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Today, our planet is in a bad state, and many of us ignore the issue altogether. The Earth’s surface continues to warm dramatically, with recent global temperatures being the warmest in over 2,000 years. Ice is melting rapidly, sea levels are rising, and the world is experiencing frequent and intense disasters.
It is difficult to understand the consequence of climate change when we spend every minute of our lives scrolling through social media, shopping, overconsuming, and enjoying luxurious things. Being informed about global warming and its consequences is essential for all of us. The life of millions of species depends on the actions of everyone today.
Today, considering the kind of life we lead, it becomes difficult to sit down and study environmental issues. Perhaps we can spare just two hours a week to watch environmental documentaries and get informed about the reality of our planet.
Here are the 10 Best Environmental Documentaries You Need to Watch:
1. Kiss The Ground: Did you know that the very ground you walk on every day houses millions of lifeforms and is a possible way to save our Earth? Yes, the soil can save us!
‘Kiss the ground’ is one of the best environmental documentaries to understand the role of soil in our lives. This 2020 documentary is narrated by actor Woody Harrelson who looks at a solution to climate change. He states that the solution is right under our feet, and it is as old as dirt. Soil can sequester large amounts of greenhouse gases- it could balance our climate, feed the world, and replenish our water supplies.
The documentary draws people’s attention to the benefits of eating nutrient-rich food, threats of soil desertification, and the future of our soil if not improved.
2. Before The Flood: In this 2016 documentary, Hollywood actor and UN Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio uses his influence and budget to draw attention to the climate change crisis.
The documentary focuses on climate change, the damage humans have done, and the events likely to happen if we fail to protect the Earth. DiCaprio traveled to different locations for two years and interviewed many people, including Pope Francis and then-President Barack Obama.
Though the documentary is six years old now, the facts and arguments made in it are still the same today. Documentary link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbEnOYtsXHA
3. Cowspiracy: This 2014 documentary was made by filmmaker Kip Andersen who dived into the unchallenged livestock industry and its enormous impacts on the environment. It draws attention to the livestock industry, its severe natural resource usage, and animal agriculture’s role in global warming.
Everyone talks about fossil fuels and greenhouse gases, but no one ever discusses the impact of animal agriculture. Cowspiracy really makes you think about the food you purchase and consume. Documentary link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfmpXM7TADU
4. Eating Animals: ‘Eating Animals’ is one of the best environmental documentaries to influence your diet. The 2018 documentary ‘Eating Animals’, narrated by Natalie Portman, might make you rethink eating meat ever again. This documentary is based on the best-selling book ‘Eating Animals’ by Jonathan Safran Foer.
Eating Animals focuses on the evils of factory farming and the sickening mistreatment of animals it entrails. It also discusses the public health issues related to factory farming- diseases that form and spread when pigs or chickens are crammed into concentrated animal feeding operations.
The documentary tries to cover all relevant topics in just 90 minutes.
5. 2040: What would the Earth look like in the coming 20 years if humans implemented current technological solutions to mitigate climate change today? Damon Gameau, an Australian Filmmaker, wanted to explore this in order to write a visual letter to his daughter, Velvet.
Gameau traveled worldwide to talk to people who are developing solutions to reduce emissions, sequester excess carbon, and implement regenerative farming, shared transport, etc.
Gameau presents a hypothetical landscape of what our Earth would look like if humans used the technologies.
6. An Inconvenient Truth & An Inconvenient Sequel: An Inconvenient Truth 2006, made by the United States former Vice President Al Gore, drew the world’s attention to the urgency of climate change and the need to tackle it. It focuses on the link between climate change and increasing natural disasters.
Ten years later, he made a sequel to the documentary “An Inconvenient Sequel” in 2017. Al Gore traveled to different locations where climatic conditions have worsened. Both the documentaries are worth your time.
7. Fire In Paradise: Increasing wildfires are one of the deadliest impacts of climate change, destroying both humans and ecosystems. Severe disasters like California’s prolonged wildfires may be difficult to comprehend unless you’re on the ground, like the inhabitants of the town of Paradise.
Directors Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper detail the experience of residents who survived the 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County, California. This documentary recreates the wildfire through interviews with survivors, firefighters, police officers, etc.
‘Fire in Paradise’ also draws the public’s attention to the frequent wildfire events due to climate change. Documentary link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3OX1PR2SCM
8. Chasing Ice: ‘Chasing Ice’, one of the best environmental documentaries, directed by Jeff Orlowski, presents the efforts of environmental photographer James Balog and his documentation called ‘The Extreme Survey’.
The documentary focuses on time-lapse cameras across the Arctic to show people the impacts of global warming on glaciers. Due to Balog and his team’s difficult time-lapse filming, the documentary will be able to communicate the effects of climate change to people in an effective way.
9. Anthropocene: The Human Epoch: In 2016, a group of scientists from around the world, known as the ‘Anthropocene Working Group’, announced the end of the Holocene epoch. According to the group, the Earth has now entered into what is known as the Anthropocene epoch- which is characterized by increasing human activity that determines our planet’s future.
Created by Nicholas de Pencier, Jennifer Baichwal, and Edward Burtynsky, it is a cinematic meditation on humanity’s massive reengineering of Earth. Documentary link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgQsITYtIKQ
10. Racing Extinction: The increasing extinction of species and biodiversity is a major concern today. However, less is being done about this, and extinction continues.
The documentary ‘Racing Extinction’ uses several clever filming methods to explore severe truths about the human impact on wildfire. The documentary uses underwater cameras and techniques to investigate the threats to species around the world, such as the illegal wildlife trade.
Further, it uses lab experiments and photo comparisons to examine the impacts of ocean acidification and warmer temperatures on marine ecosystems. Documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aslfLVA7Zv4