Eco-Conscious Living

10 Life Changing Documentaries

Originally published by Elizabeth Stilwell of The Notepasser Blog


I’m a weird person. It’s okay, I know I am. In addition to many odd things I do, I consistently choose documentaries over reality TV, nonfiction over fiction. My beach read right now is This Changes Everything, a 576-page tome on the connection between capitalism and climate change. Some people find my weirdness interesting (or at least amusing). I mostly don’t worry too much what other people think because my mind is already at capacity computing my own incessant thoughts. I think waaaay to much about everything. It drives people close to me crazy and although I try to control this tendency, it is very much my default. One activity that feeds my thoughts is documentaries. I especially love social justice documentaries, of which there are many.

There are so many now that, if you’re like me, can fill your Netflix queue to the point where you probably don’t have enough time left in your life to watch them all. That’s probably an exaggeration, but I’ve watched plenty and can’t wait to nerd out on more. I want to share my favorites from the past couple of years with you. Information really can be life-altering, so be cautious about the rate at which you view them lest you fall into a pit of despair from which no amount of The Bachelor can revive you. These are the documentaries that have changed my actions, my diet, my life.


COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary following an intrepid filmmaker 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.

This is the one that convinced me I need to be a vegan. Watch on Netflix.


There is so much interest in food these days yet there is almost no interest in the hands that pick that food.

This is an eye-opening investigation of the farm and food worker industries. People doing back-breaking work all day so that we can have sustenance to keep us alive and healthy — they should be some of the highest-paid people, in my opinion. Watch on Netflix.


What makes you happy? HAPPY is a global journey across countries and continents in a search for humanity’s most elusive emotion. The film seeks to share the wisdom of traditional cultures and the cutting edge science that is now, for the first time, exploring human happiness. Through powerful interviews, they explore what makes people happy across the world.

This is a sweet and wonderful film that remains one of my favorites. It got me thinking about what happiness really is. Watch on Netflix.


This is a film based on the book “Death of the Liberal Class” by journalist and Pulitzer prize winner, Chris Hedges. It charts the rise of the Corporate State, and examines the future of obedience in a world of unfettered capitalism, globalisation, staggering inequality and environmental change. The film predominantly focuses on US corporate capitalism, but viewers may recognise the relevance of what is being expressed with regards to domestic political and corporate activity. It was made entirely of clips found on the web.

Watch the full length film online. Warning: this film contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing.


Join acclaimed director Velcrow Ripper on a journey deep inside the global revolution of the heart that is erupting around the planet. Watch on Netflix.

It’s hard to create community if the underlying knowledge is we don’t need each other…Joint consumption doesn’t create intimacy. Only joint creativity and gifts create intimacy and connection. — Charles Eisenstein 

I loved the message behind this film which is: can this be a movement of love?

See the rest of Elizabeth’s favorite documentaries on her blog. 

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