Films, books, episodes & podcasts
On this page you will find some of our favourite documentaries, books and podcasts to help you learn about the climate and ecological crisis along with the solutions to building a sustainable World.
TIP: Try out shops like World Of Books that sell selected books second hand, or get a group of friends to buy a book each and rotate them amongst each other, saving you and the environment a cost:
Confronting today’s Climate Emergency is personally very painful – simply because we’ve left everything so late.
You can’t just stay hopeful if the science tells us it’s already too late to stop runaway climate change – but happily, that’s not the case. Solutions abound on every front, and a new generation of climate activists (in the School Strikes movement and Extinction Rebellion) has transformed today’s climate politics.
But it won’t stay ‘not too late’ much longer’. Which is what makes this the decisive decade, and what makes 2021, as we rebuild our shattered economies after the coronavirus crisis, the decisive year.
Reproduced from www.jonathonporritt.com
Evocative, raw and lyrical, this startling debut explores the natural world through the eyes of Dara McAnulty, an autistic teenager coping with the uprooting of home, school, and his mental health, while pursuing his life as a conservationist and environmental activist.
Shifting from intense darkness to light, recalling his sensory encounters in the wild – with blackbirds, whooper swans, red kites, hen harriers, frogs, dandelions, Irish hares and more – McAnulty reveals worlds we have neglected to see, in a stunning world of nature writing that is a future classic.
Diary of a Young Naturalist is a powerful and scintillating portrayal of the beauty of the natural world, as it shines a light on autism and of overcoming severe anxiety. It is a story of the binding love of family and home, and how we can help each other through the most difficult of times.
How can we begin to talk about what is happening to the world? How can we explain to our children, and to ourselves, what the future of our planet might look and feel like?
Letters to the Earth Is the beginning of a new conversation. One that attempts to answer some of these questions by listening to the voices of parents and children; politicians and poets; songwriters and scientists. Gathering together over 100 letters written in response to the climate emergency, each entry begins to give language to the unspeakable, and shows how our collective power is present when we are ready to slow down and listen to each other.
It’s natural to feel worried or concerned about what the future of the earth holds. These letters are an opportunity to reflect on our connection to the planet and each other in times of crisis. They are also an opportunity to act and respond to this crisis. To put pen to paper and make your voice heard.
Includes contributions from activist Yoko Ono, actor Mark Rylance, poet Kate Tempest, author Laline Paull, illustrator of The Lost Words Jackie Morris, novelist Anna Hope, environmental writer Jay Griffiths Green Party MP Caroline Lucas. , Booker prize Winning author Ben Okri and actor Freya Mavor
When faced with climate change, the biggest threat that our planet has ever confronted, it’s easy to feel as if nothing you do can really make a difference . . . but this book proves that individual people can change the world. With twenty inspirational stories celebrating the pioneering work of a selection of Earth Heroes from all around the globe, from Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough to Yin Yuzhen and Isatou Ceesay, each tale is a beacon of hope in the fight for the future of our planet, proving that one person, no matter how small, can make a difference. Featuring illustrations by Jackie Lay.
Fungarium – Illustrator Katie Scott returns to the Welcome to the Museum series with exquisite, detailed images of some of the most fascinating living organisms on this planet – fungi.
From the fungi we see on supermarket shelves to fungi like penicillium that have shaped human history, this is the definitive introduction to what fungi are and just how vital they are to the world’s ecosystem.
Created in collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Animalium – Welcome to the museum! There are more than 160 animal specimens to be discovered in Animalium, the first in a series of virtual museums. Wander the galleries – open 365 days a year – and discover a collection of curated exhibits on every page, accompanied by informative text. Each chapter features a different branch of the tree of life, from the simple sponge to the enormous elephant.
The 2016 offering from Big Picture Press’s Welcome to the Museum series, Botanicum is a stunningly curated guide to plant life. With artwork from Katie Scott of Animalium fame, Botanicum gives readers the experience of a fascinating exhibition from the pages of a beautiful book.
From perennials to bulbs to tropical exotica, Botanicum is a wonderful feast of botanical knowledge complete with superb cross sections of how plants work.
High-spirited Ivy believes she can talk to animals, while Nathaniel, a boarding-school boy, is obsessed with animal facts.
They come together unexpectedly on a cold English beach with the arrival of a rare and wondrous sea creature: a giant leatherback turtle who lays her eggs in front of the world’s media. Soon they’re on a mission to make a difference to the world – even if they have to do it one animal at a time.
How to Save the World with a Chicken and an Egg is the first in a series of hilarious, poignant and highly original stories on environmental matters from Emma Shevah, featuring cover and inside illustrations by Kirsti Beautyman.
How To Turn Your Parents Green is a fun-packed, pocket-sized book that shows children how they can make a difference in the fight against Ghastly Global Warming by being an Eco-Warrior rather than an Eco-Worrier. The premise for the book is that grown-ups (the Groans) are responsible for causing global warming, but it’s you (the kids) who will have to deal with the consequences. So, the youngsters are given a mission to educate their parents about recycling, saving energy and water etc. If the parents don’t comply, they are fined and when they realise the error of their ways, they sign up to the Glorious Green Charter.
Charting the cumulative effects of the climate change denialism of the 1980s, Losing Earth takes a sobering look at the tragic price of past mistakes and missed opportunities that hang over our current efforts to save the planet.
Nathaniel Rich is able to provide more of the context for what did – and didn’t – happen in the 1980s and, more important, is able to carry the story fully into the present day and wrestle with what those past failures mean for us in 2019. It is not just an agonizing revelation of historical missed opportunities, but a clear-eyed and eloquent assessment of how we got to now, and what we can and must do before it’s truly too late.
The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
In The Hidden Life of Trees (opens in new tab) Peter Wohlleben makes the case that the forest is a social network. He draws on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers. Wohlleben also shares his deep love of woods and forests, explaining the amazing processes of life, death and regeneration he has observed in his woodland.
Doughnut Economy by Kate Raworth
In the Doughnut Economy (opens in new tab) Oxford academic Kate Raworth lays out the seven deadly mistakes of economics and offers a radical re-envisioning of the system that has brought us to the point of ruin. Moving beyond the myths of ‘rational economic man’ and unlimited growth, Doughnut Economics zeroes in on the sweet spot: a system that meets all our needs without exhausting the planet.
The demands of the 21st century require a new shape of economics. This might just be it.
Are you ready to change your life?
In Eckhart Tolle’s ground-breaking book, he gives you the spiritual framework to:
– Understand yourself better
– Manage, manifest and achieve your goals
– Reach your full potential
– Channel conflict into something positive
– Change negative habits
– Live in the moment
Open your mind and follow Tolle’s guidance to happiness and health in the modern world.
“…Biophilic Cities provides a convincing argument for integrating ‘nature’ into cities…the book is excellent at bringing together environment-behavior studies and summarizing the latest in environmental-psychology research.”–Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review
From HRH The Prince of Wales, environmentalist Tony Juniper and climate scientist Dr Emily Shuckburgh, it explains the history, dangers and challenges of global warming and explores possible solutions with which to reduce its impact.
You’ll learn about the causes and consequences of climate disruption; heatwaves, floods and other extreme weather; disappearing wildlife; acid oceans; the benefits of limiting warming; sustainable farming, new clean technologies and the circular economy.
In this visionary book, chemist Michael Braungart and architect William McDonough challenge this status quo and put forward a manifesto for an intriguing and radically different philosophy of environmentalism.
“Reduce, reuse, recycle”. This is the standard “cradle to grave” manufacturing model dating back to the Industrial Revolution that we still follow today. In this thought-provoking read, the authors propose that instead of minimising waste, we should be striving to create value. This is the essence of Cradle to Cradle: waste need not to exist at all. By providing a framework of redesign of everything from carpets to corporate campuses, McDonough and Braungart make a revolutionary yet viable case for change and for remaking the way we make things.
‘A dazzling, vibrant, vision-changing book. I ended it wonderstruck at the fungal world. A remarkable work by a remarkable writer’ Robert Macfarlane, author of Underland
The more we learn about fungi, the less makes sense without them.
Neither plant nor animal, they are found throughout the earth, the air and our bodies. They can be microscopic, yet also account for the largest organisms ever recorded. They enabled the first life on land, can survive unprotected in space and thrive amidst nuclear radiation. In fact, nearly all life relies in some way on fungi.
Thinking about what we eat is one of the most important things we can all do to reduce our carbon footprint. This book shows how it’s possible to make a big difference and enjoy a nutritious, healthy, balanced diet without having to be an eco-saint every single meal. If you enjoy your food but also care about the planet, as I do, then this book is for you. — Craig Bennett
Rob Hopkins asks the most important question that society has somehow forgotten – What If? Hopkins explores what we must do to revive and replenish our collective imagination. If we can rekindle that precious creative spark, whole societies and cultures can change – rapidly, dramatically and unexpectedly – for the better. There really is no end to what we might accomplish.
From What Is to What If is the most inspiring, courageous and necessary book you will read this year; a call to action to reclaim and unleash the power of our imaginations and to solve the problems of our time. Meet the individuals and communities around the world who are doing it now – and creating brighter futures for us all.
“This book comes at just the right moment. It is NOT too late if we get together and take action, NOW.” -Jane Goodall
Fears about climate change are fueling an epidemic of despair across the world: adults worry about their children’s future; thirty-somethings question whether they should have kids or not; and many young people honestly believe they have no future at all.
In the face of extreme eco-anxiety, scholar and award-winning author Elin Kelsey argues that our hopelessness-while an understandable reaction-is hampering our ability to address the very real problems we face. Kelsey offers a powerful solution: hope itself.
Hope Matters boldly breaks through the narrative of doom and gloom to show why evidence-based hope, not fear, is our most powerful tool for change. Kelsey shares real-life examples of positive climate news that reveal the power of our mindsets to shape reality, the resilience of nature, and the transformative possibilities of individual and collective action. And she demonstrates how we can build on positive trends to work toward a sustainable and just future, before it’s too late.
How Bad Are Bananas? was a groundbreaking book when first published in 2009, when most of us were hearing the phrase ‘carbon footprint’ for the first time. Mike Berners-Lee set out to inform us what was important (aviation, heating, swimming pools) and what made very little difference (bananas, naturally packaged, are good!).
This new edition updates all the figures (from data centres to hosting a World Cup) and introduces many areas that have become a regular part of modern life – Twitter, the Cloud, Bitcoin, electric bikes and cars, even space tourism. Berners-Lee runs a considered eye over each area and gives us the figures to manage and reduce our own carbon footprint, as well as to lobby our companies, businesses and government. His findings, presented in clear and even entertaining prose, are often surprising. And they are essential if we are to address climate change.
Investing responsibly is one of the most powerful ways that you can fight climate change.
No longer a niche sector for rebel fund managers, conscious investing has the potential to raise huge sums of money to the companies and organisations on the front line fighting the climate crisis and make investors positive returns in the process.
In this essential introduction to green investing, Alice Ross shows you how you can turn your savings and pensions, however big or small, into a force for change. You will learn:
– Which sectors are leading the charge by developing cutting-edge solutions; from smart farming to renewable energy
– How to cut through ‘alphabet soup’ jargon and identify ‘greenwashing’
– The ways you can maximise your economic power and hold those you’re investing in to account
Packed full of the latest science, stats, facts and solutions, with beautiful illustrations to visually communicate the process too – a book to educate, inform and inspire the whole family into action.
Sussex Green Living will be selling these books from their Inspiration Eco Station (retrofitted 1974 electric milk float.)
Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share in Education: The Children in Permaculture Manual is a ground-breaking book, which shines a permaculture lens to inspire child-friendly, sustainable education.
Full of innovative information, a new curriculum, hundreds of inspirations for activities, session plans, holistic pedagogy and reflection questions, this book will inspire educators to get outdoors and learn from nature.
It is for primary, nursery and kindergarten teachers, policy makers, permaculture designers, Forest School leaders, Scout leaders, parents, carers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and anyone else who is interested in holistic education for sustainability and resilience.
The Garden Jungle is a wonderful introduction to the hundreds of small creatures with whom we live cheek-by-jowl and of the myriad ways that we can encourage them to thrive.
The Garden Jungle is about the wildlife that lives right under our noses, in our gardens and parks, between the gaps in the pavement, and in the soil beneath our feet. Dave Goulson gives us an insight into the fascinating and sometimes weird lives of these creatures, taking us burrowing into the compost heap, digging under the lawn and diving into the garden pond. He explains how our lives and ultimately the fate of humankind are inextricably intertwined with that of earwigs, bees, lacewings and hoverflies, unappreciated heroes of the natural world.
For anyone who has a garden, or cares about our planet, this book is essential reading.
While everything appears to be collapsing around us – ecodamage, genetic engineering, virulent diseases, the end of cheap oil, water shortages, global famine, wars – we can still do something about it and create a world that will work for us and for our children’s children.
The inspiration for Leonardo DiCaprio’s feature documentary movie The Eleventh Hour and soon to be released HBO special Ice on Fire, Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight details what is happening to our planet, the reasons for our culture’s blind behaviour, and how we can fix the problem. Thom Hartmann’s comprehensive book is one of the fundamental handbooks of the environmental activist movement. Now with fresh, updated material on our Earth’s rapid climate change and a focus on political activism and its effect on corporate behaviour, The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight helps us understand – and heal – our relationship to the world, to each other, and to our natural resources.
Colin Tudge’s The Secret Life of Trees: How they Live and Why they Matter explores the hidden role of trees in our everyday lives – and how our future survival depends on them.
What is a tree? As this celebration of the trees shows, they are our countryside; our ancestors descended from them; they gave us air to breathe. Yet while the stories of trees are as plentiful as leaves in a forest, they are rarely told.
Here, Colin Tudge travels from his own back garden round the world to explore the beauty, variety and ingenuity of trees everywhere: from how they live so long to how they talk to each other and why they came to exist in the first place. Lyrical and evocative, this book will make everyone fall in love with the trees around them.
When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. She has no idea how she got there or what her purpose is – but she knows she needs to survive. After battling a fierce storm and escaping a vicious bear attack, she realises that her only hope for survival is to adapt to her surroundings and learn from the island’s unwelcoming animal inhabitants. As Roz slowly befriends the animals, the island starts to feel like home – until, one day, her mysterious past comes back to haunt her.
From bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator Peter Brown comes a heartwarming and action-packed novel about what happens when nature and technology collide. By turns funny, moving, surprising and dramatic, this is a novel that is as thought-provoking as it is enchanting.
“WWF and the Mental Health Foundation have come together to produce this guide for you. We want you to thrive and for nature to thrive around you. We think the two are mutually supportive.”
From forests and rivers, to parks and gardens, to window boxes or even house plants, we can find nature wherever we are.
Interacting with nature can be not just enjoyable, but also beneficial to our mental health and wellbeing, aspects of our health that are particularly important to look after.
For more book recommendations, try out EcoWatch’s book recommendation list here.
Narrated and featuring Woody Harrelson, Kiss the Ground is an inspiring and groundbreaking film that reveals the first viable solution to our climate crisis.
Kiss the Ground reveals that, by regenerating the world’s soils, we can completely and rapidly stabilize Earth’s climate, restore lost ecosystems and create abundant food supplies. Using compelling graphics and visuals, along with striking NASA and NOAA footage, the film artfully illustrates how, by drawing down atmospheric carbon, soil is the missing piece of the climate puzzle.
This movie is positioned to catalyze a movement to accomplish the impossible – to solve humanity’s greatest challenge, to balance the climate and secure our species future.
Using his celebrity status to draw attention to the problem of global warming, one of the most important and pressing issues of our time, actor and United Nations Messenger of Peace, Leonardo DiCaprio, travels the globe to witness firsthand the effects of an impending environmental disaster.
By visiting ancient melting glaciers and levelled Indonesian tropical forests, DiCaprio unearths an urgent situation and the world’s dependence on fossil fuels, going as far as to visit President Obama himself for an in-depth interview. But, can this crusade inspire the climate-change deniers?
Pete Postlethwaite stars as a man living in the devastated future world of 2055, looking back at old footage from our time and asking: why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?
‘Inhabit’ is a documentary film project that explores the tools for and promise of meeting human needs while also caring for and regenerating ecosystem health. It is an exploration into the idea of conscience inhabitance through permaculture. Focussed mostly on the Northeastern and Midwestern regions of the United States, ‘Inhabit’ provides an intimate look at permaculture peoples and practices in these regions – examining their daily lives as influenced by permaculture design.
Permaculture is a design science based on the observation and replication of patterns and relationships found in nature; it is an approach to designing sustainable systems of agriculture, community, economics, politics, and more. ‘Inhabit’ will look at practices in rural, suburban, and urban environments to explore the breadth of response to local and global challenges – from issues of food, water, and medicine, to governance, economy, and culture. It is an attempt to illuminate certain societal and planetary ails through the lens of on-ground, Earth-based solutions.
Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary following intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today – and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it.
Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and virtually every other environmental ill. Yet it goes on, almost entirely unchallenged.
The story of teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg is told through compelling, never-before-seen footage in this intimate documentary from Swedish director Nathan Grossman. Starting with her one-person school strike for climate action outside the Swedish Parliament, Grossman follows Greta – a shy schoolgirl with Asperger’s – in her rise to prominence, and her galvanizing global impact as she sparks school strikes around the world. The film culminates with her astonishing wind powered voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to speak at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City.
During his lifetime, Sir David Attenborough has seen first-hand the monumental scale of environmental change caused by human actions. Now for the first time, he reflects on the devastating changes he’s witnessed and reveals how together we can address the biggest challenges facing life on our planet.
Produced by Silverback Films and WWF, David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet shares Sir David Attenborough’s greatest story yet – his witness statement for the natural world and vision for the future.
2040 is a hybrid feature documentary that looks to the future, but is vitally important NOW!
The 2040 journey began with award-winning director Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film). Motivated by concerns about the planet his 4-year-old daughter would inherit, Damon embarked on a global journey to meet innovators and changemakers in the areas of economics, technology, civil society, agriculture, education and sustainability. Drawing on their expertise, he sought to identify the best solutions, available to us now, that would help improve the health of our planet and the societies that operate within it. From marine permaculture to decentralised renewable energy projects, he discovered that people all over the world are taking matters into their own hands.
Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. A team of divers, photographers and scientists set out on a thrilling ocean adventure to discover why and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world.
The film took more than three years to shoot and is the result of 500+ hours of underwater footage, coral bleaching submissions from volunteers in 30 countries, as well as support from more than 500 people in various locations around the world.
Mark Carney, the former Governor of the Bank of England, argues that the roots of the climate change threat lie in a deeper crisis of values. He suggests that we can create an ecosystem in which society’s values broaden the market’s conceptions of value. In this way, individual creativity and market dynamism can be channelled to achieve broader social goals including, inclusive growth and environmental sustainability.
Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one. An astonishing story.
Face the climate crisis head on, but understand that we have the power to solve this. From former UN Chief Christiana Figueres and the team who brought you the Paris Agreement, this podcast about issues and politics will inform you, inspire you and help you realise that this is the most exciting time in history to be alive.
Some of today’s most topical issues polarise people. In Who Cares Wins with Lily Cole, Lily breaks down the echo chambers of modern life, exploring the nuance of debate and the power of conversation in finding our way to solutions. Interviewing leading experts, activists and founders on topics such as technology, food, gender and capitalism, Who Cares Wins with Lily Cole encourages us to listen deeply, and choose optimism. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.