Films for Inspiring Change

These twelve films will get into your soul. You'll notice some themes: these films are all focused on the power of journeys and values. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather a list of some of the most influential films related to the themes on this website. For some inspiring climbing films, click here. For more environmental films, click here.


Controversy over dams is emotional and heated. Wild rivers are powerful symbols of the wild and central components in their ecosystems. To most environmentalists, dams are the quintessential representation of destroying something wild to promote something artificial, whether it's irrigating the desert or shipping material goods up rivers. After a century of excessive dam building, the tide is turning and dam removal has begun.

Schooling The World

Have you ever questioned the idea that education is good? All over the world, a good Western education is seen as something essential; parents impoverish themselves in order to give their children an education. Where did a standardized education system come from though, and what kind of society does it serve? In Ladakh, India, a remote Tibetan area of the high Himalaya, Western education is now threateneing the future of an entire culture. Click here to see Schooling The World (full film).


Food, Inc.

We all know that as a modern world, most people are distant from their food sources. What does this actually mean for our world though? Who pays the price for cheap, standardized food production? What does this do to our culture? Food, Inc. is one of the most important films of our generation, showing what we support when we purchase food at the supermarket.


180° South

This is the modern American adventure classic. Splitting time between wild places and the developing world of South America, this film delves into the mindset of living for the journey, not the destination. Along the way, the hero explores sustainability in the developing world, collapse of past civilazations, and some of the largest and most innovative conservation efforts on the continent.


Director Roko Belic takes you on a journey around the world to answer the question, "what makes us happy?" He weaves together personal stories from the happiest places on Earth and interviews with psychologists to make a fun exploration into one of life's central emotions.


A non-verbal narrative film exploring humankind's relationships with nature and technology. If you like this film, check out Baraka (1992), Koyaanisqatsi (1983), and Chronos (1985) by the same filmmakers.

How Wolves Change Rivers: Interconnectedness in Nature

As we begin to understand the interconnectedness of the modern world, the ecosystem of the Northern Rockies in the United States has been one of our primary sources of learning. The grey wolf was exterminated there in the early 1900's and the ecosystem began to fall apart. All life suffered from the largest elk and grizzly bears to the insects, fish, and grasses. When wolves were reintroduced in 1995, that change reversed in just a matter of years. For more history on this, read Aldo Leopold's essay "Thinking Like a Mountain", published in 1945.  

The Motorcycle Diaries

A true adventure of the soul. Che Guevara embarks on a motorcycle journey across South America and is transformed by the experience, the landscape, and the people. "Let the world change you and you can change the world."

Magic Trip

Have you ever wondered what sparked the cultural revolutions of the 1960's and 1970's? Born of the Beat Generation, LSD, and 1950's America, this is one wild trip with far-reaching impacts. If you're interested in this movie, you'll love this series on youtube focused on cultural revolution: Making Sense of the Sixties.

I Am

A light exploration of where society is headed and the power of human-centered values. Director Tom Shadyac pulls off a fun movie without getting cheesy about love and compassion.

If A Tree Falls

"When you're screaming at the top of your lungs and nobody hears you, what are you supposed to do?" Tired of the wealthy few destroying the environment for profit, members of Earth First! in the Pacific Northwest developed a militant wing to try and get their message heard. Inspired by Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang, these controversial "eco-terrorists" took on new means of trying to defend the world they loved.

A Fierce Green Fire

An artful and personal history of the environmental movement, centering on North America. Great perspective of where we came from and all the work that we still need to do. Essential education for young environmentalists.

Into The Wild

In the early 1990's, Chris McCandless left his life of privilege to experience something raw and wild. His story became an inspiration for young people who disagreed with mainstream values. Adapted from Jon Krakauer's book by the same title. "If you want something in life, reach out and grab it."

Seven Years In Tibet

Adventure, compassion, and the history of one of the world's great spiritual leaders.