Seven documentaries that will make you hopeful about the future

Nina van Rijn


3 minutes



Depressed by all the climate related natural disasters that have been ravaging our planet the past few weeks? Time for a movie night full of hopeful films. We listed seven uplifting films that show what’s possible: our planet is not lost.

August 6, 2021

Anyone who follows the news on our climate and environment only a tiny bit, may have been feeling desperate. Germany floods, Tata pollutes, Deepwater Horizon leaks, Shell also, Turkey burns, Canada deforests, the polar bear starves, the polar ice disappears. You don’t have to be an extreme pessimist to feel that life on earth is a lost cause. But next to this pile of misery – that naturally receives more media attention than the success stories – there is a pile of progress and hope.

Feel like immersing yourself in these success stories, so that you will see the future with a more optimistic view? We listed seven films that show that the cause is definitely not yet lost.


Still from the movie 2040

In this film, director Damon Gameau presents a hopeful image of how the future could look like in 2040 for is young daughter. He shows a better, greener world that can be built using solutions and technologies that exist today. For example, using the right vegetation, we can increase the carbon capture capacities of our soils; local green energy is being produced on a massive scale throughout the world; we’re reforesting; cities are making streets car free and then make them green and pedestrian and bike safe. Damon tells the stories of the people that are actively implementing these solutions today.

Where can I watch this? Via the website of 2040

How much does it cost? €5,00

We the power

Still from the movie We the power

In this 40 minute documentary made by Patagonia, different communities are followed – friends, families, villages – that take energy production back into their own hands, away from large energy corporates. Three groups in the German Black Forest, Girona and London show how they fight legislative barriers to make energy production theirs again and how they pave the way for the sustainable energy revolution.

Where can I watch this? Via Patagonia’s website

How much does it cost? It’s free

Kiss the Ground

Still from the movie Kiss the ground

Agricultural land has been almost entirely robbed of its micro-organisms, resulting in the loss of CO2 storage capacity of the soil. But with ‘bio sequestration’, using plants, trees, farming and grazing techniques, we can restore this. “The poop has to stay in the loop”, is one of the lessons presented in this film. There are hundreds of ways to restore our soils, to which you can also contribute. This documentary shows you are definitely not powerless in the fight against climate change. It shows what anyone with at least a few square meters of outside space can do.

Where can I watch this? Netflix

How much does it cost? Surely you or a friend has a Netflix account right?

Seed: The untold story

Still from the movie Seed

Humans lost 94% of the world’s variety of seeds over the past century. That’s bad, because the more varied our options for food production, the bigger the chance that the human race will survive on this changing planet. To save us, groups of people around the world are collecting and saving seeds, searching for new seeds of potentially edible plants and fighting against the patenting of seeds by large corporates. This documentary shows their untold story.

Where can I watch it? Via the website of Seed

How much does it cost? $4.99


Still from the movie Tomorrow

NGO director Cyril Dion and filmmaker Mélanie Laurent search for people that make a difference. In this movie, they show a new vision for the world, in which each community is more autonomous and free to make the small decisions that help regenerate our planet.

Where can I see it? On Cinetree

How much does it cost? €2,99

The biggest little farm

Still from the movie The biggest little farm

In 2011 filmmaker John and his wife Molly traded the city for the countryside, to start a farm. Not a traditional one, but a permaculture farm, where different crops, livestock, pets, wild animals and their family would live in harmony and grow together. This documentary shows what the world could look like if we stopped working against nature and started working with nature. Truly a heart-warming film.

Where can I see it? On Cinetree

How much does it cost? €2,99

A Simpler Way

Still from the movie A simpler way

In 2015, a group of Australian people started a village with the aim of exploring simpler ways to live in response to global environmental, social and economic crises. They built their own homes and they grow their own food without using pesticides and fertilizers. A Simpler Way tells their story, including the challenges they face along the way. The biggest one of them being related to the social structure of the community.

Where can I see it? YouTube, or in HD via A Simpler Way

How much does it cost? Youtube: free. HD: pay as you like

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