Top 5 Climate Change Documentaries
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So Much To See and Learn!
With Earth Day right around the corner, I thought of putting together a little documentary list for those of you looking to build up your knowledge about climate change. Human activity, human industrial activity in particular, is having a very real and devastating impact on our planet.
Below, I’ve selected my current “TOP 5” films that relate to climate change (see also Top 5 Water Docs). These docs are well made and can help bring you up to speed with the related issues. Climate change truly is the struggle for our time, and these films do an excellent job of both informing you and representing the efforts.
For other cool documentaries, you’re welcome to check out our recommended resources (see Learning Tools) where we’ve also included fascinating and relevant books and TED Talks. Although I’ve only added the briefest of synopsis for each film in this post, you can read more about each (and view the trailers) by following the links. Enjoy!!
1. Merchants of Doubt
An insightful doc that helps explain why climate change is not necessarily accepted by everyone on the planet, and a taste of the forces at work looking to keep climate action at bay.
2. A Fierce Green Fire
This documentary provides the viewer with a summary of the modern environmental movement. It breaks it down into stages as you witness some of the main issues that were impacting people and the corresponding activism that grew in reaction.
3. Surviving Progress
This brilliant doc highlights the need to address the balance in our outlook when assessing climate change. Modern society has readily accepted globalization, but our minds have failed to catch up to viewing the planet through an equally global perspective. We need to recalibrate.
4. This Changes Everything
A film that sets to challenge the status quo. Science and industry has dictated terms for the past 2 centuries, but it is time to wake up our hubris and better understand nature’s role in our lives.
A positively geared documentary that demonstrates some alternative models and key points to think about if we are to live more sustainably.
An Inconvenient Truth
When discussing climate change docs it’s certainly worth mentioning An Inconvenient Truth (2006). Al Gore’s seminal film, released at a pivotal time of growing public awareness, did an excellent job of illustrating the current climate crisis.
I didn’t include it it the list above simply because it has been viewed by so many, that I had hoped you already watched it at some point. Also, if you’re following our website, I’d like to think that you are now pretty much aware of the need to combat climate change and are looking for more in-depth information.
Al Gore, and The Climate Reality Project (the corresponding organization he helped found), have since released An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017). It serves as a powerful reminder of the devastating global threat from climate change, and the need for collective action. Not exclusively harrowing, it also depicts some of the work of governments and organizations as they take action to mitigate the risks. Check it out when you can!
Years of Living Dangerously
The Years of Living Dangerously is an excellent documentary series! It is produced in part by a number of Hollywood celebrities, (Ex. Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jessica Alba, etc.) who take turns hosting different episodes. Each episode covers a different topic pertaining to climate change. The celebrity takes on the role of correspondent, as we learn about the related challenges & potential solutions.
I didn’t include it in my above list, as this is an extensive series, not a stand-alone-film, but I would very highly recommend it. Watching the episodes you can’t help but shake your head at some of the blatant injustices to our environment, but you will also be left with a greater understanding of what is taking place around the world. Hopefully it will give you the same charge and motivation it did me!
Vu Du Ciel / Earth From Above
Vu du Ciel (called Earth From Above in English) is a stunning documentary series hosted by renowned French photographer & environmentalist Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Yann takes us on a journey around the globe, offering us deeper insight to our planet. Famous for his impressive aerial (helicopter) pictures, he manages to capture some incredible images of the earth.
Beyond the photography however, Yann also investigates the changes that are taking place on the planet. He conducts comprehensive interviews with locals, posing clear and direct questions with an empathetic ear and an experienced mind. Yann appears genuine in interest to learn about the effects of climate change and the many resulting challenges now posed as a result humanity’s impact on the environment.
We witness firsthand the effects of the modern industrial way of life, as well as some of the potential solutions for improving upon the current harmful practices.
I loved this series! Once again I didn’t include it in my list of top 5 because it is an extensive documentary series, but if you’ve exhausted the list (and since you scrolled all the way down to the bottom of this post), I would highly encourage you to check it out!