Habit Shift is a new series that I have in the works. I’m hoping the series will offer quick tips, concrete takeaways, and a whole lotta can-do spirit for focusing on ways to shift personal habits in an effort to be little bit more environmentally friendly, a little more healthy, and a little more happy. Good for us, good for our planet. I hope you like it.
With the Sundance Film Festival officially kicking off tomorrow, I thought it was the perfect time to talk about the list of documentaries that have made an impact on my habits over the past ten or so years. Fair warning: These aren’t exactly feel-good movies. And, if I’m being really frank, some of them border on being a little annoying, or a little depressing, or, well, both! Yay!?
But they’re all films that actually made something click and inspired me to make a change. To be clear: They weren’t films that made me feel hand-wringy and anxious, but they spurred me to change my mind, kick a bad habit, or reassess my choices. Most of them are more than a few years old at this point, but I think they can still hold their own.
In case you’re finding yourself searching for something to occupy these long, dark nights. Here are a few of my favorite habit-shifting documentary recommendations, in no particular order.
+ King Corn: This one’s a real oldie at this point, but when my brother-in-law and our friend Ian made this way back in 2007, it changed the whole way I thought about the food industry and what I was putting in my mouth (and not just the corn)! Even though we’re all quite a bit older now, it still offers good food for thought. (Currently available to rent on Amazon and iTunes)
+ Supersize Me: It’s probably not terribly surprising that I’ve never been a huge fast food junkie, but before I watched this movie, I definitely still partook in the occasional road-trip fast food. Afterward, even that paper packet of fries was harder to stomach. (Currently available to rent on Amazon, Netflix, and iTunes.)
+ Bag It: More than just encouraging me to stop using plastic bags—this film had me reassess my dependency on single-use plastics in general. Prepare to invest in a reusable water bottle and a cloth grocery bag after watching (and maybe to feel less thrilled about your recycling efforts). (Currently available to rent on Amazon, iTunes, and Netflix.)
+ The End of the Line: This film took me on a deep dive (pun, of course, intended) into the world of fish and fisheries that I’d never even considered before I watched it. I’m not a regular fish eater, but when I am, I make sure that the fish I’m eating has been sustainably sourced, all thanks to this film. (Currently available to rent on Amazon and iTunes.)
+ Tapped: If you still haven’t kicked your plastic water bottle habit, this might just be what finally makes you do it. Since watching this, I’m pretty sure I can’t count the number of disposable plastic water bottles I’ve used on one one hand. (Currently available to rent on Amazon and iTunes.)
+ Toxic Hot Seat: This documentary tackles the chemical industry. In particular, it traces the Chicago Tribune reporting on the chemical flame retardant industry. Fascinating and scary stuff that definitely made me rethink my approach to upholstered furniture. (Available to rent on iTunes)
What about you guys? Anything you’ve watched that made you change your mind about something, or change an old habit?