It provides a platform for viewers to connect with the organisations involved to make a difference in the stories they watch.
WaterBear hosts content “dedicated to the future of our planet”. This includes dives into specific natural wonders, looks at the policy and actions that have led to current climate issues, stories of human determination, and insights into global food production.
Their content ranges from short, ten-minute bites to feature-length length films. Some of its stories will be familiar and relatively tired for those who have watched enough mini-docs about surfers saving the ocean.
But the array of different production companies and scales of storytelling make many opportunities to find something new.
WaterBear really shines as a platform to host content from small publishers or ambitious individuals. While the user-generated revolution spearheaded by YouTube and its like has done wonders for democratising the reach of filmmakers, it can be difficult to rummage through the endless internet to find gems.
There are plenty of breath-taking shots of wildlife and nature, as is to be expected from these genres. But more refreshing is small-scale and lower-budget pieces centred on people’s lives, many of which have polished, intimate cinematography.
The lenses take their time to zoom in on stories of teens losing their homes to rising tides, child musicians emerging from slums and determined high school robotics teams.
But as any savvy person should be wondering, how then is the service made free to use? WaterBear is funded by the companies and NGOs behind some of their content, giving them a platform to tell their story and connect them with people around the world for volunteering, donations, and eco-tourism.
There are fantastic films on the platform, all dedicated to the worthwhile goal of a sustainable human-nature ecosystem, many of which come from small filmmakers. However, one must always be aware of the financial incentives behind these kinds of endeavours.
Be mindful of the narratives being spun for you by beautiful slow-motion animals and uplifting campaigns when it’s unclear how much is good-faith activism and how much is NGO advertising or corporate green-washing.