Environmental documentaries have done a great deal to spread awareness on our planet, what has happened before, what is currently happening offering solutions where possible. Documentaries are quite interesting especially when the topic is addressed well. Filming in itself is not an easy task, but the goal here is spreading awareness to the masses, documentaries have been able to showcase apart of the planet where even people have not yet been. They inspire us to protect the planet reminding us we are part of it.
The film industry has revolutionised how people are able to understand concepts. The purpose of a niche such as animation is to entertain, create awareness and communicate all at the same time. This niche has seen topics such as how human emotions work, technological advances, pride, sharing, among other human features having been explained in a much easier and fun way. A majority of animation can be watched by children since they contain a language they can understand, unlike documentaries which are sometimes filled with higher level terminologies.
Explaining environmental changes and destructions such as animal trafficking, pollution and deforestation become much easier to understand not only for children but adults alike. As the film industry is part of creating effective awareness among global citizens, let’s look at animations that highlight on environmental issues.
This is a must watch animation for anyone regardless of age. The animation highlights the life of emperor penguins focusing on one particular penguin called Mumble. Mumble is born with an urge to tap dance and not sing a ‘heartsong’ like all other emperor penguins to attract a mate. This peculiar behaviour leads him to wander away from his home in Happy Feet One when the food sources become less for the penguins and other marine and arctic creatures. This leads him to a distant place outside the colony where he meets Lovelace, a Rockhopper Penguin, who is choking from plastic rings of a six-pack. The animation focuses on overfishing caused by humans in the Antarctica which is resulting in pollution and a reduction of the food supply for the Antarctic animals. Other animals appearing in the film are Leopard seals, Adelie Penguins, Magellanic Penguins, Skua and Elephant seals.
Ice age is an amazing animation film franchise which highlights evolution in the most interesting way. The first film focuses on mammals surviving the Palaeolithic Ice Age period. The next films focus on the Meltdown when global temperatures rise for the first time leading to the dinosaur age which is followed by the continental drift with the last series in the franchise being Collision Course.
Though the science may not be as accurate, the film franchise has highlighted the major evolutionary processes that have led to where we are today. The film highlights ancient mammals such as the Woolly mammoth, Saber Tooth Tiger, ground sloth, the saber-tooth squirrel, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Troodon, Guanlong, Baryonyx and Opossum. The film is a reminder that evolution is a natural process.
Rio is a film highlighting the plight of the Spix’s Macaw. Macaws are parrots predominant in South and Central America. The Spix’s Macaw is currently listed as a critically endangered species which is possibly extinct in the wild. This is due to intensive burning, logging, grazing of the caatinga and introduction of invasive species in the early 19th Century. In the 1970s and early 80s, the Spix’s were hunted and trapped.
Rio highlights how exotic birds are smuggled out of South America. The film revolves around Blu who ‘’escaped after the cage he was on fell from a truck. The film follows his life from when he was ‘adopted’ by a little girl, meeting a free female Spix’s macaw to being captured to be smuggled out of the country.
Bee movie focuses on honey harvesting and how bees in the hives are treated poorly. Barry is the star in the film who after realising what is happening to bees in farms decides to sue the human race to put an end to the exploitation of bees.
Barry is set to join the bee workforce but his adventurous and free spirit leads him to wander outside the hive. One day when he goes to collect pollen outside the hive, he gets lost when it starts raining and lands on the balcony of a human florist who saves him from being crushed. The story follows the trial sessions, Barry’s law firm and the interaction between bees and humans.
The Lorax is an amazing film about the importance of trees in the ecosystem. The film is based on Dr Suess’s children book on the same name. The film highlights Thneedville, a walled city, where everything is made of plastic, metal, or synthetics with no living plants. Ted is the main character who strives to find a real tree for his crush, Audrey who is an environmentalist.
In search of a real tree, Ted leaves Thneedvile after his grandmother tells him the legend of Once-ler. Outside the city, the place is deserted, contaminated and has stretches of barren land. When he meets Once-ler, he is told of the story of trees every single time Ted leaves the city to see him. One interesting part of the Lorax is the sale of bottled air since the town is like a bubble which is dependent on artificial air and water after all the trees were cut down in the entire world. The film also highlights the effects of greed on the environment.