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5 Must-See Sustainability Documentaries [2021]


Global warming and climate change are relevant to all of our lives. Whether you’re just starting to learn about sustainability or want to spread the word more, we’ve selected five documentaries related to the SDGs to enrich your knowledge about climate issues from the comfort of your home.

Kiss the Ground

Let’s start from the ground up, by learning about the role of soil in climate change. This documentary focuses on regenerative agriculture, showing how to grow food for livestock in a way that nourishes the soil, rather than destroying it or exploiting it. In the past, livestock farming was thought to be one of the causes of global warming, but in reality, the wrong forms of food production, such as monoculture, pesticide use, and livestock grazing have destroyed the soil’s resilience. Take a fresh look at the importance of soil in Kiss the Ground.

Breaking Boundaries: The Science of Our Planet

The documentary was produced by award-winning production company Silverback Films. Narrated by David Attenborough, Johan Rockström, a prominent Swedish environmentalist, takes the audience on a journey of discovery.

At the core of the film is the “Planetary Boundary” theory proposed by Johan Rockström and 28 other scientists in 2009. Experts have been sounding the alarm since then (and before, too), but most people have not changed any of their behaviors in the past few years. In fact, the documentary points out that we have exceeded four planetary boundary indicators, including biodiversity. Many scientists are working on solutions to prevent us from crossing these critical boundaries repeatedly. Through this documentary, they are once again sounding the alarm and calling on all humanity to take environmental issues seriously.

My Octopus Teacher

Released by Netflix in 2020, this documentary approaches its audience in a different way than most other eco-documentaries. Not only has it won many documentary awards, it was also been nominated for an Academy Award in 2021.

The protagonist of this documentary is Craig Foster, a filmmaker and founder of the Sea Change Project. The film depicts how he encounters an octopus living in the kelp forests of South Africa and how, through the octopus, he is able to deepen his understanding of the mysteries of nature, living things, and life. Follow the story of one man’s encounter with an octopus living in a South African kelp forest and how he regains his understanding of the mysteries of nature and life.

In the documentary, Clay says

you are part of the place, not a visitor.

By rethinking our relationship with nature, we can reconsider how we learn from and respect our environment.

Before the Flood

Before the Flood was directed by Oscar winner Fisher Stevens and produced by Leonardo DiCaprio. The documentary focuses on the effects of climate change, following DiCaprio as he travels around the world to see how countries such as China and India are coping with climate change. He also interviews world leaders like former U.S. President Barack Obama and Pope Francis, as well as leading scientists and social activists who have an impact on climate change issues. Furthermore, he travels to the affected areas and collected important materials that show the horrific impact of climate change on the future of our planet.

However, the goal of this documentary is not only to convey the seriousness of the situation in modern society, but also to present a variety of solutions. The story here skillfully blends hard data presented by scientists with conversations with world leaders and social activists. In doing so, Before the Flood conveys the difficult content in a way that is easy to understand.


Rotten is a six-part documentary series that is currently in its second season. Each episode focuses on a single food product, exposing the problems of food in today’s society and the dark side of the food industry.

This drama provides a bird’s eye view of the food production process. It leads us to consider the complex relationship between humans and the food production and marketing system. For example, when we enjoy the food in front of us (whether it is an apple, mineral water, or chocolate), how and through whom does it reach us?

Anna Lappe, well-known author and advocate for sustainable food, says “Every time you spend money, you’re voting for your ideal world.”


Global warming and environmental and social issues are already having a serious impact on our future. Through these five documentaries, whether you have doubts about sustainability or agree with them, we hope you will join us in facing the global climate crisis.

Interested in environmental, social, and sustainability issues, but don’t know how make an impact? Start through education, and personal change. And at work, you can influence your workplace by including sustainability concepts in your proposals and making sure to communicate both internally and with customers about sustainability issues.

At Neuromagic, we’re working on tackling sustainability by adopting the methods by Dutch sustainability leader and Except Integrated Sustainability Director Tom Bosschaert–Symbiosis in Development (SiD). SiD is a a systematic approach to solving sustainability problems.

The SiD process allows you to identify the underlying problem and conceive of a solution from a systemic perspective. If you’d like to check it out, it is available in both English and Japanese.

No matter how you approach issues of sustainability and environmental crisis, it’s important to take your first step to ensure a more sustainable world.

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