For many, saving the environment is much like saving for retirement: it’s generally acknowledged as important, but tends to be a second-order priority behind politics, business, and the day-to-day hassles of everyday life.
We understand that beef farming is bad for the atmosphere and that it’s cruel to animals, but we like eating cheeseburgers and ribeye steak too much to stop. We know that driving petrol and diesel cars pollutes the air, but we don’t want to add another 20 minutes to our commute.
The point of all this isn’t to make anyone feel bad. It’s simply to illustrate that getting anyone to care about ecological issues in a non-superficial way is extremely challenging.
If the last decade of climate change debate has proven anything, it’s that throwing facts and statistics at people doesn’t work. Here’s where video can help – it can convey important information in a visually engaging way, make dry material interesting, and crucially, it takes up less of the viewer’s time than independently researching issues themselves.
As a video production company that values sustainability, we love environmental videos that send a strong, clear message in a creative way. With this in mind, here are a few of our favourites.
Why is natural gas bad for the climate? – Global Witness
This very pretty animated explainer does a good job of briefly setting the context around the issue of natural (or fossil) gas. The messaging is a little heavy on the problem, rather than the solution. But, with engaging visuals and subtle sound design, it clearly sets out why we can’t keep relying on gas as part of a climate positive future.
Wasteminster: A Downing Street Disaster
The UK exports 1.8 million kilograms of plastic waste to other countries. Every. Single. Day. What if we could see that volume of plastic waste raining down on Downing Street?
This Greenpeace short starts off as a satirical, model village-style Downing Street press conference, featuring former PM Boris Johnson. The tone, waffling script and even the model-making style are clearly poking fun at his (and his government’s – note Gove’s cameo) incompetence, specifically around environmental issues. But it’s the visual and audio tsunami that makes you catch your breath and take heed of Greenpeace’s clear call to action: get angry, get clued up and share the message around plastic pollution.
Demain (Tomorrow) – Melanie Laurent
Ok, so this is actually a trailer to a feature length film. But if we can implore you to watch one environmental movie this month that will truly motivate you to create change, it’s this one.
Equal parts inspiring and uplifting, this beautifully shot documentary was made by a small French team who travelled the globe to capture stories of positive pioneers. Each character they meet along the way is working to make the world a better place in their own small (or not so small) way.
Migrants – PÔLE 3D Digital & Creative School
It really isn’t about polar bears anymore. In this case though, a group of young creatives effectively use these cute creatures to portray a devastating message around climate change and refugees. The film’s 3D animation style is visually stunning, incorporating handcrafted stop-motion and a bold palette of colours and textures. With a simple approach to storytelling that avoids preaching, this beautiful short delivers a quietly heartbreaking ending.
For the Bees – Chloe Fitzmaurice
“We could learn a lot from bees… how to be humble… generous… hardworking… deal with one another in society”. Sometimes, a single-person narrative can be a powerful way to give an impactful snapshot of a much bigger picture. This 16-minute, award-winning documentary tells the story of Khaled, a Yemeni beekeeper living in California, who really loves bees. But this film is about so much more than honey – it tells a story of humanity, community, tradition and the fragility of our global environment.
Polluters and Plunderers: The Roots of Africa’s Crises – WoMin African Alliance
We love the illustrative stop-motion style of this short animation, which is part of a series addressing a range of interconnected crises across the African continent. The video uses a dramatic soundtrack and sound design to simply narrate the disruption and destruction of communities across Africa, from colonialisation right through to contemporary neoliberal capitalism. Importantly, the film ends on a strong note of resistance, with a clear call to action.
World Pangolin Day – UN Environment
The first half of this video explains what a pangolin is and why they are so unique, featuring some great footage of a baby pangolin snuggling up to its mum. But in the second half, it abruptly and purposefully changes the tone.
You see, there’s demand for the flesh, scales, and even foetuses of these creatures – to the point where a million are stolen illegally every year. The video shows pangolins trapped in nets, peeking out of boxes, and generally struggling and suffering, in agonising close up shots.
In a little under one minute, you go from not knowing what a pangolin is to desperately wanting to protect as many of them as possible.
Rang-tan – Greenpeace and Iceland
This video from Greenpeace and Iceland is conceptually impressive: the cutesy, hand-drawn animation provides instant, distinctive visual style, and the rhyming, children’s-book nature of the script supplies an ironic counterpoint to the horrors of palm oil manufacture, which is destroying the natural habitat of orangutans. It has great production values and a strong message.
Of course, it also helps that it got banned. This resulted in widespread media coverage above and beyond what it would have gotten through a conventional airing. Under the right circumstances, voicing a strong opinion in your video can pay off. A good video production company will help guide your messaging, so that your video achieves its aims.