Pieces of a glacier start to break away. The impact of climate change (Shutterstock)
List Words : Elizabeth Atkin | 21 May 2019

9 eye-opening environmental documentaries worth a watch

Visually-stunning series’ about the world around us are always fascinating to watch, but these must-see films also come with an impactful message about the fate of planet Earth…

1. Virunga (2014)

What you'll see: A feature length film (running one hour, 45 minutes long) documenting a group of people in the Congo battling the save the mountain gorilla. A gripping subject matter, which is equally powerful in cinematic terms: Virunga took home an Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography for a non-fiction programme.

Where to watch it: Virunga is available to watch on Netflix UK.

2. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (2014)

What you’ll see: A feature-length flick by Kip Andersen, which delves deep into the impact of animal farming on the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions, the damage to our oceans and deforestation.

Where to watch it: Cowspiracy is available to watch on Netflix UK.

3. Blue (2017)

What you’ll see: A doc about the world’s quickly-depleting marine life, and how preservation efforts are attempting to save the oceans from pollution, among other threats. A must-watch for those who care about the creatures living beneath the sea.

Where to watch it: Blue is available on Amazon UK, from £4.49 (GBP).

4. Climate Change: The Facts (2019)

What you’ll see: Passionate environmentalist Sir David Attenborough presenting the stone-cold facts about the planet’s descent into climate change and how humanity could attempt to rectify it. It originally aired in May 2019, after one of the hottest years ever recorded, and caused quite a storm amongst viewers.

Where to watch it: You can still watch Climate Change: The Facts on BBC iPlayer.

5. An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

What you’ll see: An Academy Award-winning feature-length doc about the environment, presented solely by former US presidential hopeful Al Gore, with a few photo slides. It’s a real warning about the state of things to come if action isn’t taken. What’s worrying? The conservation is still in its infancy, and this film was made 13 years ago…

Where to watch it: You can buy An Inconvenient Truth on Google Play or YouTube, from £.249 (GBP).

6. Chasing Ice (2012)

What you'll see: Several years worth of powerful footage (condensed, of course) - documenting the great pace at which the globe's icy glaciers are melting. Hard to watch for those with a passion for the Polar regions.

Where to watch it: Chasing Ice can be watched on Amazon Prime

7. Blackfish (2013)

What you’ll see: A one hour, 30 minute long movie exploring the problems with keeping orcas in captivity. There’s a particular focus on Tilikum, a performing Icelandic whale known for causing the deaths of three people, one at Sealand in Canada, and two more at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida.

Where to watch it: Blackfish can be watched on Netflix UK

8. Chasing Coral (2017)

What you’ll see: A Netflix Original about the tragedy of our disappearing coral reefs, asking: why are they dying off? Why are they dying so quickly? And how can we save them from vanishing all together? One to watch for anyone with a passion for the ocean.

Where to watch it: Chasing Coral is available on Netflix UK 

9. Before The Flood (2016)

What you’ll see: Oscar-winning actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio lends his famous face to the cause of climate change awareness. Leo meets with scientists and conservationists from around the world, to drill home just how dangerous climate change really is, and find out what can done to stop it.

Where to watch it: You can watch Before The Flood on Netflix UK 

More on documentaries:

Wonderful wildlife and nature docs to see next

Inside the filming of Netflix's Our Planet

Our chat with Chasing Coral's director

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