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LifestyleColumnistsJessica Damiano

Sustainability documentaries that may change your life

Actor Don Cheadle, right, learns about groundwater supply

Actor Don Cheadle, right, learns about groundwater supply in "Years of Living Dangerously." Credit: National Geographic Channel

Whether you’re looking for inspiration and guidance or simply want to learn more about the planet we call home, these fascinating films are sure to get you thinking, and may even get you moving.

“Dirt! The Movie” (2009; available to stream on Amazon Video, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play and Vudu)

Most of us take the soil under our feet for granted, but the truth is there would be no life without it. From showing us how it forms, what it needs and how alive it actually is, this documentary, narrated by Jamie Lee Curtis, will ensure you never look at dirt the same way.

“Years of Living Dangerously” (2014; streaming on, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu and Amazon Video)

From an all-star cast both behind and in front of the camera comes this Emmy Award-winning series that provides an in-depth look at climate change. In this beautiful and informative Showtime (season 1) and National Geographic Channel docudrama, produced by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Weintraub, celebrities and journalists including Harrison Ford, Don Cheadle, David Letterman, Sigourney Weaver, Gisele Bündchen, Jack Black, America Ferrara and Chris Hayes report on global events such as superstorm Sandy and mass extinctions, probe their causes and investigate potential solutions.

“No Impact Man”(2009; streaming on Amazon Video, YouTube and Google Play)

Author Colin Beavan documents his family’s 2006 journey, as he takes his wife, 2-year-old daughter and dog on a yearlong mission to live off-the-grid in Greenwich Village. This means no electricity, mass transit or toilet paper, pushback from a coffee-deprived wife, and a very watchable film.

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