Sometimes newspaper articles, scientific journal articles or non-profit reports may not spark the same emotions that real life images and footage does.
Here’s our list of eight environmental documentaries that you can find online to watch to learn more about our planet and environment, what’s happening to it and how we’ve been trying to save it.
1. Chasing Ice (2012)
This Emmy winning documentary uses time-lapse cameras to capture melting glaciers around the world to help convey the effects of global warming. As a previous climate change skeptic, James Balog was convinced after seeing the effects of climate change by his own eyes, in the documentary he clearly states:
‘The public does not want to hear about more statistical studies, more computer models, more projections. What they need is a believable, understandable piece of visual evidence.’
2. More than Honey (2013)
A topic that really needed more coverage was the dying bee population – depending on the region, bee populations have decreased by 50-90%. This may sound irrelevant to us humans but it is not. 80% of plant species need to be pollinated by bees, but without bees this does not happen, leaving us with less plants and fruit. In this documentary, Markus Imhoof explores the many reasons behind this decrease and potential solutions.
3. Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (2014)
By now, most of us are aware that every single piece of plastic we have ever used is still existing somewhere on this Earth – whether it be in landfill, the ocean or in other waterways. This documentary shows us where a lot of it ends up and its effects on our wildlife and us humans.
4. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (2015)
Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a must watch for those paying attention to your diet. It explains animal agriculture’s link to climate change and tries to uncover why so many environmental organisations at the time were not addressing the issue. While it does say that any environmentalist that does not follow a vegan diet is not a ‘real’ environmentalist is.
It was produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson and Appian Way Productions.
5. Before the Flood (2016)
Narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Fisher Stevens, Before the Flood, It’s the result of a three year journey and interviews with key experts in the science community and politicians. According to DiCaprio, “This documentary shows how interconnected the fate of all humanity is — but also the power we all possess as individuals to build a better future for our planet.”
6. A Plastic Ocean (2016)
Directed by the Australian journalist Craig Leeson, A Plastic Ocean explores the truth about plastics – it never decomposes, it simply breaks down into small micro-plastics over time. This documentary explains the devastating impacts that plastic has on our marine life as well as human health. As said by their website:
‘A Plastic Ocean documents the newest science, proving how plastics, once they enter the oceans, break up into small particulates that enter the food chain where they attract toxins like a magnet. These toxins are stored in seafood’s fatty tissues, and eventually consumed by us.’
7. Chasing Coral (2017)
This time, rather than ‘Chasing Ice’ we are chasing coral. Time lapse videos set up off the coast of Caribbean islands, Hawaii and Australia, which can be seen degrading. The film presents a scientific breakdown of what coral is and its purpose in the ocean and what exactly has been killing it – our warming oceans.
See their website here.
8. Our Planet (2019)
The most recent one on our list, and narrated by David Attenborough, this captivating 8 episode documentary series takes us on a journey that reminds us of how beautiful our Earth and it’s inhabitants are. It also examines how climate change impacts all living creatures from all biomes.
Check out the website here.