This travel-starved, High School Musical loving twenty-something could not resist tuning into Down to Earth with Zac Efron as soon as it became available on Netflix. It was a Saturday and it was raining and it made my entire weekend.
What’s it about?
A hunky Zac Efron, together with lifestyle guru Darin Olien, takes a trip to several locations across the globe to find out more about the innovations people around the world are implementing to promote a more sustainable way of living.
If you’ve never heard of Darin Olien, you are not alone. He is known as a ‘superfood hunter’, popular for discovering a supernut called Barùkas in South America. Years ago, Efron reached out to him after hearing him speak on a podcast and the two became fast friends.
Why it’s worth a watch?
My favourite part of this series is the fact that it is both educational and personal. Efron truly takes you along on the journey, you are not only a bystander, you are along for the ride. It is also not just a plant-based agenda, which is something that I feel a lot of these programmes push. It is a call for sustainability across all industries, across all sectors.
You can expect a fascinating episode on the famous Blue Zone phenomenon, they meet a water sommelier (yes, you read correctly, that is a real job), you’ll get to explore the origins and continued use of the much-talked-about Ayahuasca, and probably the most breathtaking is the very first episode on the implementation of renewable energy in Iceland.
Another aspect I loved was the fact that not all these episodes are set in remote parts of the world where people live off the land to eventually reach a golden age of 100+, blaming urban living for all that is wrong and unjust with the world. There are a few episodes set in urban areas such as New York, Paris and LA, where the officials of those areas are praised for their innovative solutions to real-world problems.
I guess the only question that remains is if we need another privileged Hollywood actor telling us how we should be spending money we don’t have to incorporate sustainable practices into our own lives. In that regard, I found Efron to be humble, down-to-earth (a bit on the nose, ey?), and genuine. Down to Earth with Zac Efron was produced in a way that never underplays his celebrity status, but rather pleads with the audience to see him as more, to respect his efforts and to give yourself the opportunity not to be educated by him but alongside him.
Featured image courtesy of Bustle.
In need of more documentary recommendations? Check out our master list, here.