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Sustainable Consumption: Films and Short Videos

A guide for researching sustainable products, as well as interventions, news, and other literature on sustainability.

Films at the Library

You can search for films in DiscoverE just as you would search for books.  Simply select "Video" in the item drop down menu.  For example, you can find films related to sustainability and consumption using search terms like: 

During the 2016-17 school year, you can also browse and watch documentaries through  Docuseek2, a streaming video service.  Docuseek2 includes documentaries from Bullfrog Films, Icarus, BBC, National Film Board of Canada, CBC, and Docuseek.  You can also browse Docuseek2's collection by subject, including "Environment".  

Note:  You cannot use streaming video for public film showings.  If you are interested in showing a film publicly, please contact your librarians about purchasing a DVD with public performance rights.  

For a more extensive list of films related to the environment, check out the LibGuide "Environmental Sciences Films".  

Sustainability Illustrated

Sustainability Illustrated was created by sustainability consultant and illustrator Alexandre Magnin to explain key sustainability concepts through short and engaging illustrated videos.  For example, check out his video on Earth Overshoot Day.

Ted Studies - Sustainable Consumption and Urban Design

Ted Studies are curated video collections complied in collaboration with Wiley.  Each Ted Study includes videos, an introductory essay, and a summary analysis.  There are two Ted Studies related to sustainability:

Sustainable Consumption: Reworking the Western Diet               

"In Reworking the Western Diet, speakers examine how that diet--processed, high in refined sugars, and heavy in corn, soy, meat and dairy--is making us and the environment sick.  These TED Talks blaze the trail to sustainable farming and a more sensible diet.  Relevant areas of interest, study and coursework include: sustainable agriculture, agricultural policy, food history, food science, environmental science, nutrition, culinary arts and horticulture."                  



Urban Planning: Ecofying Cities         

"In Ecofying Cities, speakers reveal ideas about sustainable development (and redevelopment) that aren't all about setting limits, going without or preparing for the worst.  Rather, they find solutions in resourceful, hopeful, beautiful communities.  Relevant areas of interest, study and coursework include: urban renewal, new urbanism, architecture, economic development, green building, transportation planning, alternative energy production, environmental justice, civil engineering, environmental engineering and biomimicry."


New Sustainabie Consumption Films

The True Cost (Required for class!)

"This is a story about clothing.  It's about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world.  The price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically. The True Cost is a groundbreaking documentary film that pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider, who really pays the price for our clothing."

--Untold Creative


The Secret Life of Your Clothes 

"In this revealing film, charismatic paralympian Ade Adepitan tells the fascinating story of the afterlife of our clothes.  He follows the trail to Ghana, the biggest importer of our castoffs where thousands of tons of our old clothes arrive every week.  Ade meets the people who make a living from our old clothes, from wholesalers and markets traders to the importers raking in more than the average yearly wage in a single day!"   

--Bullfrog Films

City of Trees

"Since 1990, nonprofit Washington Parks & People has tried to reduce poverty and violence in Washington, D.C. neighborhoods by improving parks.  At the height of the recession, the organization received a stimulus grant to create a 'green' job-training program in communities hardest hit.  They had two years to help unemployed people find jobs and care for parks in their neighborhoods...What sounds like a simple goal--putting people back to work by planting trees--becomes complicated by a community's distrust of outsiders and a fast-approaching deadline before the grant money runs out.  Filmed in an unflinching and compelling verité approach over the course of more than two years, City of Trees thrusts viewers into the inspiring but messy world of job training and the paradoxes changemakers face in urban communities everyday." 

--Meridian Hill Pictures


Just Eat It

"Filmmakers and food lovers Jen and Grant dive into the issue of waste from farm, through retail, all the way to the back of their own fridge.  After catching a glimpse of the billions of dollars of good food that is tossed each year in North America, they pledge to quit grocery shopping cold turkey and survive only on foods that would otherwise be thrown away."

--Peg Leg Films

Xmas Without China

"Exploring the intersection of commercialism and immigration in American culture, the documentary filmmakers follow their friend and fellow filmmaker Tom Xia on an intimate, humorous journey to get to know his neighbors...Tom's neighbors--the Joneses--are a young family trying to keep their children safe with a series of Chinese toy recalls forces them to have their son tested for lead poisoning.  Devising a plan to put American fears of China in context, Tom challenges his neighbors to go through the Christmas season without any Chinese products.  Taking on the consumer mission-impossible, the Joneses discover that they're giving up not just their toys, plates, lamps, and clothes, but the beloved hair dryer, coffeemaker, X-box, and most of their Christmas decorations." 

--Dwyers & Xia

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