Documentaries are a moving way to discover new facets of our world and the perfect medium for learning about the environment. Because as much as we might want to, we will never be able to see every aspect of our planet firsthand, and books can’t always do justice to the beauty of our planet. Travel around the world — and its oceans — with this list of the best environmental documentaries.
Blue Planet is an award-winning documentary series chronicling the natural history of the world’s oceans, narrated by David Attenborough. Created by the same production team that made Planet Earth, this documentary was filmed in over 200 locations and captured animals and behavior on film that had never been seen before. Watch Blue Planet on any major streaming service — YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime or Vudu.
This documentary follows creator Rob Stewart as he exposes how sharks are not only being hunted to extinction, but are also widely misunderstood and hugely important to their local ecosystems and our fight against climate change. Watch Sharkwater on RSSF.org.
My Octopus Teacher
My Octopus Teacher is the story of how filmmaker Craig Foster forms a friendship of sorts with a wild octopus while free-diving in a South African kelp forest. Over the course of a year, he learns many lessons about the octopus, kelp forests, life, and the connection between humans and nature. You can catch My Octopus Teacher on Netflix.
Kiss the Ground
Narrated by Woody Harrelson, this surprisingly optimistic documentary argues that soil health is the solution to sequestering carbon we’ve been looking for in order to reverse climate change. Watch Kiss the Ground on Netflix.
After being propositioned by a natural gas company to lease his land, filmmaker Josh Fox investigates the natural gas industry and discovers it isn’t as clean as it’s portrayed, from mystery illnesses cropping up in the communities where the gas is extracted to special environmental exemptions being made by the federal government. You can catch Gasland on WatchDocumentaries or YouTube.
Before the Flood
Presented by National Geographic, Before the Flood follows Leonardo DiCaprio as he travels to all corners of the world in an attempt to witness climate change firsthand and learn the full extent of what we’re up against. Stream Before the Flood on Disney+ or WatchDocumentaries.
Tapped uncovers the environmental and economic impacts of the bottled water industry, revealing the destructive practices of corporate giants such as PepsiCo and Nestlé. Watch Tapped free on Tubi, Pluto or Amazon Prime.
Chasing Ice follows nature photographer James Balog as he attempts to document the effects of climate change by capturing time-lapses of the disappearing glaciers in the arctic. Stream Chasing Ice on Amazon or WatchDocumentaries, or purchase a copy of Chasing Ice on DVD or BluRay.
A Life on Our Planet
David Attenborough, the famous naturalist who spent his career researching, writing and narrating some of the most well-known nature documentaries of our time, uses this documentary to illustrate the alarming decline of biodiversity on our planet over the course of his lifetime. You can watch A Life on Our Planet on Netflix.
The Devil We Know
The Devil We Know is an investigation into how the company DuPont allegedly poisoned a West Virginia community while producing Teflon nonstick cookware, which contains the hazardous chemical PFOA, resulting in a class action lawsuit. Stream The Devil We Know on Netflix.
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