Covid-19, Living

The Best Movies, Books, and Podcasts About Environment and Sustainability

Struggling to fill your time during coronavirus lockdown?

I hear you — I’m exactly the same.

I’ve been working loads, but now I have more spare time on my hands than I’ve had for a long time, and I’m sure you’re in the exact same situation. So why not use this time to improve your sustainability knowledge by checking out some eco-oriented movies, books, and podcasts? Hey, it beats watching Outbreak again.

In this article, I’m going to cover some of the best resources that will help you up your eco-knowledge during quarantine.

📽️ Documentaries

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

This was actually the documentary that first opened my own eyes to what was really going on with our planet a few years ago. It’s 85 minutes long, and it centers on the dairy industry. In short, it highlights what’s wrong with the dairy industry — and how it’s destroying the earth.

If you’ve been thinking of making the leap from vegetarianism to veganism recently, this is a must-watch film.

Where to find it: Netflix.

Before the Flood

Yes, it’s got Leonardo Di Caprio, but Before The Flood is very different from anything we’ve seen him in before.

Leo is actually a massive advocate of climate change, and in this documentary he travels to 5 continents to address what’s going on. He even gets to see climate change happening right before his eyes, and he talks to the folk who are working on the frontline to make us all aware of what the heck is actually happening.

Where to find it: Netflix and Disney+.

More Than Honey

Aww, I love bees!

And the thing with bees is that, as well as being all furry and cute, they’re actually really vital to our existence. 🐝

Not convinced? Check More Than Honey out, a documentary that highlights the growing decline of bee colonies all around the world.

Not gonna lie, this doc is basically a disaster movie. Its message is that if the bees go extinct, we do too.

Coronavirus pandemic? It’ll be a drop in the ocean compared to this.

Where to find it: YouTube and Google Play.

📚 Books

The Burning Question: We Can’t Burn Half the World’s Oil, Coal and Gas. So How Do We Quit? by Duncan Clark and Mike Berners-Lee

This was one of the first books I read on climate change a few years back, and it made me realize that climate change isn’t simply a scientific conundrum: it’s a political one and a social one.

The book argues that climate change is happening and that a lot of the damage that’s been done is irreversible. It also points out that we’ve almost gone too far, but that while the bigger first world nations are lowering their carbon emissions, emerging economies are going in the opposite direction.

So, what’s next?

Well, the book’s authors seek to address this question, and they throw up some tantalizing (and scary) answers.

Where to find it: Amazon.

The New Environmental Economics by Eloi Laurent

This one is brand new for 2020, and although I’m only halfway through it, I have to recommend it.

In short, The New Environmental Economics argues that humans, no matter how sustainable and green-minded we wish to be, have to harness the economy. Via some serious and deep (but not too deep) economic analysis, it shows us what direction our ecosystems and biodiversity have to take in order for our planet to shift to the next level so that we all (and that includes the planet itself) win.

Where to find it: Amazon.

On Fire: The Case for a New Green Deal by Naomi Klein

This one is currently on my wishlist. It’s by Naomi Klein who shot to fame when she wrote Disaster Capitalism a few years back (which I also recommend by the way).

According to reviews, it’s a cracker.

What’s it about?

Klein argues that climate action needs to be bold, and it needs to set the foundation for a better, more equal society. She demonstrates that having an environmental agenda can no longer be an afterthought — it has to be critical to everything we do going forward. If it isn’t, the writing will be on the wall for planet earth, and it won’t be good.

I can vouch for Klein. Excellent writer, excellent message — well worth checking out.

Where to find it: Amazon.

📻 Podcasts

Think: Sustainability

This podcast has a bit of a radio feel to it (which works really well by the way) and approaches sustainability discussions from an intersectional angle. It’s not really for beginners, though, but is rather aimed at folk who are happy to indulge in a bit of critical thinking, and who already have a pretty deep understanding of worldwide sustainability issues.

Listen to Think: Sustainability here.

Climate One

Climate One claims to be “changing the conversation on energy, economy and the environment.”

It’s a podcast operated by the San Francisco-based Commonwealth Club, and while coronavirus means that their lively in-person programs are indefinitely suspended, the podcast continues unabated.

It’s a bit of a shame that their in-person debates are suspended, but if you’ve never listened to this podcast before, there are plenty of old episodes to catch up on. If you love in-depth convos about the climate, extreme weather and other sustainable issues, it’s well worth tuning into.

Listen to Climate One here.  

Sustainababble

Sustainababble is a British podcast that contains that classic British humour everyone loves! I also adore their website and their succinct episode titles. For example, their latest episode is simply titled “Virus.” I wonder what that episode is about!

The podcast is fronted by two chaps, Ol and Dave, who get together each week to tackle sustainable issues with their own blend of dry humour and wit. What they discuss is serious, but they lighten the mood with their distinctive personalities, and — honestly — this is a really charming podcast.

Listen to Sustainababble here.


So, that sums up my guide to the best sustainable movies, books, and podcasts you should consume during lockdown.

I reckon there’s enough to keep you going for a few weeks, but I’m also open to suggestions myself. So if you’ve got any ideas, please let me know in the comments!

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About Will Titterington

Will is a writer who's always looking for ways to live more sustainably. He’d probably like to build his own house one day but one step at a time — he’s only just learned how to change a lightbulb.