Netflix and Chill (The Earth):Your Go-To List for Sustainability Media

In the days of the pandemic, it feels like we’re all desperately searching for our next piece of media to fixate on for a few months before moving on to something new (just me?). In any case, as long as you’re spending more time consuming books, TV and podcasts, you may as well integrate some sustainable topics in when you can!

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, I hope it covers a wide enough range of topics, creators and mediums to appeal as a starting point to even the most dedicated Euphoria viewers (maybe they tackle climate change on the show too?).

Books

As the cover indicates, a true environmentalist classic. An essential motivator of the environmentalist movement in the 1960s, it chronicles the rampant use of pesticides and how Carson’s work ultimately led to a nationwide ban of DDT.

If you passed through elementary school between 1990 and 2010, you’re likely familiar with Bill Nye the Science Guy. In Unstoppable, he takes an optimistic tone and leaves you feeling as ready for action as you were when he was telling you how to make a barometer in a bottle.

For those of you more interested in social sustainability, Robinson takes an urgent look on how our most vulnerable populations will be the ones to take the greatest hits from climate change.

Documentaries

With executive producer Leonardo DiCaprio and (spoiler) a cameo from Prince William, this Netflix documentary has no shortage of celebs. But come for the Leo, stay for the hard-hitting look at the ivory trade flourishing across the globe.

You knew it was coming. Cowspiracy may be the most influential documentary in convincing folks to care about sustainability, so if you haven’t, give it a watch.

Considering one of the greatest players in climate change – the fossil fuel industry – and its disproportionate impact on Indigenous Peoples is essential to us as Canadians. With a feature from Alberta, this one counts as local in my book.

Films

Leo’s back! This film was actually quite an interesting look on how our society treats climate change as an issue. With a jam-packed cast and some witty one-liners, I enjoyed this as a commentary on social issues AND as a film featuring Timotheé Chalamet. (and, spoiler, cameo from Chris Evans).

Speaking of iconic cast members, Julia won an Oscar for this one! But in all seriousness, this one looks at the legal intricacies of sustainable business practices and corporate responsibility. A classic for good reason.

Rounding out our movie category is a movie I genuinely enjoyed regardless of its connection to the climate crisis, and with a new Kingsman just released you can start off the series with a lot to look forward to! Samuel L. Jackson plays the big baddie – or is he just a practical businessman capitalizing on our current situation?

Podcasts

TILClimate is great if you’re just dipping your toe into the podcast world. With 15-minute episodes that are succinct and data-packed, you can be ~informed~ on your commute.

As soon as I heard the pitch “a true-crime podcast about climate change” I was personally hooked, but if you need more… an investigative journalist takes a deeper dive into the climate change issues you care about.

And finally… who would I be if I didn’t plug our own podcast, Sustainability Stories (someone with integrity)? We focus on student perspectives and initiatives right here at the University of Alberta…give it a listen and see if you hear any familiar voices :).

Hopefully this list gives you a starting point for all the sustainability-related media you’re going to read, listen to and watch this reading week! Education and awareness are the first steps to meaningful action: thank you for taking them with us.

By Ashley Abrahart

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