greenearth.jpg With Earth Day fast approaching, it is an important time of year to reflect on Mother Nature. Many of us focus on small-scale, community events – which are all amazing ways to connect and focus on being eco-friendly. But it is also important to think about environmental issues that may not directly affect us but are still global problems. While the idea of trying to raise awareness about the plight of the Amazon when you have never even left your home state may make you feel as if there’s no point, there are plenty of ways to think globally and act locally.

How can I help solve global environmental problems?

It may feel overwhelming to see all of the environmental problems that the world is facing – and it may even cause some unsettling emotions. It is important to remember that knowledge is power and that any negative emotions can be turned into ones of hope. Learning more about threats to the Earth that exist here at home or abroad will give you the opportunity to share your knowledge with others and act as a team. For example, hearing about the world energy crisis may encourage a citywide effort to reduce their power consumption. There are many ways to learn more about environmental topics – for film fans, many powerful and intriguing documentaries have been made on everything from Artic polar bears to creatures at the bottom of the sea. If you wish to brush up on your knowledge of Earth Day-related topics, you may want to view one of these five incredible non-fiction titles. The goal of these films is to inspire you to think, learn and act – watch them alone or with a group to get motivated!
  • Planet Ocean – This beautifully shot film explores the relationship between the Earth’s oceans and the entire planet’s ecosystem. Planet Ocean delights viewers with footage of deep-sea creatures engaging in their day-to-day activities and compelling narrative. The film shows how the oceans support us through both fishing and seaweed and the terrifying fact that nearly 80 percent of commercial fish stocks are considered exploited. Planet Ocean does not have an overt call-to-action, but it does let the viewer know that conservation is a globally shared duty. As the film states, if we do not protect our oceans, they will no longer be able to sustain us – therefore, we must act before it is too late. As an individual or group, there are lots of ways to raise awareness about this issue including hosting an informational workshop, reducing plastic bag use or organizing a beach cleanup (if you live near one). This website has lots of great ways that families can learn about the world’s oceans and more!
  • The Nature of Cities – For those living in urban settings, it can feel as if nature is something that is separate – something that is “over there” or that you have to travel to. But the truth is that nature is connected and even intertwined in cities all across the world from small backyard gardens to citywide planning. This documentary explores the notion that nature is vital in terms of the ongoing human experience as it reaches humans on a deeper level. The message of The Nature of Cities is clear – humans must embrace green urbanism in order to sustain not just our own humanity but also the future populations. This film encourages discussions about green design when it comes to building commercial and family dwellings as well as what we can do as individuals. Lowering your carbon footprint by biking to work instead of driving or planting a small tomato garden are small but important ways to work nature back into the city.
  • The End of the Amazonia – Focusing on the mouth of the river in the lower Amazon, this documentary explores the unique ecosystem that exists where the Amazon River empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The dominant industry here is fishing and locals have noted strange occurrences due to the salt and fresh waters mixing – such as sharks being found upstream. Various types of wildlife are shown making their way into a small estuary, where locals have been catching them for thousands of years. The Amazon River is one of the world’s largest and plays an important part in the vast ecosystems it touches. Deforestation and pollution are threatening the areas surrounding the Amazon and its inhabitants. Locally, cutting down on paper and oil use is a great way to help support the Amazon. You could also start community petitions or letters to legislative members encouraging them to support laws that aid the river. This website has some great ideas on what else you can do for the Amazon.
  • Inside the Garbage of the World – This impactful documentary explores the over-consumption of non-renewable goods by citizens across the globe. The last 100 years has seen pollution grow out of control due to rising population levels and the world is on track for true devastation if people do not take action now. The film discusses the overuse of single-use plastic, gasoline emission levels and littering. There are many things individuals, families and communities can do to help the promotion of the old phrase, “reduce, reuse and recycle.” As mentioned earlier, try to resist using single-use products and switch to reusable options instead. Neighborhood cleanups are a great way to gain awareness and make community connections. Check out this site for more ways to reduce pollution!
  • Powering the Planet Powering the Planet focuses on the potential of sustainable energy solutions. According to the film, the Earth’s energy consumption is expected to double by the year 2050. And despite the powerful possibilities that current renewable energy sources provide, most developed nations still rely on non-renewable energy sources such as fossil fuels. By harnessing sustainable energy sources such as solar, wind and geo-thermal – our world could reduce pollution levels and promote environmental conservation. There are many ways to promote energy conservation in your home. Remember to turn off the lights and other devices when you leave a room, keep showers short and invest in eco-friendly appliances. You can also organize community outreach and participate in events that demonstrate the power of renewable energy sources.