Top 5 Climate Change Docs

Calling for climate action

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

Merchants of Doubt Trailer Image

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. See Deception Dealers for more…

2. A Fierce Green Fire

A Fierce Green Fire Trailer Image

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. See The Green Revolution for more…

3. Surviving Progress

Surviving Progress Trailer Image

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. See Recognizing Our Imbalance for more…

4. This Changes Everything

This Change Everything Trailer Image

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. See Unravelling the Narrative for more…

5. Tomorrow

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A positively geared documentary that demonstrates some alternative models and key points to think about if we are to live more sustainably. See Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow for more…

Honorable Mentions

An Inconvenient Truth

An Inconvenient Truth Trailer Image

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 a 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

Years of Living Dangerously Trailer Image

An excellent documentary series the Years of Living Dangerously, is produced in part by a number of Hollywood celebrities who also take turns narrating different episodes. Each episode covers a different topic of climate change and is narrated by a celebrity who takes on the role of correspondent as we learn about the issues.

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 Trailer Image

Vu du Ciel is a stunning documentary series hosted by renowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand as he takes on a journey around the globe. Famous for his impressive pictures that he takes from the air (helicopter), he travels the earth capturing majestic images with his camera. Yet beyond the photography, he now investigates the changes that have been taking place on the planet, and conducts comprehensive interviews with locals to learn of the challenges posed by intensive human activity and corresponding climate change. We see first-hand the impact caused by the modern industrial way of life, and 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!

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