THESE MOVIES WILL BRING OUT THE ECO HERO IN YOU, TOO
It’s a long weekend in Australia, and whilst some of you might be heading to our nation’s azure waters to escape the sizzling temperatures of the past few weeks, others will prefer to stay indoors and enjoy the coolness of a beloved and gently humming air-conditioner.
If you’re in the latter camp, and you’re wondering what other joyous activities you can add to your weekend under the rotating fan blades of your domestic chill box, we’ve got some good news: we’ve designed a special must watch list of some of our favourite ‘eco hero’ films to keep you busy. Don’t be put off though – they won’t all make you feel guilty. Some will make you laugh, some will bring back childhood memories, most will teach you something new, and all are bound to inspire you.
1. Fern Gully
Who could forget this 1992 animated classic? Set in an Australian rainforest inhabited by fairies, the main character Crysta accidentally shrinks a young logger named Zak to the size of a fairy. Together, they rally the fairies and the animals of the rainforest to protect their home from the loggers and a malicious pollution entity, Hexxus.
James Cameron’s epic 2009 science fiction film stars Sam Worthington as Jake Sully, a disabled former Marine who finds himself in a distant world: Pandora, a densely forested and inhabited moon which is being mined because humans have depleted the Earth’s natural resources. Sent as an Avatar, Sully falls in love with Na’vi woman Neytiri and ends up in a battle for the survival of her world.
3. Gorillas in the Mist
An oldie, but a goodie. Adapted from wildlife expert Dian Fossey’s autobiography, this 1988 film follows Fossey (played by Sigourney Weaver) as she leaves the United States for Africa, where she studies the gorillas of Rwanda and Uganda. As Fossey develops a bond with the animals, she also becomes wary of the poachers who prey on them. Fearing that the gorillas will go extinct if humans continue to hunt them, she organizes a defence league to protect the apes and in doing so, puts herself in a perilous situation. A great example of a real life ‘eco hero’ standing up for the conservation of our planet and its inhabitants!
WALL-E, short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class, is the last robot left on Earth. He spends his days tidying up the planet, one piece of garbage at a time. Having done this for 700 years, WALL-E has developed a personality, and more than that: he’s extremely lonely. Everything changes when he spots EVE, a sleek and shapely probe sent back to Earth on a scanning mission. Smitten WALL-E embarks on his greatest adventure yet when he follows EVE across the galaxy.
5. An Inconvenient Truth
A Sundance Film Festival hit, this documentary film offers a passionate and inspirational look at one man's commitment to expose the myths and misconceptions that surround global warming and inspire actions to prevent it. That man is former American Vice President Al Gore, who, in the wake of defeat in the 2000 election, changed the course of his life to focus on an all-out effort to help save the planet from irrevocable change. Whilst over a decade old, this film remains one of the most successful documentaries of all time, and ultimately helped Gore to win the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
6. The Lorax
In this 2012 adventure film, twelve-year-old Ted (Zac Efron) lives in a place virtually devoid of nature; no flowers or trees grow in the town of Thneedville. Ted would very much like to win the heart of Audrey (Taylor Swift), the girl of his dreams, but to do this, he must find that which she most desires: a Truffula tree. To get it, Ted delves into the story of the Lorax (Danny DeVito), once the gruff guardian of the forest, and the Once-ler (Ed Helms), who let greed overtake his respect for nature. One for the kids (and kids at heart) in the family! Or maybe just the Zac Efron fans…
7. Chasing Coral
This is one of our newer selections (2017) and a Netflix original documentary. Coral reefs around the world are a fundamental part of a huge ecosystem, but they’re vanishing at an unprecedented rate. Divers, photographers and scientists set out on an ocean adventure to discover why the reefs are disappearing and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world. A great one for conversations around the dinner table.
8. A Plastic Ocean
Another one for the documentary lovers, A Plastic Ocean delves into humanity’s obsession with plastic since the 1950s and asks the touch questions of what impact this is having on our environment, and particularly on marine life. Directed by Australian journalist Craig Leeson, the film also suggests various strategies that can be implemented to reduce the impact of plastics to our planet.
9. The Story of Stuff
Don’t have time for a full-length feature? Never fear: The Story of Stuff is here! You may remember we recommended the book version of this film in this article recently. Originally released in December 2007, this short, 20-minute documentary is a fast-paced, fact-filled look at the way we make, use and throw away all the stuff in our lives. Seven years and millions of views later, The Story of Stuff is now a community of more than a million changemakers worldwide, working to build a more healthy and just planet.
What’s your favourite environmental hero movie? Let us know in the comments below!