Streaming culture has given rise to a whole new generation of documentary lovers. Better informed than ever with more films available than ever before, it can be difficult navigating which one to choose from. But with climate change bringing high concerns for the Netflix generation, it can be difficult choosing which eco-themed documentaries to watch without coming down with a case of eco-anxiety. Here we listed some of the best picks to get a rounded view on the problems of today as well as potential solutions.
1. Racing Extinction (2015)
In this documentary, scientists predict that we may lose half the species on the planet by the end of the century. They believe we have entered the sixth major extinction event in Earth's history. Number five took out the dinosaurs. This era is called the Anthropocene, or 'Age of Man', because the evidence shows that humanity has sparked this catastrophic loss. We are the only ones who can stop it as well. The Oceanic Preservation Society, the group behind the Academy Award® winning film THE COVE, is back for "Racing Extinction". Along with some new innovators, OPS will bring a voice to the thousands of species on the very edge of life. An unlikely team of activists is out to expose the two worlds endangering species across the globe. The first threat to the wild comes from the international trade of wildlife. Bogus markets are being created at the expense of creatures who have survived on this planet for millions of years. The other threat is all around us, hiding in plain sight. There's a hidden world that the oil and gas companies don't want the rest of us to see. Director Louie Psihoyos has concocted an ambitious mission to call attention to our impact on the planet, while inspiring others to embrace the solutions that will ensure a thriving planet for future generations.
2. The Human Experiment (2013)
In this documentary, it lifts the veil on the shocking reality that thousands of untested chemicals are in our everyday products, our homes, and inside of us. Simultaneously, the prevalence of many diseases continues to rise. From Oscar® winner Sean Penn and Emmy® winning journalists Dana Nachman and Don Hardy, The Human Experiment tells the personal stories of people who believe their lives have been affected by chemicals and takes viewers to the front lines as activists go head-to-head with the powerful and well-funded chemical industry. These activists bring to light a corrupt system thats been hidden from consumers until now.
3. A Fierce Green Fire (2012)
In this documentary, It is the largest movement the world has ever seen, it may also be the most important - in terms of what's at stake. Yet it's not easy being green. Environmentalists have been reviled as much as revered, for being killjoys and Cassandras. Every battle begins as a lost cause and even the victories have to be fought for again and again. Still, environmentalism is one of the great social innovations of the twentieth century, and one of the keys to the twenty-first. It has arisen at a key juncture in history when humans have come to rival nature as a power determining the fate of the earth.
4. YERT: Your Environmental Road Trip (2011)
This documentary is about an adventure and a celebration of the American spirit in the face of adversity - a thought-provoking, inspiring, and sometimes hilarious, a documentary about the courageous and creative individuals, groups, businesses and leaders of this country who are tackling the greatest environmental threats in history. Called into action by the ever-increasing threats of planetary catastrophe (from climate change to toxic pollution, from water scarcity to habitat destruction), the three of us - Mark Dixon, Ben Evans, and Julie Dingman Evans - upended our lives, pooled our collective life-savings, and set off on a first-of-its-kind, 50-state, year-long journey of discovery to personalize sustainability and to answer a critical question: Are we doomed?
5. Mother: Caring for 7 billion (2011)
In the documentary Mother, the film breaks a 40-year taboo by bringing to light an issue that silently fuels our largest environmental, humanitarian, and social crises - population growth. Since the 1960s the world population has nearly doubled, adding more than 3 billion people. At the same time, talking about the population has become politically incorrect because of the sensitivity of the issues surrounding the topic- religion, economics, family planning, and gender inequality. The film illustrates both the overconsumption and the inequity side of the population issue by following Beth, a mother, a child-rights activist, and the last sibling of a large American family of twelve, as she discovers the thorny complexities of the population dilemma and highlights a different path to solve it.
6. Surviving Progress (2011)
Humanity's ascent is often measured by the speed of progress. But what if progress is actually spiraling us downwards, towards collapse? In the documentary, Ronald Wright, whose best-seller, A Short History Of Progress inspired SURVIVING PROGRESS, shows how past civilizations were destroyed by "progress traps" - alluring technologies and belief systems that serve immediate needs, but ransom the future. As pressure on the world's resources accelerates and financial elites bankrupt nations, can our globally-entwined civilization escape a final, catastrophic progress trap? With potent images and illuminating insights from thinkers who have probed our genes, our brains, and our social behavior, this requiem to progress-as-usual also poses a challenge: to prove that making apes smarter isn't an evolutionary dead-end.
7. Plastic Planet (2009)
In the documentary Plastic Planet, Werner Boote presents an up-close and personal view of the controversial and fascinating material that has found its way into every facet of our daily lives: plastic. He takes us on a journey around the globe, showing that plastics have become a threat for both environment and human health.
8. An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
An Inconvenient Truth is a documentary on the threat that climate change poses to the Earth - it's causes, effects and history, and potential solutions to it. Presented by Al Gore through a lecture that he has given to audiences across the globe, plus through more introspective moments. Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim follows Al Gore on the lecture circuit, as the former presidential candidate campaigns to raise public awareness of the dangers of global warming and calls for immediate action to curb its destructive effects on the environment.
9. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (2014)
Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary following intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today and investigates why the world's leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it. As eye-opening as Blackfish and as inspiring as An Inconvenient Truth, this shocking yet humorous documentary reveals the absolutely devastating environmental impact large-scale factory farming has on our planet and offers a path to global sustainability for a growing population.
10. Before the Flood (2016)
Using his celebrity status to draw attention to the problem of global warming, one of the most important and pressing issues of our time, actor and United Nations Messenger of Peace, Leonardo DiCaprio, travels the globe to witness firsthand the effects of an impending environmental disaster. By visiting ancient melting glaciers and leveled Indonesian tropical forests, DiCaprio unearths an urgent situation and the world's dependence on fossil fuels, going as far as to visit Former President Obama himself for an in-depth interview. But, can this crusade inspire the climate-change deniers?
11. A Plastic Ocean (2016)
A Plastic Ocean begins when journalist Craig Leeson, searching for the elusive blue whale, discovers plastic waste in what should be pristine ocean. In this adventure documentary, Craig teams up with free diver Tanya Streeter and an international team of scientists and researchers, and they travel to twenty locations around the world over the next four years to explore the fragile state of our oceans, uncover alarming truths about plastic pollution, and reveal working solutions that can be put into immediate effect.
12. What the Health (2017)
What the Health is a groundbreaking feature-length documentary from the award-winning filmmakers of Cowspiracy, that follows the exciting journey of intrepid filmmaker, Kip Andersen, as he uncovers the impacts of highly processed industrial animal foods on our personal health and the greater community, and explores why leading health organizations continue to promote the industry despite countless medical studies and research showing deleterious effects of these products on our health.
13. Forks Over Knives (2011)
In this documentary, sc lifts the veil on the shocking reality that thousands of untested chemicals are in our everyday products, our homes, and inside of us. Simultaneously, the prevalence of many diseases continues to rise. From Oscar® winner Sean Penn and Emmy® winning journalists Dana Nachman and Don Hardy, The Human Experiment tells the personal stories of people who believe their lives have been affected by chemicals and takes viewers to the front lines as activists go head-to-head with the powerful and well-funded chemical industry. These activists bring to light a corrupt system that's been hidden from consumers until now.f life. An unlikely team of activists is out to expose the two worlds endangering species across the globe. The first threat to the wild comes from the international trade of wildlife. Bogus markets are being created at the expense of creatures who have survived on this planet for millions of years. The other threat is all around us, hiding in plain sight. There's a hidden world that the oil and gas companies don't want the rest of us to see. Director Louie Psihoyos has concocted an ambitious mission to call attention to our impact on the planet while inspiring others to embrace the solutions that will ensure a thriving planet for future generations.
14. Planet Earth II (2016)
In this docuseries, Sir David Attenborough returns in this breathtaking documentary showcasing life on Planet Earth. Every episode is a new wonderful experience, getting to know the world that surrounds us. David Attenborough is the best narrator out there and this is his latest masterpiece. The crew has worked hard and managed to capture a large aspect of wildlife whether it lives on a remote island in the arctic ocean or deep in one of the large human cities in India or the United States of America. It shows that they put a lot of effort and time filming this under harsh conditions, but the close-up captures of wild animals in their natural environment was worth the effort.