While all the extra time at home during coronavirus quarantines isn’t ideal, at least there’s more time for marathon-watching everything Netflix has to offer. And as you come up for air between episodes of Love Is Blind and Tiger King, now is a great time to check out one of Netflix’s many movies, documentaries, and TV shows about the environment.
Here are 10 of Netflix’s best films and series that will teach and inspire you to protect the planet and all of its creatures.
A Plastic Ocean
The 2016 documentary A Plastic Ocean documents the devastating effects of plastic on the world’s oceans, inspiring viewers to reconsider their own use of the controversial material. It also showcases solutions that can help combat the crisis, from the latest technological advancements to techniques individuals can do at home.
Narrated by Mother Earth (voiced by Afi Ekulona), the 2020 series Absurd Planet marries documentary techniques with animation and humor to give viewers an inside look at some of the most incredible animals on our very own absurd planet.
David Attenorough’s Our Planet, 2019, is a Netflix original docuseries that gives viewers an up-close look at the world's natural wonders. The inspiring Our Planet had viewers in tears, especially while watching the “walrus scene” — and the doc even won two Emmy Awards.
The 2014 documentary Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret documents the many ways animal agriculture affects the environment, having an impact on everything from deforestation to ocean dead zones to water use. The filmmakers behind Cowspiracy, Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, followed it up in 2017 with What the Health, a doc about how the health impacts of eating animal products — also available on Netflix.
Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, released in 2016, explores the benefits of living a minimal lifestyle and rejecting overconsumption. Whether or not you want to become a minimalist, there's so much to learn about the fascinating minimalism movement.
Coral reefs, aka underwater ecosystems, are essential to life on Earth — so why are humans destroying them? Chasing Coral brings a team of divers, scientists, and filmmakers together to document the disappearance of coral reefs.
Learn all about the food system with Rotten, a two-season documentary series released in 2018 and 2019. Each episode of Rotten centers on a different food product, exposing various issues in its supply chain.
Directed by Bong Joon Ho (Academy Award winner for Parasite) and starring Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Paul Dano, the movie Okja tells the story of a girl and her “super pig” Okja, who was genetically modified into life by a corporation. The emotional and heartwarming tale of Okja the super pig has inspired many viewers to consider the animals on their plates and go vegetarian or vegan.
There’s Something in the Water
Narrated and co-directed by actress Ellen Page, the 2019 documentary There’s Something in the Water chronicles the environmental risks of toxic waste on marginalized communities in Nova Scotia, Canada.
2013’s Blackfish takes viewers into SeaWorld and introduces them to Tilikum, an orca forced to live in captivity at the Orlando theme park. A few years later, Tilikum, who was associated with the death of three people during his time in captivity, passed away. But since the film’s release, more and more people have grown aware of the horrific and unnatural conditions SeaWorld’s marine animals are forced to live in.