Green Tip: Documentaries to Watch

Green Tips | April 4, 2018

Human impact on our wild and natural places is discernable all across the globe, but it can be difficult to keep it at the front of your mind with everything else you probably have going on. Often too, the visible impacts of climate change and other natural disasters are happening far away. In the age of online streaming services and at-your-finger-tips entertainment, documentaries are more accessible than ever. We’ve made it easy for you to stay informed while taking it easy by putting together a list of some of the most eye-opening documentaries about our changing climate and its impacts on communities and ecosystems around the world. Check it out!

Mission Blue (2014): Netflix
Follow the life and work of one of the first deep-sea divers, Sylvia Earle, who built a career out of seeing the wonders of the ocean that the majority of us will never experience. Throughout her years of work, she has seen firsthand how human negligence has impacted our oceans and marine wildlife. When she first started out, Earle would visit parts of the ocean untouched by man; now she laments that no matter how deep she goes, she sees trash on every single dive. This film shows us that nothing disappears. Our oceans are threatened by pollution and climate change.

Food Inc. (2008): Hulu, iTunes, Amazon Video
An investigative documentary about America’s wildly unsustainable food system and the impact it has on communities and our environment. It highlights the injustice of large food producers, and how these corporations rely on a system that is carbon-intensive and requires large amounts of food transportation.

The True Cost (2015): Netflix
This documentary explores unethical practices within the fashion industry and asks the question: what are the consequences of an industry that is solely focused on profits? The True Cost explores the poor living conditions of workers from companies like H&M and Zara, and how the fashion industry’s practices are detrimental to the environment. This one is sure to make you think twice about where you shop and what you buy.

Chasing Ice (2012): Netflix
A must-see for anyone who is skeptical about the effect climate change has on our arctic landscapes. Photographer James Balog provides up-close evidence of just how rapidly glaciers are melting and changing the coldest environments on the planet. The multiyear time-lapse photography of melting glaciers in this documentary is not only beautiful, but startlingly scary.

Chasing Coral (2017): Netflix
Similar to Chasing Ice, Chasing Coral follows a group of scuba divers on a mission to capture on camera the bleaching of coral reefs all over the world. While their journey takes unplanned turns and leads them to unexpected locations, the footage they get of the reefs is incredibly telling of the rising acidity of our oceans and the danger that poses. This one is very informative, but also emotional.

The Cove (2009): iTunes, Amazon Video
Animal lovers and the faint of heart, beware, this Academy Award-winning documentary examines Japan’s practice of dolphin drive hunting. Former National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos directs this film as it delves into the unnecessarily cruel methods for harvesting fish and the impact these practices have on marine ecosystems.  

An Inconvenient Truth (2006): Hulu
This movie at this point should speak for itself as many of the previously mentioned documentaries would not exist if not for this one. This film was part of Al Gore’s campaign to educate the public about climate change and its popularity and success showed that the public does actually want to learn about the environment. This film won two Academy Awards and brought in $50 million at box offices worldwide.

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