes their chief. Based on an award-winning novel by Witi Ihimaera, Whale Rider follows Porourangi (Keisha Castle-Hughes), a young girl whose father is chief of her tribe on New Zealand's North Island.

When he suddenly dies, she and her grandfather set out to bury him with all proper rituals under tribal law; however, Porourangi is denied permission to participate in the ceremony because of her gender.


An essential documentary, Cowspiracy discusses what most people don't realize: animal agriculture is one of the most significant contributors to environmental destruction. It's a shocking expose that will make you think twice about what you eat and where it comes from.

If you want to start making small changes in your life, watch Cowspiracy and be inspired to change more than just your diet.

An Inconvenient Truth

This 2006 documentary follows former U.S. Vice President Al Gore as he lectures and lobbies world leaders on climate change, culminating in a live concert held at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom on December 3rd.
The film provides powerful images that accompany Gore's message—that global warming is destroying our planet unless we can come together to make meaningful changes. An Inconvenient Truth has been lauded for its ability to simplify complex environmental issues and call for public action.

What movies inspire you to act?