Recalibrating Our Needs to Get the Most Out of Life

Film Recommendation

Minimalism (2016)

An Alternative Outlook

I thoroughly enjoyed this film, a touching documentary of life out on the road with Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, aka The Minimalists, as they promote their book and the philosophy of minimalism. I’ve had the pleasure of following their blog for some time now, as it syncs wonderfully with the idea of sustainability and the need to reduce our environmental impact, getting the most out of what we spend our precious time and money on. The idea is to focus on relationships and experiences, and less on the the material. Many in the world today equate success and satisfaction with material possessions, particularly in the United States where consumerism has become a source of patriotism. The Minimalists seek to offer Americans, and indeed the world at large, a reminder of what is truly valuable and the consideration of a possible alternative lifestyle where consumption is not the driver.

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The Struggle for Survival

Film Recommendation

The Island President (2011)

Getting the Word Out

This documentary follows Mohamed Nasheed the (then) president of the Republic of Maldives on his quest to generate the necessary attention and subsequent policy measures required to help prevent his country from being swallowed up by climate change. The Maldives, a collections of islands in the Indian Ocean, is home to aprx. 350, 000 (human) inhabitants all of whom are in danger of becoming climate refugees as global temperatures increase and ocean waters rise.

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The Consequences of Rapid Consumption

Film Recommendation

True Cost (2015)

Following the Trend

This documentary investigates the social and environmental costs of the fashion industry. As described by the filmmakers, Fast Fashion has made significant gains in the garment industry, encouraging consumers to buy more and discard (click for SNL spoof commercial) what is rapidly considered outdated wear. This approach has generated enormous profits at the cost of suppressing labor wages in the developing countries that provide the manufacturing.

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The Illusion of Choice

Film Recommendation

The Lottery of Birth (2013)

This is a deeply power documentary! While not long by film standards ( 1h 17min), it packs quite a bunch. The filmmakers present a number of speakers that challenge the audience’s world view, and how it was conceived. Interviewing a range of intellectuals, including writers, philosophers, historians and neuroscientists, to name a few, they make the case by which much of our identities are shaped from birth without it being fully realized or appreciated by the individual. We are all born into a country, culture, religion, and environment that is already exerting its forces upon us, and unless we actively question and challenge this paradigm, we are simply supporting the status quo.

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Waste Not, Want Not

Film Recommendation

Trashed (2012)

Jeremy Irons takes us on a journey through our waste, as he investigates it’s impact on our world. This is a moving documentary that will hopefully encourage a greater awareness of our trash and what it does to people and wildlife around the planet. There are indeed deeply saddening examples of those afflicted, as viewers bare witness to a small dose of the tremendous burden being carried by nature and the world’s poor. The documentary is effective in highlighting the glaring deficiency in the current status quo with regards our waste and the immense opportunity for it to be improved. Despite such focus however, it is not a wholly depressing film, in that there are presented alternatives to how we address waste, as well as hope that we can learn from our mistakes. It is a profound and impassioned film certainly worth your time and attention.