It's Earth Day and what better way to celebrate than indulging in some riveting films that expose the wonders and beauties of this planet, while teaching us about the challenges we face and what we can do to help protect and preserve it!
While documentaries may not be your go-to movie genre, we have compiled a list of some of our favourite environmental-related films that will not disappoint the average movie lover. Documentaries have slowly become my go-to when I find myself browsing through Netflix trying to decide what to watch. There is so much valuable information and spectacular footage in these films that I'm often left in awe of how beautiful this planet really is. My list of 'places to see before I die' is gradually getting bigger and bigger.
So if you're in the mood to stay in and get comfy, here is a list of our most recommended films to watch this Earth Day (and every day after that):
Before the Flood - Produced by the one and only Leonardo DiCaprio! I've watched this film 3 times now and consider it one of my favourites. Leo travels across the globe and looks at the major threats climate change is posing on humans and the environment. It is my top most recommended documentary for someone looking to understand climate change and how it impacts us on a global scale.
Chasing Coral - Corals might just be the coolest living organism out there (just sayin'!). Chasing Coral follows a team of divers and scientists who capture a very real and fascinating phenomenon: coral bleaching (also the biggest threat to coral reefs today). In the past 30 years, we've lost 50% of coral reefs in the oceans. Not only does this impact ocean wildlife, but also humans who rely on them for food and resources.
Minimalism - A documentary about the important things. This film follows minimalists at all stages of life who discuss how living with less has impacted their life. They show us how living with less, is really more.
The True Cost - Looks at the behind-the-scenes of the fast fashion industry. Where our clothes come from, who makes them, and the impacts the fashion industry has on humans and the environment. Pretty surreal and emotional, but definitely insightful and well worth a watch.
The Game Changers - This film follows the stories of pro-athletes and how switching to a plant-based diet improved their performance...gold medal Olympians, body builders, wrestlers, sports teams, and marathon runners. Seriously, everyone can benefit from watching this film. It's a must see!!!
Cowspiracy - The Sustainability Secret. This doc follows a filmmaker and environmental activist as he uncovers one of the biggest threats our planet faces today. Through his journey, you'll learn about the impacts animal agriculture and factory farming have on the environment and what immediate actions we can take to address this.
Mission Blue - Follows the life and work of Dr. Sylvia Earle, an oceanographer, marine biologist, and environmental activist. Not to mention, she broke the record for deepest dive at a depth of 1250 ft! The film looks at the impacts human activity has on the ocean including over-fishing, oil extraction and mining, and toxic waste. Sylvia has spent her life exploring the ocean, and has witnessed its rapid decline first-hand. An important film to watch!
JANE - The story of Jane Goodall. It is composed of never-before seen footage of Jane's life in Tanzania where she began her research on chimpanzees, humankind's closest living relatives! The documentary also focuses on her relationship with her cameraman and husband Hugo van Lawick, and includes some unreal footage of their time spent on the Serengeti. It basically made me want to pack up my life, move to Africa, and live in the wild.
Documentaries are a thoughtful and compelling way for us to learn and understand how we can make positive changes to help our planet. I have learned so much from watching these films.
As Dr. Sylvia Earle once said:
“Knowing is the key to caring, and with caring there is hope that people will be motivated to take positive actions. They might not care even if they know, but they can’t care if they are unaware.”
There are so many more films out there that we have yet to see. So if some of your favourites didn't make the list, let us know in the comments which ones we're missing out on!
Happy Earth Day!