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YumeTwins Kawaii Culture BlogNausicaä of the Valley of the Wind: Ghibli Movies About the Environment!

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind: Ghibli Movies About the Environment!

By James Lau
July 11, 2024
A scene from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, where Princess Nausicaä is riding on a glider.

The environment is one of the themes most frequently seen in Studio Ghibli movies. Since Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind was released, the studio has carefully included environmental themes in their stories, teaching children and fans how to build a better relationship with nature!

Studio Ghibli is famous for its enchanting films, many exploring the relationship between humans and nature. From one of their earliest movies, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, they’ve shown the importance of nature and our complicated relationship with it. Some of these movies show us how we can protect nature while also showing how we hurt it. Let’s look at five Ghibli movies that show the importance of nature!

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is set in a world where toxic jungles and giant insects can be found worldwide. The main character, Nausicaä, is a princess of a small, peaceful valley, and she discovers that these toxic forests are purifying the earth from pollution. Nausicaä’s journey is to understand these misunderstood environments while protecting her loved ones and trying to bring peace between humans and nature.

A scene from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.
This movie takes place in a post-nuclear world. Image via Character Design References

Generally, this film strongly focuses on environmentalism. It shows the consequences of human actions on nature and encourages peaceful living. Nausicaä’s respect for all living things shows the importance of preserving the environment. The movie also highlights the need for humanity to learn from past mistakes and work together to live in harmony with nature.

Castle in the Sky

Castle in the Sky follows Sheeta and Pazu, two children who embark on an adventure to find a legendary floating city, Laputa. It is a beautiful but dangerous place with advanced technology and beautiful nature. The two children keep each other safe as pirates, and the government chases them before they land on Laputa. As they uncover its secrets, they learn about the destructive potential of technology when used irresponsibly.

The two main characters from "Castle in the Sky" riding in a steampunk airplane.
“Castle in the Sky” falls under the steampunk genre. Image via Reactor Mag

The movie’s theme focuses on the harmony between technology and nature. The film suggests that advancements should not come at the cost of nature. It also supports a balance where both can exist without causing harm to each other. By showcasing the two sides of Laputa, the movie causes us to think about the problems of technological growth and the importance of preserving the beauty of nature.

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My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro tells the story of two sisters, Satsuki and Mei, who move to the countryside and discover the gentle forest spirit Totoro. Their interactions with Totoro and other woodland spirits help them connect with nature. The film shows childhood innocence and wonder while emphasizing nature’s importance in our lives. Moreover, it portrays the countryside as a place of peace and magic, where the simple joys of life are celebrated.

A scene from My Neighbor Totoro. He is in a meadow with the two main protagonists.
This movie is about making friends with protective spirits. Image via Conde Nast Traveler

This movie beautifully reflects childhood innocence and wonder, emphasizing nature’s importance. It encourages viewers to appreciate the natural world and the simple joys it brings. The characters’ connection with nature reminds viewers of the joy and peace that can be found in the natural world. Overall, My Neighbor Totoro is a heartwarming tale that inspires children and adults to cherish and protect the environment.

Spirited Away

Spirited Away follows Chihiro, a young girl trapped in a mystical world of spirits who must work in a bathhouse to find a way home. Along her journey, she encounters various spirits representing different aspects of nature, including a river spirit polluted by human waste. Chihiro transforms from a frightened girl to a courageous and compassionate young woman throughout the movie as she faces her fears!

Chihiro and Haku in a field together. Haku is offering Chihiro some rice balls. This is a scene from "Spirited Away".
“Spirited Away” touches on honoring the spirits around you. Image via Game Rant

The movie’s environmental themes highlight the negative impacts of pollution and the importance of respecting nature. In particular, the scene with the polluted river spirit shows just how much junk humans have thrown into the waters without caring about the effects. The central theme is that human actions have environmental consequences and that a respectful relationship with nature is essential.


Ponyo is about a young goldfish who longs to become human after befriending a boy named Sosuke. As Ponyo uses magic to transform, it causes an imbalance in the natural world, leading to chaotic weather and rising sea levels. Ponyo’s determination and Sosuke’s unwavering friendship show love and perseverance in the face of adversity.

Ponyo and Sasuke on a boat.
Ponyo is about making friends with the sea! Image via Cartoon Motion

This film addresses the delicate balance of ecosystems and the impact of human actions on the environment. It also emphasizes the power of love and friendship in restoring harmony. Ponyo encourages viewers to consider the consequences of their actions on the planet. The film’s message is delivered through a captivating narrative that appeals to audiences of all ages.

Why should I watch these movies?

Studio Ghibli movies carry important messages about our relationship with the environment. Each film shows the beauty of nature and the need to protect it. Viewers gain an appreciation for nature and become inspired to preserve it. The films also offer great storytelling, memorable characters, and beautiful animation, making them a joy to watch. They are perfect for family viewing, providing both entertainment and education.

My Neighbor Totoro environment. It's lush and green similar to Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.
What’s your favorite environmental studies movie? Image via Ekostories

In addition to their environmental themes, Studio Ghibli films explore various human experiences and emotions. They remind us of the connection of all life and the importance of living in harmony with nature. Whether you are a longtime fan or new to Ghibli movies, these films tell us to look at the world with wonder and respect, encouraging us to have a better relationship with the planet.

Studio Ghibli films like Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Ponyo are stories that remind us of the importance of nature and our role in protecting it. The next time you’re looking for a movie, consider one of these Ghibli classics! Have you ever watched one of these movies? Which one was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

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