The best carbon footprint documentaries you should watch

by Matt Hill March 06, 2014

Carbon Footprint Documentary SmallWhen "carbon footprint" is mentioned, the phrase can invoke a variety of responses. Ultimately it is important for people to educate themselves on what carbon footprint means and how it could impact them or others. There are some fascinating documentaries available that look at the subject from several different angles. 

Beforing choosing a documentary to watch about the carbon footprint, consider these points:
  • Who is the audience? Will you be watching this with your children? Is the carbon footprint documentary age-appropriate? 
  • What is the length? Depending on the audience attention span, a multi-hour documentary can become difficult to watch. You may want to break it up into pieces in order to get the most out of the film.
  • Is the film biased? Carefully look at the creators of the film and their underlying purpose for creating the documentary. Is there a hidden agenda to promote a particular position, or is the film attempting to present an objective viewpoint. Depending on your particular needs and perspective, you may want to more closely scrutinize the information presented in the film.
  • How well is the documentary presented?  Great films carry great stories combined with spectacular visual and audio scenes. A carbon footprint documentary should present an adventure that also includes facts and supporting evidence that will capture your attention and provoke you to take action.

You can choose a carbon footprint documentary from one of the following “best picks”, or begin your own adventure to find a film that suits your needs:

The Human Footprint – BBC has a longstanding reputation for some excellent documentaries that are both entertaining and informative. While this documentary on its surface is a bit light-hearted, it has a deeper meaning. The number of farts a human emits in their lifetime, for example, can be hilarious. But it also whimsically illustrates how we impact the world around us. The discussions on how much we dispose of as humans are frighteningly alarming.

Trading on Thin Air – For those who enjoy the economic side of the carbon footprint, this documentary explores how the carbon market it influencing conservation and sustainability in our world. This film looks at the trade of carbon dioxide emissions and how it can be commoditized in a way that emulates financial market trading. If a manufacturer is able to reduce carbon emissions by 25%, that can allow consumers or new businesses to keep their current level of carbon emissions and as a whole reduce overall carbon footprint.

Surviving Progress – This documentary provides a history lesson of sorts. It illustrates how previous civilizations have collapsed in their zeal to build or generate new technologies. While this could be viewed as a bit of a “downer” on technology and progress, it does present hope that humanity is not all bad and that our true intentions of making the world a better place can be achieved without destroying earth in the process.

These are just a few of our best picks. Did we miss a good documentary that tackles the subject of carbon footprint perfectly? Add your film to the comments!




Matt Hill
Matt Hill

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