Today is our birthday, and a special birthday it is too: we started 8 years ago today. And you don’t have to know us well to know that we have a connection with the beautiful number 8…
We would have preferred to throw a party, of course – one in which we could look back on what we have achieved in the past 8 years, but also look ahead to what we can and need to do to make that bright future we’re working toward a reality. We would dream together and connect people who do not yet know each other but should. After all, it’s inspiration that drives us, and we often find that inspiration in chance encounters.
The person whose birthday it is treats everyone, so we have found an alternative way to do that and provide a little inspiration at the same time. Today we’re giving you 8 recommendations for documentaries that are meaningful to us and available for free (yes, free!) via the cool sustainable streaming platform Waterbear.
- Elemental (93 minutes). Change starts with deep desire. This documentary follows three individuals on three different continents, each questioning the established order in their own way. It’s not easy, and the documentary shows this in a catchy way. Why this engages us: we absolutely don’t want to compare ourselves to Rajendra Singh, Eriel Deranger or Jay Harman, the three main characters in this documentary, but we do know what it is to pioneer – to take a scary leap of faith every now and then. Not to go with the flow, but to swim against it.
- Being Hear (10 minutes). The power of listening. This short film is about Gorden Hempton, who is an ‘acoustic ecologist’. His theory is that we are losing an important skill: listening. The film is about communication, and what nature is trying to tell us. Why this engages us: in the past year, we have been limited to written communication, perhaps more than ever before. But in writing, we miss the nuance. In our work, listening is an important skill that we should use more. We should be listening to each other, but also, as Hempton argues, to nature.
- Return of the River (57 minutes). The power of a movement. This documentary is about the mission of a group of people who are trying to remove two dams. The community, which was initially divided, eventually comes to an agreement, enabling a large nature restoration project to take place. Why this engages us: this film shows in a compelling way that collaboration is necessary to achieve change. The social aspect of change, and the importance of collaboration, is often underestimated.
- Chasing Ice (36 minutes). Searching for your own persuasiveness. This documentary follows James Balog as he captures images of how the climate is changing. The images are as beautiful as they are shocking. One interesting detail is that, despite his scientific background, Balog was initially skeptical about climate change. Why this engages us: in our work we regularly meet people who have nothing to do with sustainability at first. But we often see these skeptics transform into the greatest ambassadors of the sustainability movement.
- The Pollinators (93 minutes). The absurdity of our symptom management. This documentary follows a caravan of American beekeepers who are deployed to pollinate flowers. We get a glimpse of how we are already confronted with the consequences of our almost industrial and chemical agriculture, and the bizarre ‘solutions’ we come up with to save our food system. Why this engages us: in our work we always try to find the core of a ‘problem’ and find the exact right solutions. We don’t treat symptoms, but rather look for the cause. This film shows beautifully that you can see the cause, but it can be difficult to implement solutions at that level.
- Just Eat It (73 minutes). We should not optimize but innovate. We throw away over 1/3 of our food globally, yet nearly 9% of the world’s population suffer from food shortages. This documentary is about our food system, and how we are ‘stuck’ in a system of things like expiration dates that mean a lot of valuable food is lost. Why this engages us: it beautifully captures why we have to move toward systemic change if we want to achieve real change. But it also shows that we are the ones who maintain the obstructive systems. We have been working in food-related sectors for a few years now, and secretly, we were happy to see that our working method and approach are necessary to achieve the systemic change we desire.
- The Hunt for Medals, Not Lions (8 minutes). Questioning traditions. Historically, young Maasai had to kill a lion to become warriors. But as the lion population dwindled, they looked for an alternative. This is how the ‘Maasai Olympics’ came into being. Why this engages us: with our business model, we are moving away from how a ‘traditional’ consultancy is run. But more importantly, we also believe in the power of sport to accelerate the transition to a sustainable future. Stay tuned, we’ll share more about this soon!
- Dear Future Generations: Sorry (6 minutes). Goosebumps. Prince Ea raps about climate change and sketches a bizarre vision of the future that could become reality if we don’t get moving now. It’s about how we don’t value nature, but we get value from nature. Prince Ea refuses to accept his own doomsday vision and makes a poetic call to action. Why this engages us: this is a great way to round off the list. It’s about how our thinking in economic progress is seen as the only form of progress, and at the same time leads to regression. We don’t like doomsday thinking, but that’s why the twist in his story is so beautiful.
Hopefully this list provides not only the inspiration you need, but also a little distraction in today’s reality. Now it’s up to you to share your favorite film on Waterbear with your network! Because the power of movement is ultimately what can make that beautiful sustainable future a reality.