Watch These 9 Documentaries to Get Inspire to Live Your Best Civic Life

Since a big part of being civically engaged is being informed, we’re offering nine interesting, must-see documentaries that will educate, inspire and stay with you as you continue on your own journey to make the world a better place.

9 documentaries to activate the points of light civic circle graphic

Points of Light regularly explores ways you can lead a more civically engaged life, from volunteering to donating to using your purchase power wisely.  

The Points of Light Civic Circle is a framework that was designed to help individuals connect to opportunities and understand that doing good comes in many forms. The Civic Circle represents your unique power as an individual or organization to lead, lend support and take action for causes you care about. 

Since a big part of being civically engaged is being informed, we’re offering nine interesting, must-see documentaries that will educate, inspire and stay with you as you continue on your own journey to make the world a better place.

Note: As these documentaries are capturing real situations and circumstances from across the globe, viewers may find some scenes to be graphic or disturbing. Parents and caregivers, we recommend being mindful to screen these films first before showing them to children.

Donate: Poverty, Inc.

This incredible documentary has won more than 60 international film festival honors. It challenges each of us to consider whether what we’re contributing could actually be part of a big problem that has developed in the world of philanthropy. With over 200 interviews filmed in 20 countries, the film will empower you to donate your dollars, goods and time more consciously.

Listen & Learn: The Social Dilemma 

When this film was released on Netflix, it became one of the most-viewed documentaries the streaming network had seen. In a world where many people are receiving the bulk of their information via social media, which, unlike credible news media or peer-reviewed publications, isn’t vetted by experts. This film gives some great insight into how this phenomenon is shaping public opinion.

Purchase Power: The True Cost

Fashion can be a fun and unique way to express oneself, but “fast fashion” has devastated many critical cause areas, including the environment and workers’ rights. This film documents the lives of real people around the world living in poverty and war-torn areas, who make clothes for the world’s fashion. It will have you thinking twice about doing your research on clothing brands you support and how to spend your dollar in a way that supports sustainable fashion.

Service: A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps 

This film, narrated by Annette Bening, has garnered accolades too numerous to count. It dives into the nearly six decades of the trials and transformations of this agency through stories from its incredible host country nationals, Peace Corps Volunteers and staff, as well as scholars and journalists.

Social Entrepreneur: The New Breed 

This fascinating documentary will not only help you understand the concept of social entrepreneurship but also follows the journeys of three Millennial changemakers who are prioritizing meaning and purpose above financial considerations. You’ll finish this film feeling inspired by how entrepreneurial-minded people are using their skills to find creative ways to solve some of the world’s toughest issues.

Vote: John Lewis: Good Trouble 

Tune into this intimate account of legendary U.S. Representative John Lewis, following his life, legacy and more than 60 years of extraordinary activism, from the bold teenager on the front lines of the Civil Rights movement to the legislative powerhouse he was throughout his career. 

It will leave you feeling empowered in your right to vote in every eligible election and championing the right for all people to vote.

Voice: I Am Greta 

When it comes to the power of one voice to make an impact on an issue or cause area, perhaps few modern people come to mind as vividly as Greta Thunberg. This compelling documentary follows the teenage climate activist from Sweden on her international crusade to get people to listen to scientists about the world’s environmental problems.

Volunteer: The Voluntourist

Volunteers share their time and talent with organizations working to advance the causes they care about. Volunteering is one of the best ways you can directly support the solutions to any issues that you’re passionate about, but volunteering comes with responsibility too. This documentary illuminates the impact of international volunteering on local communities. If you’re interested in volunteering overseas, you’ll want to watch this first so that you can plan to do so consciously.

Work: Real Value

Who says that businesses and their employees can’t use their for-profit work as a way to change the world for the better? Real Value is an award-winning economics documentary that interviews top leaders in the world of agriculture, apparel, insurance and biofuel. This inspiring look at what happens when businesses value the planet and its people in the same way as its profit will leave you both informed and inspired to make change in your own workplace and want to support socially-minded businesses too.

With nine documentaries highlighting nine different ways to lead a civically engaged life, we know you’ll find one that speaks to your specific passions and interests. Once you’ve watched, tag us on social media to share your favorite, and use your new education as empowerment to get moving on the issues you care about.

This post is part of a series that highlights the many ways you can activate the Points of Light Civic Circle using various tools. Check out our last feature that focuses on nine social justice apps that will help you become more engaged today and every day.

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