Documentaries To Make You Give A Toss!
Documentaries can be so powerful, they can inspire people to make a change and be proactive, ask questions about things rather than just accept that's the way things are. In the last few years I have seen some absolutely life changing ones and I wanted to share them with you. Ones that have made me think about my actions, question my then reality and look into what I can do to help. With these wake up calls also came huge amounts of anger for the human race, just continuous disrespect...for everything. Our environment, animals and planet. It makes my heart ache seeing all the destruction the human race has and does cause. Harsh realities but they must be seen to be believed and they MUST be seen for any kind of positive change to happen. Once you have seen the problem you not only have the power to change things but you can then be the voice that goes and shares the information on and so, making a bigger difference. Recently it has been #WorldEnvironmentDay and today is #WorldOceansDay and I think every day should be those days. As much as we can we should help. I wanted to recommend some documentaries that made me give a toss and hopefully, will encourage others.
Blackfish is the story of Tilikum, a very lonely and abused orca who lived most of his life in captivity. Tilikum was stolen from his natural habitat, his family, to go work for human entertainment in a tiny bath tub. None of this sounds acceptable right? This documentary is filled with footage that confirms how horrific this poor orca's life was (like so many in the entertainment industry), Tilikum died last year, never knowing the freedom of the ocean again or even a sanctuary where he was not made to perform for people, or able to dive or swim the distances he is naturally supposed to do. Hand on heart this documentary changed my life, I remember weeping so much when I saw it. I felt so much for Tilikum but I was so, so angry with everyone who took part in his continued imprisonment. I was disappointed that a huge amount of people thought this kind of behaviour was ok - they actually visited the park to go watch this torture. Using this magnificent, extremely intelligent animal as entertainment while keeping him locked up in a tank not big enough for him and using him a sperm bank. Unfortunately, this is the life of many animals at SeaWorld and similar marine parks. This documentary opened my eyes and I would never look back. PLEASE watch it, share the information and spread the word to NEVER go to SeaWorld or any other marine park with cetaceans. They do not belong in tanks. Ever.
I was lucky enough to interview Blackfish cast member and SeaWorld ex-trainer, Dr Jeffrey Ventre, see all three parts here.
Available on Netflix and DVD
I remember watching this fairly soon after watching Blackfish and it had a similar effect. I felt like there were so many issues going on in the world that really, I had no idea of. Living in my little bubble not thinking too much about animal testing, captivity, climate change or the meat industry. This documentary is headed up by the absolutely awesome Dr Sylvia Earle. Dr Earle has been diving since she was child and her love for the oceans has grown to enormous depths (pardon the pun). In this documentary she shows the ocean is crying out for help, climate change, pollution, plastic and over fishing are killing it - literally killing it from the bottom up. Because of us. In all this distressing reality, Dr Earle is trying to save the ocean - she is on a mission to create hope spots across the world. These hope spots will be a fishing free zone, coral reefs and parts of the ocean that are safe, that can be repopulated with fish and ones that can blossom back to what they were. This documentary gave me some hope, there are people out there with the determination and indeed hope, that this can all be turned around.
Available on Netflix and DVD
Racing Extinction was the last film by documentary film maker Louie Psihoyos, Louie brought us The Cove as well as being a photographer for National Geographic for many years. This documentary is what it says on the tin, so many species are being driven to extinction, because of us and the effect we are having on the planet. Louie and the team of experts felt that these animals needed a voice. In the documentary we see Louie and his team go under cover on the shark fin and animal trade market. Sights that were truly shocking and actually extremely dangerous for the team, but they felt this must be documented and risked it. Louie has a photography session with lots of different animals that are on the verge of extinction too, one animal that sticks in my mind is the Tree Frog, It was the last of its kind and since the documentary in 2015 - it has died. We have literally seen species just wiped out, gone, no more sounds, no more animal. Nothing. this documentary again had a profound effect on me and I had no idea there were so many animals at breaking point. Louie speaks about how climate change has had an effect on the environment around the animals and so, effects the life of the animal. I had the honour of being able to interview Louie over Skype a few years ago and his knowledge and passion are endless.
I had the honour of interview Louie Psihoyos, see all three parts here.
Available on DVD, National Geographic
Released in 2017, this Netflix original film documentary focused on the damaged and vanishing coral reefs around the world that had been effected by climate change. There was no denying it, the world beneath the ocean was dying because of the environmental changes that were going on. That were brought on by the human race (again). The planet heats up, the ocean heats up. When the ocean gets to a certain temperature the living beings in the ocean like the fish and coral reefs are no longer able to survive in those conditions. There are masses of coral reef damage around the world, this is called 'coral bleaching'. The point of this documentary is to raise awareness that this stuff is happening around us and unfortunately, for some areas it's could be too late, we could have lost underwater worlds for good. It shows that EVERYTHING we do in our lives has an effect on something that we might not think about. Just because we might not see it, doesn't mean that we aren't having an effect on it. The plastic bottle we discard on the beach a year ago, the wet wipes we flush down the toilet, the pollution we put into the atmosphere. It is heart breaking to see the underwater landscapes that were once vibrant and full of life reduced to ashes. Watching this documentary, for me it seemed clear the ocean is screaming out for help. It seems things are at breaking point. The passion of the chasing Coral team too is inspiring, still fighting the good fight for the ocean and I don't see them stopping any time soon.
Available on DVD, Netflix
These two series for me, were the BBC's best work...ever. David Attenborough wowed audiences again with sequel series better than ever. The technology has advanced so much since the first lot of Planet Earth and Blue Planet - these series were in HD, full beautiful, glorious colour and simply just amazing. Planet Earth II took us all over the world, getting up close and personal with land animals of all shapes and sizes and their environments, Blue Planet II did the same. Both series, along with being visually stunning, actually had some serious undertones. They both touched on how humanity has negatively impacted the animals kingdom. The planet, air pollution, plastic, climate change - it covered it all. I think this time rounds, some people listened that perhaps have ignored it before. I know the feedback from both series was very positive. Particularly Blue Planet II, people were gobsmacked at the amount of plastic there was in the ocean, how it was choking and starving the creatures that live in the ocean and since that programme, people and business' have made positive steps forward to help reduce the single use plastic abomination on the planet. Which is great. I think a lot more younger generations have been engaged with these two series too which is fantastic because ultimately, we will only make small waves at the moment - barely even waves. The real hard work is for the next lot, still trying to turn things around and I believe we will see more negative effects of what we have done to the planet in the next 50-100 years before it gets better. Programmes like this can change peoples minds, change peoples outlook on things and hopefully - help change the planet.
Available on DVD/Blu Ray
Documentaries are the way to help the future. Things need to change, drastically and visual aids like Blue Planet II set things in motion. The fact is we are killing the planet and the oceans. We are imprisoning animals when really they need to be left alone in the wild, animals are not here for our entertainment. There are many things we can all do in our day to day lives that can help though and I know you probably think - just me, how could I possibly make a difference. But you can. You can change a few things in your life that positively impact the planet and then you can share that with someone else. Share the knowledge, ideas and tips. Keep it going. I think future generations will look back to this time and go WTF were they doing. Using STUPID amounts of land and water to farm cattle and grow feed for the cattle rather than feeding the hungry, constantly pumping out toxic gasses and chemicals into the air, pumping crap into the ocean, littering an underwater world, driving animals to extinction through hunting or changing their environment so much they can no longer survive, incarcerating animals for entertainment. It doesn't look great, in fact we should be ashamed of ourselves. It's depressing, it really is. BUT, we can try - that's all we can do. So please, have a bit of fucking consideration - whenever you can.