PUBLISHED04 May 2020

Environmental Action Doc-list


Five documentaries exploring the beauty of our ecosystems, its animals and our effect on them.

The beauty Australia’s animal and plant life is undeniable. However, it’s unique ecosystems are under unprecedented levels of pressure. 

The latest State of the Environment report outlines how the ongoing exploitation of resources, land clearing and pollution coupled with the impacts of climate change have caused significant deterioration which requires immediate action. 

Below is a collection of documentaries that work to create collective impact by sharing vital stories of our planet and uniting us in action. 

Humans are responsible for pushing the environment to its breaking point, but, we also hold the key to its preservation. 

The Seeds of Vandana Shiva

Synopsis: How did the willful daughter of a Himalayan forest conservator become Monsanto’s worst nightmare? The Seeds of Vandana Shiva tells the remarkable life story of Gandhian eco-activist Dr. Vandana Shiva, how she stood up to the corporate Goliaths of industrial agriculture, rose to prominence in the organic food movement, and inspired an international crusade for change.

Vandana Shiva is a modern-day revolutionary, and for forty years has been fighting a heroic battle on behalf of humanity and the ecologically besieged natural systems that support us. But she is opposed by powerful multinational corporations invested in continuing their degenerative but lucrative agricultural practices. By profiling one of the greatest activists of modern times, the film looks at the epic struggle over who controls the world’s food systems, and asks the question, who will prevail?

Where to watch: Core Play

Voices of the River

Synopsis: Voices of the River is an award-winning documentary web series that showcases the inspiring and powerful words from Traditional Owners along the Martuwarra Fitzroy River and their fight to protect the River from large-scale water extraction.

The 10-part series aims to share the cultural and environmental importance of the Martuwarra, Australia’s largest Aboriginal Heritage site, stretching over 700kms in WA’s Kimberley region.

Current proposals to pump more than 300 billion litres of surface water from the Fitzroy River will cause irreversible damage to the Martuwarra and its precious Aboriginal Heritage, potentially turning it into the next Murray-Darling.

Where to watch – Instagram


Synopsis: Rivers have shaped our landscapes and our journeys, flowing through our cultures and dreams. This collaboration with the Australian Chamber Orchestra creates a powerful union of image and music, honouring the wildness of rivers and recognising their vulnerability.

Where to watch: ABC iview

Carbon: The Unauthorised Biography

Synopsis: With Carbon in the news every day, you might think you know everything about her. But you’d be wrong. This spectacular and surprisingly unorthodox documentary reveals the paradoxical story of the element that builds all life, and yet may end it all.

Narrated in first person by Sarah Snook (Succession), Carbon tells of her birth in the violent core of an exploding star and of turbulent sagas through the fabric of our evolving Earth. Accompanied by celebrated scientists, unique animations and a stunning orchestral score, Carbon reminds us of our humble participation in the most extraordinary story in the universe.

Where to watch: ABC iview

Wild Things

Synopsis: Wild Things follows a new generation of environmental activists that are mobilising against forces more powerful than themselves and saying: enough.

Armed only with mobile phones, this growing army of eco-warriors will do whatever it takes to save their futures from the ravages of climate change. From chaining themselves to coal trains, sitting high in the canopy of threatened rainforest or locking onto bulldozers, their non-violent tactics are designed to generate mass action with one finger tap.

Against a backdrop of drought, fire and floods; we witness how today’s environmentalists are making a difference and explore connections with the past through the untold stories of previous campaigns. Surprisingly the methods of old still have currency when a groundswell of school students inspired by the actions of 16-year old Greta Thunberg say, ‘change is coming’ and call a national strike demanding action against global warming.

Where to watch:  Vimeo