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5 Top Documentaries About the Environment

Jun/07/2022 / by Preetam Kaushik

With World Environment Day on June 5, you must get to see lots of posts on your social media timelines related to the state of the environment – about everything from climate change to loss of biodiversity. But why not make this more of a World Environment Week and indulge in works that celebrate it?

Held every year since 1974, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)’s World Environment Day has grown to become the largest global platform for environmental outreach, with millions of people calling for collective, transformative action on a global scale to celebrate, protect and restore our planet.

While the environment stays on top of our minds during such special moments, eventually we get caught up in our routines and forget about the alarming rate at which our planet is changing.

The boiling frog effect gets us every time. The expression comes from an urban legend around an experiment where if one puts a frog in boiling water, it will jump out. But if placed in a pot of normal water on a stove which heats the water slowly, the frog won’t even realize it is cooking till it is too late. Like the frog, we’re also living in a pot that’s slowly heating up but unfortunately it does not seem like we are doing anything about it.

It’s important to remember what we’re up against so that we can keep the fire of change alive inside us. Here are five documentaries about the different ways our planet is suffering which also show us ways we can help:

David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet

In his 70-year career as a natural historian and broadcaster, David Attenborough has documented wildlife and their natural habitat across every continent. This documentary is his witness statement of the devastating environmental changes he has seen around the world. Attenborough recalls highlights from his colorful career and holds a mirror up to the destructive cost on the natural world of humanity’s greed and need for more. It’s an honest look at where we are and how we can hand over a better world to future generations.

Watch on Netflix

A Plastic Ocean

A Plastic Ocean

Plastic is such an integrated part of life that it’s impossible to go a day without using something made from it. “A Plastic Ocean” looks at the devastating impact this material is causing to our environment and oceans. Journalist Craig Leeson along with free diver Tanya Streeter and an international team of scientists and researchers travel to 20 locations around the world to uncover the shocking extent of the damage plastics are causing to marine life and also explore solutions that can solve it.

Watch on Netflix


The Island President

This 2011 documentary follows then President Mohamed Nasheed of the lowest-lying country in the world, as he fights to protect the Maldives from the rising sea levels. The film gives the audience a behind-the-scenes look as Nasheed tries to convince larger nations to take action against the looming climate apocalypse.

Watch with CuriosityStream or rent on Prime Video


Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

This groundbreaking 2014 documentary follows filmmaker Kip Andersen as he unmasks the most destructive industry on our planet – the livestock industry. Released in a time when the focus of environmental groups was on limiting the use of fossil fuels, this was the film that first sparked conversations around the true impact eating meat has on the environment. It’s as relevant today as it was when it was released.

Watch on Prime Video



Let’s end this list with something a little more optimistic. In this documentary, award-winning director Damon Gameau writes a visual letter to his 4-year-old daughter where he imagines what the year 2040 would look like if we embraced the environmental solutions available to us today. The film envisions a future where humanity bands together to heal the planet and create a world for the future generations.

Watch on Apple TV