We try not to watch tons of tv in our home but let’s be honest, we have our moments when all we want to do is veg out. I figure if we’re going to watch something then it needs to align with our values. For those times when mom (or dad) just needs a break there are several favorites we turn to, most of which have some sort of environmental theme. Of course, nothing beats a nature documentary but for times when you’re hankering for more of a storyline, here are 5 flicks all with little green morals woven right in. None of them are necessarily new but in case you haven’t seen or watched any of these in a while each has messages that can (& should) start a discussion with your kids about how the actions we take as humans impact animals, the environment and our future on this earth. Since youngins may not pick up on the subtleties of these messages, being there to point them out can help get them across. If all else fails, they’re entertaining way to get adults thinking about our own impact on the world. As Morgan Freeman once said: “Children aren’t listening to what we say, they’re watching what we do.” So if a family movie night motivates a positive change in your own habits then that’s great too!
Set hundreds of years into the future, Earth has been completely covered by trash. So much so that all of Earth’s inhabitants had to be evacuated to live on a spaceship. No coincidence that the corporation that created the “solution” also created the problem. Hits on large corporations selling people on the idea that buying their stuff will make them happy and what could happen if we keep on buying and disposing. Humans are so swayed by the message that business can solve their problems that they basically have given up doing anything for themselves, including walking and even eating food in solid form. There’s a subtle hint of how much power these corporations have as they dominate everything and act basically as government including the “clean-up” and decision not to return to earth.
2. The Lorax
This satire totally depicts what’s going on presently and pokes fun at all the things our society values such as consumerism, amenities and that we tend to not question what happens to trash and chemicals. Everything is fake and made in factories, right down to the trees and food, and air is bought because the outside air is unclean. The core message of the story is what happens when greed is valued over conservation of resources and what could happen if we don’t take care of our environment. It even touches on the crazy marketing scheme that is bottled water (in the movie’s case it’s air) and how so much of what we are told to think regarding stuff stems from large corporations who benefit from us buying into those messages.
3. Happy Feet
Besides sharing the message of being you even if that’s different from everyone else this movie touches lightly on the issue of litter and even more significantly, overfishing.
4. A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures
This movie follows the journey of a sea turtle across the ocean and hits on all the ways humans effect our oceans from oil spills, the fishing industry to trash in our waterways.
5. Dolphin Tale
The theme of this movie is more about overcoming odds and caring for animals but also hits on how humans impact marine life. It centers around the true story of a dolphin who was found with her tail caught in the line of a crab pot which resulted in it having to be amputated, leading to a series of challenges to her survival. If you and your kids like that one the sequel, Dolphin Tale 2, is equally as inspiring!
Any eco-friendly favorites not on this list that your family enjoys?