In 2007, the folks over at WWF Australia unveiled Earth Hour - a campaign that encouraged every one of us to take action to help the environment, making an impact over 60 minutes. A decade later, one in four Aussies come together each year in either darkness or by candlelight to support that commitment to energy conservation.
Across the planet, over 50 million people in roughly 172 countries now also take part.
In consideration of Earth Hour on 25 March, we've assembled a collection of environmentally themed docos currently streaming on SBS On Demand that will stimulate your thinking on broader environmental concerns and how you can become part of the solution.
Just remember not to watch them while you're supposed to be taking part in the actual Earth Hour.
Greedy Lying Bastards
Considering we are knee deep in the fake news era, with ill-intentioned people using misinformation to cover their own misdeeds, this 2012 documentary about the powerful forces propagating climate change falsehood is all the more relevant.
The focus is primarily on the petrol industry’s financial commitment to proving our earth is in tip-top shape, with the filmmakers travelling across North America in an attempt to prove them wrong. Greedy Lying Bastards is as comprehensive as it is scary as hell.
This riveting doco swept the 2009-10 awards circuit while rattling audiences, critics, and naysayers alike.
We follow Ric O’Barry, thetrainer responsible for single-handedly ushering Flipper into popular consciousness. O’Barry, who's now a full-time activist, heads to Taiji, Japan with one item on his to-do list: travel to the centre of the city’s pervasive and inhumane dolphin killing ring and catch the perpetrators red-handed.
The documentary crew faces a war on all fronts from those invested in keeping the cove a dirty big secret and the results play out like a high-tech, socially conscious espionage thriller of the highest order.
The End of the Line
Expanding on the microcosm exposed in The Cove, this is a thorough and convincing argument in favour of more informed fishing practices.
Not only are corporation-backed fishing industries stooping to a succession of lows, such as mega-harvesting in order to reap the highest profits, but they are also directly disrupting the symbiosis of our earth’s oceans.
This plummeting in species population has dire ramifications, including a dwindling food supply and an out-of-whack environmental equilibrium that could lead to a slew of natural disasters.
Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins
It’s not often a nature documentary series is so popular it warrants a movie prequel, but such is the appeal of the meerkat’s unbridled adorability.
Two years in the making and narrated by the unmistakable rasp of none other than Whoopi herself (that’s Goldberg, just in case you know another Whoopi), Manor follows meerkat Flower as she battles rival critters, hovering hawks, and both drought and starvation.
Wonderfully shot and sure to tug at the heartstrings, this is the kind of documentary that would make penguin/lemur-lover Morgan Freeman call his management and drill them for dropping the ball.
Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
If there was ever an argument against the use of unrecyclable plastics, this is it.
We’re taken to Midway Attol, home to enough stubborn, man-made debris to warrant its titular nickname. Here we learn that the marine and wildlife population is barely surviving on a diet of plastic materials, much of which ends up stuck in their guts and served up to us humans.
With the plastics industry among America's top five largest and most ingrained, it’s clear and rather haunting that the problem isn’t showing any signs of slowing.
You can take part in Earth Hour this year on 25 March at 8:30pm.