So, you’ve looked into the top environmental charities, you have a good idea of the problems facing the planet, and you’re eating more ethically, but you still want more information about the environment? Perhaps something that tugs at your heartstrings will do the job. Something with a narrative. We’ve compiled a list of our favourite environmental documentaries for your viewing pleasure.
The big daddy of environmental films, Al Gore’s Oscar-winning PowerPoint presentation made a lot of people think harder about the realities of global warming. Probably the most interesting/devastating science lecture you’ll ever attend.
(French: Les glaneurs et la glaneuse) Pretty much exactly the opposite of An Inconvenient Truth, Agnes Varda takes a quaint look at gleaners in France, that is, people who live on the leftovers of society. While the film does not have a glaringly obvious environmental message, the discussion of waste, recycling and living close to the land is ultimately an example of how to reduce your impact on the planet.
If you like wild salmon, you ought to give this doc a try. DamNation advocates for the removal of many of the aging dams in the US (and by extension, the world) as a way to restore spawning habitats and safeguard the health of river systems throughout the continent. Plus you get to come up with as many “dam” puns as you want.
This deep dive into the politics of food production comes with a whole set of shocking revelations: inhumane treatment of animals, environmentally unsound waste-handling, contaminated food, petroleum-based fertilizers, and much, much more. Plus it doubles as a diet plan, because once you start thinking about what’s in your food, you might think twice about stopping at the drive-thru.
The story of how a group of activists tried to stop an atomic bomb test and ended up founding Greenpeace. Seriously.
This is the closest thing to a spy movie you’ll find on this list. The filmmakers infiltrate and film a Japanese dolphin slaughter. It’s good that the information about animal cruelty and contaminated food got out but it is pretty hard to watch #triggerwarning.
A profoundly personal look at the harmful effects of fracking: chronic health problems, polluted air and water, government corruption, to name just a few. This film is a shining example of what one person with a camera can do to shame an entire industry.
While An Inconvenient Truth presents a hurricane of stats, Chasing Ice shows how those stats are playing out in the real world. Breathtaking time-lapse footage of calving glaciers are a terrifying reminder that global temperatures are increasing and some of us are going to need to invest in flood pants pretty soon.
If you would like to donate to a charity to help out with some of the issues presented in these films, check out our Top Environmental Charities in Canada.