Sometimes, all it takes to tip us over the edge on an issue is a compelling story. If done well, documentaries combine in-depth research with personal stories and striking visuals, to reveal something otherwise hidden from view.

It’s not unusual for people to change their behaviour after watching a doco that struck a chord. Whether you’re looking to learn more about a particular environmental issue, or enlighten an unacquainted friend to something important to you, a good film never goes astray.

We’ve scoured the best in environmentally-focused docos screening in venues around Sydney, or in your very own lounge room.

1. How to let go of the world and love all the things climate can’t change

At Hayden Orpheum Cremorne as part of Transitions Film Festival (9 – 24 March)

From the director of the Oscar-nominated film Gasland comes a personal rumination on the greatest thread our world has ever known. Made in Josh Fox’ powerful personal style, the environmental film expert asks if there’s anything climate change can’t destroy.

Also catch: Power to Change, which captures the daily struggles of activists, entrepreneurs, sceptics and critics in the fight for Germany’s energy future and RiverBlue, which tracks the disastrous impact of the fashion industry.

2. Lights out for the reef

On earthhour.org.au

You’re probably no stranger to Earth Hour, the major WWF annual event that asks people and businesses to switch off their lights for an hour. This year, this once-grassroots Aussie project, now a global movement, celebrates 10 years of hard work. They’ve produced a 23-minute doco that explains the impact of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef. Watch now and don’t forget to get involved in Earth Hour on 25 March from 8.30pm to 9.30pm.

3. Tomorrow

At various Palace cinemas around Sydney as part of Alliance Française French Film Festival (7 – 30 March)

Beloved French actor-filmmaker Mélanie Laurent and ecological rights advocate Cyril Dion visit 10 countries around the world to explore what is being done to counteract an impending catastrophe: the impending demise of the human race, as predicted by a 2012 study.

4. Gardening with soul

Via a documentary and indie database, available for free for all City of Sydney library members

This lovely film spends a year in the garden with 90-year-old Sister Loyola Galvin, who will inspire you with her faith, compassion, community spirit and knowledge of the importance of compost.

5. The end of the line

On SBS on Demand

Get an insight into the devastating effects of overfishing, including the impacts on blue fin tuna on the brink of extinction, the role of the growing Western demand of sushi and the overpopulation of jellyfish.

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