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The Best Books and Movies on the Environment

There is a lot of information out there on climate change and sustainability that is not only interesting, but important to learn. Books and films can be a great way to get engaged with these topics, and can be entertaining, too! I’ve compiled a list of my favourite books and films, and some great recommendations from friends and family, too.




The Clean Bin Project

The Clean Bin Project is probably one of the funniest, down-to-earth documentaries you’ll ever watch. It’s independent, but well made, and provides perspective on how much waste we produce and how many products we consume. The film follows a couple, Jen and Grant, as they attempt to live for a year without buying anything (besides food, of course) or throwing anything away. It makes viewers reflect on their own practices, and may inspire you to take on a similar challenge for yourself!


Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change

This film offers important insights on the traditional ecological knowledge of Inuit people living in the Arctic. So often, in an attempt to do helpful work and research, scientists overlook or dismiss the invaluable knowledge of the people who have been living on and studying these lands since time immemorial. This film puts viewers in touch with the ecological issues both threatening and currently affecting the Arctic, and gives a unique view into the people it impacts and their culture, knowledge, and language. This film is also available to watch online for free.


Radiant City

This film is a journey. It’s an uncomfortably funny and surprisingly disturbing look at urban sprawl and the increasing abundance of suburbia. The film follows a family and their daily life and struggles living in the impractical and isolated community of Evergreen in Calgary, Alberta. The vlogs and clips of the family are interspersed with statistics and commentary provided by city planners, realtors, professors, and architects. It is not only incredibly insightful and informative, but very entertaining in its own special way.




Minimalism challenges people to see the value of having less, from the perspectives of many different types of minimalists. It is a good way to start thinking about your own habits, and whether or not you really do need everything you think you do.


In the Same Boat

This film is described as “an artistic and sophisticated analysis of the effects of globalisation on the world, which presents an optimistic argument for the future of the planet.” It allows viewers the opportunity to see the world from the perspective of those geographically far away from them, and provides insights into peoples’ views on a variety of topics, from the environment and economy to what happiness is.





I’m With the Bears

This book is a great one for people who are less interested in the scientific aspects of climate change. It is a collection of short stories about the changing world that we live in that gives an accessible narrative of what the dangers of climate change really are. It is imaginative, engaging, nerve-wracking, and thought-provoking, and is must-read for everyone from geography students to climate deniers, and everyone in between.


Utopia for Realists

Utopia for Realists explores the possibilities of a real-world utopia, wherein exists a 15-hour work week, a universal basic income, and open borders. These seemingly unachievable goals are practically advocated for and invite the reader to question the world’s potential. While it all sounds very academic and difficult to understand, it is written in an accessible way, and is intended to captivate and persuade the reader.


Happy City

Happy City is sort of like the print companion to Radiant City, as it tackles the problematic nature of unchecked urban sprawl that we find ourselves surrounded by. This book offers a multifaceted critique of our destructive and inefficient building practices, and offers alternatives that promote health, sustainability, and, of course, happiness.


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Abby was born and raised in Victoria and loves it here on the island. She's a fourth-year (!) student studying Political Science and the Human Dimensions of Climate Change. When she's not studying, chances are you can find her playing soccer, biking, or watching The West Wing.
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