1. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (2014)
This documentary is an investigative style film about the environmental impact of animal agriculture, specifically cattle. Cowspiracy was wholly funded through crowdsourcing, in which the producers raised 217% of their goal, allowing them to translate and subtitle the film in several languages and premiere globally on Netflix. Although the film is likely to make you reject the idea of meat (for a day or for good), it does not contain the uncomfortable fear mongering of many environmental films out today. Directors Kip Anderson and Keegan Kuhn narrate the process of mass meat production as they, too, begin to understand the harm. Much of the film is Anderson running around from organization to organization, digging deeper into corruption and big business. They do an excellent job of sticking to the facts, providing communicative infographics and concrete statistics.
2. The Human Experiment (2013)
The Human Experiment is about the chemical industry and the system in which they are drastically unregulated – in the food we eat, the home and hygiene products we use and the furniture we buy. Although the film is largely fact-based, it has slight alarmist elements. While the statistics are arguably the most compelling component, the film focuses heavily on anecdotal support. The film follows several cases of disabilities (infertility, autism, to name a few) and their link to the unavoidable chemicals we consume. The most distressing information about formaldehyde, BPA and other endocrine disruptors (i.e.: chemicals that mess with our natural hormones) is ultimately that we don’t know anything about them and their long lasting effect at all. As the movie accurately states, big businesses do not test the chemicals (or their subsequent reaction with other chemicals) simply because they do not want to know! What we do know is that autism rates are skyrocketing, more healthy women are less fertile and more young people are getting cancer.
3. The Atomic States of America (2012)
“The Atomic States of America” is an investigative documentary on nuclear energy and how at one point it was the “beacon for the future…a symbol of hope”. Wanting to reduce the dependency on foreign energy sources and cleaner air, the United States entered the age of the nuclear renaissance. The film interviews people from reactor communities where disastrous outcomes from this renaissance have broken their trust with those who promised their safety. An issue that we are still dealing with and will continue to deal with for years to come, the documentary only hits the tip of the iceberg. It is not completely an anti-nuclear film, but focuses on how our government should take the steps to ensure that nuclear energy is produced differently, correctly, and cleanly.
Phoebe is from San Francisco, California and has lived in Manhattan for a year. She is studying Strategic Design & Management at Parsons School of Design, in her second year of their Bachelor of Business Administration program. When she’s not working on EcoHabitude’s blog or social media platforms, she loves to explore New York City rooftops, upcycle her clothes and learn new languages.
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