WegoWise's Top 5 Environmental Documentaries

by ‐ Tags: links, water efficiency, green living

As much as we don’t want to admit it, summer has come and gone. Like clockwork, September has rolled in with all it’s telltale signs: moving trucks choked up traffic and hit overpasses on Storrow Drive, the college students have inevitably flooded back in to take your spot on the T, and Oktoberfest beers have dutifully replaced the summer ales on tap. More than anything though, the brisk mornings and dropping temperatures are a reminder that fall is upon us. So when you’re snuggling up on your couch this weekend, why not check out the WegoWise employee’s top 5 favorite environmental documentaries:


1. Flow (2008)

When you hear the phrase, “scarce natural resource,” what is the first thing that comes to mind? Oil? How about water? With reliable home plumbing, water might not be something that you think twice about, but Flow makes a good case for why you should. The documentary brilliantly weaves together a web of interconnected water issues, ranging from the corporate takeover of the world water supply to the contamination of our tap water here at home (rocket fuel anyone?).

 2. Gasland (2010)

This 2010 film written and directed by Columbia University graduate Josh Fox features families and communities suffering from the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the United States. The documentary takes viewers into homes in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Wyoming and Texas as they fight courts and gas companies for clean and safe drinking water. Gasland also features scientists, politicians and gas industry executives all strongly opinionated on this national controversy between cheap energy and a clean environment.

3. The Cove (2009)

Winner of the 2010 Oscar for Best Documentary, this film uncovers the disturbing and lucrative dolphin capture and slaughter industry in the sleepy coastal town of Taiji, Japan. Scenes in the movie are both gut-churning and heart-breaking, but are sure to open your eyes to the questionable morality of the worldwide marine-park industry and the importance of eco-activism. Also be sure to check out this summer’s documentary Blackfish, about the dangers of keeping killer whales in captivity.

4. Wasteland (2010)

This might not be an obvious choice for a top 5 list of eco-documentaries, but hear us out. Wasteland paints a portrait of human dignity and human rights in the most unlikely of places: Jardim Gramacho, the world’s largest landfill located outside of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Artist Vik Muniz travels there to work with catadores, or trashpickers, who eek out a meager living scavenging recyclables in the dump. Set against a backdrop of flagrant waste and astounding poverty, Muniz creates beautiful, larger-than-life portraits of the pickers with found materials at the site. It’s well worth watching and best of all; you can stream it instantly on Netflix.

5.Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006) 

 This one is a bit of a throwback, but this documentary chronicles the history of the EV-1, the little electric car that could. Introduced by GE in 1996, the EV-1 was produced in response to California regulations encouraging emission-free vehicles to be produced. As this incredibly efficient car started to gain in popularity, lobbyists from the powers that be worked behind the scenes to thwart the success of the EV-1 and to shut down the zero-emission mandate. Fast forward to today, in the age of rising gas prices and increasingly affordable hybrid vehicles, the dream of the commercially available electric car might not be that far off.