We don’t mean to sound alarmist, but the environment is in pretty bad shape these days. The climate is changing in destructive ways, pollution is overtaking us, resources are running low, and entire habitats are being destroyed. With Earth Day 2023 just around the corner, it’s more important than ever for us to understand the gravity of these problems, and these Earth Day documentaries offer a rare and illuminating insight into the plights now facing our planet.
The best documentaries to watch on Earth Day:
These eight documentaries highlight some of the most important environmental issues of our day, making them the perfect thing to get yourself educated before this coming Earth Day arrives on April 22.
'Greta Thunberg: A Year to Change the World'
Greta Thunberg has become the preeminent voice in the modern fight against climate change. This three-part documentary series chronicles the young activist's worldwide journey to study the effects of climate change firsthand and sees her meeting with leading climate scientists in an attempt to spread the word about this very serious issue. Greta Thunberg: A Year to Change the World can be streamed on Hulu.
'Cher & The Loneliest Elephant'
Cher & The Loneliest Elephant is a surprising documentary about conservation and compassion. Featuring one of the world’s most memorable personalities, the story focuses on Cher’s journey to rescue Kaavan, a bereaved male elephant as he makes his way to a Cambodian animal sanctuary. Cher & The Loneliest Elephant can be streamed on Amazon Prime.
Seaspiracy is a cold, hard look into the way that humanity affects marine life. Tackling everything from overfishing to plastic pollution, Kip Anderson’s followup to 2014’s Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, is a divisive documentary hit, rife with hard truths and hard-to-swallow notions about the fate of our planet’s dwindling marine ecosystems. Seaspiracy is available to stream on Netflix.
'The Cloud Forest'
The Cloud Forest is a documentary that explores the delicate relationship between man and nature. It focuses on the small, rural community of Veracruz, Mexico, and illustrates how such communities can change their ways so that they can live in harmony with nature, rather than attempting to master or eliminate it completely. The Cloud Forest is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
'The Race to Save the World'
The Race to Save the World follows the trials and tribulations of a group of environmental activists who are fighting to protect our planet’s future. Their passion, personal sacrifice, and single-minded focus are an inspiration to watch, and a call to action for anyone who might be considering a career in activism. The Race to Save the World is available to stream on YouTube.
'Blue Planet' and 'Blue Planet II'
Blue Planet and its sequel represent the best of what modern documentary series has to offer. Narrated by the incomparable David Attenborough, this series focuses on the unique marine ecosystems that exist on our amazing planet. Featuring stunning images of nature at its most primal, Blue Planet shines a bittersweet light on the creatures and habitats that are put in danger by our species’ own meddling. Blue Planet and Blue Planet II are now steaming on Amazon Prime Video.
'The Year the Earth Changed'
David Attenborough once again steps in to narrate what might be one of the most timely and important documentaries of the past decade. The Year Earth Changed is a documentary about the drastic changes that have happened on our planet in the past few years. It has a particularly poignant focus on the coronavirus pandemic, and illustrates how that crisis has affected not just humanity, but the planet itself. The Year Earth Changed is available for streaming on Apple TV+.
'2040' by Damon Gameau
Australian director Damon Gameau’s 2019 documentary 2040 investigates what the year 2040 could look like, if humans actually adopt the practices needed to fight the climate crisis, such as renewable energy and regenerative agriculture. It's available to rent on YouTube, Google Play, or Vudu for $3.99.