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Want to feel inspired about our environment? Watch these five short films

Jess Gormley and Ekaterina Ochagavia

Over the last SIX MONTHS, the Guardian Documentaries team followed environment editor Fiona Harvey on the road from Cop26 to Cop27 for our recent film, Climate carnage, and one theme stood out: that the climate crisis cannot be solved by Cop negotiations alone, but instead requires local action on the ground; individuals and communities, changing the way we live and influencing those around them.

After a disappointing Cop27, this week we reflect on some of the inspiring stories and characters from our archive. Tackling local-level climate stories from across the world with conviction and innovation, these short documentaries range from the story of an emboldened child activist living off grid to an indigenous community escaping the pandemic through a retreat into nature.

The films below spotlight characters old and young, across several continents, with an intimate understanding of what’s at stake. They are an important reminder of the individual’s power to affect change. We hope you enjoy them.


What’s it about? Eve is the intimate story of a nine-year old girl living in one of the oldest off-grid communities in the UK, Tinker’s Bubble. A fledgling climate activist, we follow her as she navigates her way back into traditional schooling after a moving off-grid and proudly standing up for what she believes in: the environment. Watch Eve here.

How long is it? 21 minutes

The Return

What’s it about? A family reconnects with the Amazon as Covid threatens their village. While millions of people around the world go into lockdown amid the coronavirus crisis, a family in the Ecuadorian Amazon opts to move deeper into the relative safety of the jungle. As they reconnect with dormant ancestral knowledge, away from the distractions of modern life, their affinity with nature begins to flourish. As news spreads that Ecuador might lift lockdown soon, will the family stay? Watch The Return here.

How long is it? 17 minutes

The Wolf Dividing Norway

What’s it about? Few things create a more heated debate in Norway than the wolf. For decades it has split up political parties, families and communities. It divides the big city and the rural parts of Norway, sheep farmers against conservationists. Norway has also received sharp criticism from environmental organisations across the world for how it handles its tiny population of critically endangered wolves. In this documentary, we take a deep dive into the conflict that this debate has created. Watch The Wolf Dividing Norway here.

How long is it? 29 minutes

Sam and the Plant Next Door

What’s it about? Sam, 11, is always being told not to worry about the nuclear power plant rising next door, but for him there is lots to think about. Hinkley Point C will be Britain’s largest nuclear plant, and it’s only two miles away. Most of his classmates expect to work at the plant but Sam is determined to escape that fate. His dream is to protect the surrounding marine life. Like the fish, he feels unappreciated by the adults. Watch Sam and the Plant Next Door here.

How long is it? 23 minutes

Lady of the Gobi

What’s it about? On Mongolia’s coal mining highway, Maikhuu dreams of a better life and financial security for her family. The more she drives her truck up and down this perilous highway the more she realises she is working for the very industry that is destroying Mongolians’ land-based livelihoods, and forcing many into the highway industry. The road is riddled with accidents, toxic pollution, poor hygiene and corruption, and she is left wondering if the financial gain is worth the cost. Watch Lady of the Gobi here.

How long is it? 25 minutes

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