April is Earth Month. It's an opportunity to connect with Mother Earth, to become more aware of environmental issues and the choices we make that affect the planet. It's an opportunity to learn how to minimize our carbon footprint and prevent further harm to our planet’s natural resources.
Education is key in the global fight against climate change. You don't know what you don't know but once you know, can't unknow. Climate change, deforestation and extinction are the biggest stories of our time, and many of the world’s best storytellers are bringing these issues to life through film, books and podcasts.
Here are easy ways to learn:
1. Watch environmental documentaries
We all love watching Netflix and TV. These are fabulous environmental documentaries to binge-watch without guilt.
- Kiss the Ground (2020) , narrated by and featuring Woody Harrelson is an inspiring and groundbreaking documentary film that explores the potential of regenerative agriculture to heal the planet and help mitigate the effects of climate change.
- David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet (2020) shares stunning footage of the beauty of our world that provides a powerful call to action for global action on climate change and conservation.
- I Am Greta (2020) provides a behind-the-scenes look at young activist Greta Thunberg's rise to global fame and the impact her environmental activism and prominent voice had on her personally and on the world.
- Remothering the Land is a 10-minute film by outdoor gear company Patagonia on the potential of regenerative agriculture to mitigate climate change, improve soil health, and enhance food security.
- Gather (2020) explores the relationship between Indigenous communities, the land, and its resources. It highlights the importance of Indigenous knowledge and seeking solutions to the current global climate crisis.
- 2040 (2019) by Damon Gameau embarks on a journey to explore what our future in 2040 could look like if we embrace the best solutions to improve our planet's most pressing environmental challenges, including climate change, pollution, and food security.
- A Plastic Ocean (2016) sheds light on plastic pollution and its damaging impact on the world’s oceans, marine life and ecosystem.
- Anthropocene: The Human Epoch (2018) narrated by Alicia Vikander, portrays stunning imagery and expert commentary on the global scale of the climate crisis including mass extinction of species and the urgency of action to mitigate its effects.
- An Inconvenient Truth (2006) featuring Al Gore was the first mainstream climate change documentary that opened our eyes to the serious and shocking effects of global warming.
- Virunga (2014) follows a brave group of park rangers in the in their fight to preserve the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the world’s most biodiverse places and home to the Earth’s remaining mountain gorillas. It is also the most dangerous places to work in conservation. The park and its inhabitants are under constant threat from poachers, armed militia and companies exploiting its natural resources.
- Before The Flood (2016) with Earth Alliance co-founder Leonardo DiCaprio along with National Geographic sounds the alarm on climate change and arms viewers with solutions. Great for kids or skeptical family to watch.
- Year of Living Dangerously (2014-16) is an Emmy award winning series produced by James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger featuring journalists and celebrities that travel the world to interview experts on the climate crisis and everyday people affected by it.
2. Listen to podcasts
While you're out for a walk, a run with your headphones, enjoy these fabulous podcasts!
Here are some great reads from Canadian and international authors to enjoy.
- Life in the City of Dirty Water: A Memoir of Healing by Clayton Thomas-Muller
- Still Hopeful: Lessons from a Lifetime of Activism by Maude Barlow'
- Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard
- Healing Grounds: Climate, Justice, and the Deep Roots of Regenerative Farming by Liz Carlisle
- Saving Us: A Climate Scientists’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World by Katharine Hayhoe
- The Intersectional Environmentalist: How to Dismantle Systems of Oppression to Protect People + Planet by Leah Thomas
- A Bigger Picture: My Fight to Bring a New African Voice to the Climate Crisis by Vanessa Nakate
- Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
- The Climate Book: The Facts and the Solutions by Greta Thunberg
- How to Save Our Planet: The Facts by Mark Maslin
While Earth Month is about learning and doing our part to take care of the planet, it's also important to know that we can make little changes.
How about rethinking your next purchase - 'do I really need it?', repairing rather than tossing out an item, install a rain barrel, planting a small vegetable garden, installing a clothesline. Every small action has a ripple effect. Happy Earth Month!