We are now firmly in what will be referred to in the history books as ‘The Netflix Era’. One of the biggest struggles of our time is overcoming the paradox of choice; with limitless movies, TV shoes and documentaries available online at the click of a button, how on earth can you be expected to choose just one? Cue this blog: a succinct guide to our top five recommended ethical and vegan documentaries. Of course, you’ll have to make the ultimate decision by choosing which to watch first, and so we wish you the best of luck in overcoming this final hurdle.
These documentaries aren’t just any documentaries, however; they’re game changers. These films are the most powerful out there, each showing the world in a whole new light. They’re all teeming with information, each one an insight a world that isn’t often talked about on mainstream media. We hope you find these ethical & vegan documentaries as interesting, informative and motivating as we did.
Filmmaker Kip Anderson is a devout environmentalist, committed to switching off lights, shunning standby modes, and even cutting the plastic off the envelopes to accurately separate recycling. When he came across a UN report that stated animal agriculture is the leading cause of environmental destruction and is responsible for more greenhouse gases than all transportation, he couldn’t believe he hadn’t heard of this before. This films details his journey in making this a more visible issue in environmental campaigning organisations, and discovering the eco-friendliness of a vegan diet. We incorporated stats used in this film in our blog about the environmental impact of leather, so it was great to see this information being shared with such a large audience. This vegan documentary is a total feast of facts for anyone concerned about sustainability, and the infographics make it really easy to understand the data. Available on Netflix.
This is the seminal vegan documentary. It has a reputation for turning people vegan on the spot. It has shocking violent footage showing the brutal realities of the ways in which humanity uses animals as food, clothing, entertainment, pets and scientific research. It’s narrated by lifelong vegan Joaquin Phoenix, and he said it’s the most influential film he’s ever made: “For every one person who sees Earthlings, they will tell three”. Peter Singer, the moral philosopher who wrote the cornerstone text of veganism Animal Liberation said: “If I could make everyone in the world see one film, I’d make them see Earthlings.” There’s no denying that this is a heavy, hard-hitting film that’s as difficult to watch as it is important. Available to rent online at Nation Earth.
Three people, six weeks, one challenge: go vegan. This easy-to-watch vegan documentary follows three people explore veganism for the first time, learning about nutrition, the wonders of vegan cheese and the truth about animal agriculture. It’s a totally non-judgemental introduction to veganism, and it tussles with some of the issues and difficulties of making the transition to a diet free of animal products. It’s really nice to watch the warmth between participants, too, and see them become firm friends by the end of it. Available on Netflix.
This sequel to Earthlings was released in 2015, and it’s about humanity learning to live by loving instead of killing. It has the most star-studded list of narrators in the history of film-making, including Pamela Anderson, Jennifer Aniston, Ellen DeGeneres, Dr Dre, Michael Gambon, Jeff Goldblum, Ben Kingsley, Helen Mirren, Geoffrey Rush, Susan Sarandon, Kevin Spacey and Catherine Tate, and that’s literally mentioning just a handful. It flows with the philosophy of compassion, and how this should be the next big movement to sweep our culture. It faces some difficult truths but it’s totally worth it to reach the uplifting, heart-warming and hopeful ending. Highly recommended. Available on iTunes.
Fast fashion is very much a big part of our culture, and is generously represented by big brands in endless high streets in towns and cities worldwide. The information in this documentary should therefore be common knowledge. However, as transparency is in short supply in fashion, so The True Cost comes as quite a shock. As 97% of our clothes are made overseas, the worker’s rights in other countries are incredibly relevant. This film shines a light on the reality of life for garment workers, on poverty pay working long hours in unsafe conditions. It also highlights and triple underlines the environmental cost of fast fashion, which is an issue that urgently needs addressing, what with the world’s attention being on combating climate change. This documentary is a totally necessary watch for all those looking for ways to live compassionately. Available on Netflix.
The True Cost is tightly bound with the Fashion Revolution, a movement born in the wake of the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in 2013. Fashion Revolution Week starts on 18th April, ending in Fashion Revolution Day on 24th April. Just by posting on Instagram or Twitter, you can help their #whomademyclothes campaign go viral. Find out what to do at FashionRevolution.org.
What was the most powerful one for you? Are there any other documentaries that changed the way you see the world? Leave us a comment; we’d love to hear about your experiences.