I’ve got documentaries on the brain. Not surprisingly, given that our local-to-Chicagoland One Earth Film Festival just ended. But do not despair if you missed it because they have an Earth Day Mini Film Fest happening from April 19–23. There are opportunities to view films virtually or in-person. We’re so lucky to have this organization in our community.

Just in case you’ve never heard of the festival, here is a bit more about them: One Earth Film Festival is the Midwest’s premier environmental film festival, creating opportunities for understanding climate change, sustainability and the power of people. It showcases top-issue, thought-provoking environmental films, leads audiences in interactive post-film discussions focused on solutions, and offers concrete actions people can take. One Earth Film Festival is a production of One Earth Collective.

Collective Resource Compost has participated at many in-person screenings as what they call an action partner—a local organization or business working on the issues presented in the film.

This year, we were an action partner in Park Ridge at a screening of Going Circular, a documentary about the circular economy. I was talking to a woman who reminded me that we had met at a previous One Earth Film Fest screening in Park Ridge of UseLess: documentary about food and fashion waste. She said it changed her life.

A different documentary changed my life: Forks Over Knives. It made me give up eating meat once and for all. Good for me, good for the planet.

Wasted! The Story of Food Waste

Recently, I was invited to moderate a discussion following a screening at Arlington Heights Memorial Library for the documentary Wasted! the story of food waste. It’s part of their Wider Lens series. I’ve seen it several times, but each time I see it, something new pops out for me and captures my imagination. This time it was the segment about a company in Japan converting food waste into food for pigs. It’s not too much of a spoiler to tell you that it’s always delighted me that the EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy is featured in it. I encourage you to invite friends and family over, watch it together and discuss it afterwards. Maybe to celebrate Earth Day? One way you can stream it is through Amazon Prime.

Here are the questions I’m planning to ask that can be applied to most documentaries.

How did this documentary make you feel? You could offer the following possibilities but then ask if there were any others. Inspired, Depressed, Confused, Hopeful, Guilty? Any others?

What segments stood out to you? Why? What is your reaction to them?

There was a lot of data presented in this film. Any statistics that stood out to you?

Did anything surprise you in the film?

Call to Action. Is there something you’re going to consider doing differently because of watching this film?

Access to Documentaries

We’re at a very good time in history for watching documentaries. There are so many ways to access them. Green Planet Films, a non-profit distributor of nature, environment and human ecology films has a relationship with Amazon called Green Planet Stream. Their mission is to disseminate, exhibit and discuss educational documentary motion pictures with academic institutions, businesses and the public. Through your library card you may have access to Hoopla for free movie screening. There are also a lot of documentaries on the Curiosity Stream. Just this week I learned about this streaming service: WaterBear. How and where have you viewed documentaries?

Documentaries about Soil and Waste

I went down a rabbit hole trying to figure out when I had first seen Wasted! I thought maybe it was at a One Earth Film Fest. I gave up that search but wanted to direct you to the archive they have of all the films they’ve shown in previous years. Here are just a few you might be interested in: Dirt! The Movie, For the Price of a Cup of Coffee, Let’s Talk About Soil, The Soil Solution, and Trashed.

We’d be very interested to hear if a documentary has changed your life.

Author Details
Zero Waste Consultant | Collective Resource, Inc.

Mary Beth strongly believes that, “It’s always better to be doing something rather than nothing.” If you’re thinking of composting at home, she can help you work out what your particular “something” can be.

She’s confident a solution can be tailored to fit anyone’s needs and ambitions. “Anyone who eats can be a CRI customer, whether you are an individual or a large organization. I want you to understand the advantages of composting, and I can show you how CRI can make it easy.” Mary Beth has successfully designed waste diversion strategies for individuals, schools, houses of worship and other communities. She’s received the governor’s Environmental Hero award for her work at her daughter’s school. Whether you’re starting with a backyard bin, a kitchen bucket, a worm farm, or large-scale commercial collection, Mary Beth can be your good-natured guide.