Cydnie Golson, UVA Office for Sustainability Student Employee

This year has been tough for us all, for so many reasons. With this in mind, we sought to compile a list of hope-inspiring documentaries, podcasts, and books to keep us looking towards a better, more sustainable future even in the light of so many challenges. 



  • Fools & Dreamers: Regenerating a Native Forest (2019) 
    • This 30-minute documentary tells the story of Hugh Wilson, a biologist on a mission to restore some of New Zealand’s Hinewai Nature Reserve to its native splendor. His unconventional methods generated many skeptics, yet worked faster to restore the land than could have been imagined. The film inspires you to take the path less travelled, regardless of pushback from those following conventional methods, if the possible end is a healthier planet. 
  • The Biggest Little Farm (2018) 
    • This film chronicles the eight-year quest of John and Molly Chester as they trade city living for 200 acres of barren farmland and a dream to harvest in harmony with nature. The work is described as uplifting and brings hope to second beginnings, particularly ways to reconnect with the ground that provides for us. 
  • Tomorrow (2015)
    • In this uplifting work, Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent depict the ways that local communities and people around the world are reimagining agriculture, energy, economy, education, and governance. They seek real-life solutions to the climate crisis that will leave one feeling surrounded by a caring, hard-working community of environmental activists. 
  • Kiss the Ground (2020)
    • A cross-disciplinary team of scientists, politicians, activists, and farmers come together to describe Regenerative Agriculture, a global movement with promise to rebalance our climate and food and water supplies. 
  • Waterschool (2018)
    • An uplifting story about an educational program funded by Swarovski to empower girls across the world to educate their peers about water use and conservation. 



  • TED Radio Hour: Climate Mindset 
    • Hear about ideas for how humanity may respond to the climate crisis after responding to a global health crisis, COVID-19. In this piece, climate action is compared to the motion of water within an ocean. Listen to one particularly involved individual describe the longer-term current of this ocean as heading towards a brighter, more sustainable future. Low and high tides may exist temporarily in decarbonization efforts, but they ultimately do not represent the overall path of our global society in addressing this existential threat. 
  • Inherited: The Young and the Naive
    • Youth across the globe have become involved in the movement to convince their politicians to protect their futures. This is the story of the youth activists behind the Sunrise Movement and their first major breakthrough, a sit-in in Nancy Pelosi’s office. The story is told from six different activists there that day. 
  • How to Save a Planet: 20 Million Trees
    • Get new ideas about who can become a climate activist by learning about the efforts of one youtuber - MrBeast. 



  • Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future, by Mary Robinson 
    • Follow Mary Robinson on her journey to depict how social and economic injustices must first be solved in order to address climate change. Leave feeling armed with knowledge about how a better, more just world can be attained. 
  • Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses and Citizens Can Save the Planet, by Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope
    • Many of the solutions to climate change could bring about immense prosperity to humanity. Beyond the narrative of sacrifice, Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope describe how the benefits of taking climate change action are “concrete, immediate, and immense.”