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15 Unmissable Documentaries About The Environment

Documentaries about the environment are great options for keeping up to date on important issues such as climate change. In addition, they invest in an accessible language, maintaining the quality of scientific data. And they reflect on how other people around the world are seeing and reacting to the care required by our Planet.

With that in mind, we made a selection of the 15 most must-see documentaries about the environment to understand the impact of our actions on nature. Divided into land, water, climate change, and lifestyle, all are available on the main streams.

There is no order to watch, much less priority. The important thing is that you start watching to get informed and inspired to do your part in this change in favor of life. You will notice that, from the meal to the clothes we buy, everything is connected with the environment.

In this post has:

Documentaries on the environment: land

environment forest
Photo: Diego Imai

01) Amazonia Eterna (2012)

Where to watch: Prime Video

The documentary presents the Amazon Forest, all its natural wealth, and its integration with its residents. Through the documentary, we observe the sustainable ways of life of those who understand the importance of nature.

In addition to the beautiful images, we accompany thinkers, environmental experts, fishermen, and native peoples thinking about the Amazon. An attempt to present a heterogeneous dialogue to think about the actions that must continue or stop in order to keep the forest alive. The challenge of the documentary is to discuss the possibility of a balance between environmental, political, social, and economic issues.

02) Kiss The Ground (2020)

Where to watch: Netflix

The documentary Kiss The Ground introduces us to the “regenerative agriculture” movement. The project understands the need to regenerate the soil to rebalance the climate and preserve nature. Produced by top model Gisele Bündchen, it continues in an educational and inspiring tone. In addition, it shows how regenerative agriculture works and the benefits to the environment, including the absorption of carbon dioxide.

03) Saving the Amazon (2020)

Where to Watch: Prime Video

Temperature regulation has a great influence on the Amazon, despite this, the destruction of the forest continues to grow. In this documentary, we follow the testimony of native peoples about the struggle to keep the forest alive. In addition to being exposed to constant crimes against the Amazon.

Scientists, activists, and natives are constantly fighting to save the Amazon. The documentary is produced by journalist Sophie McNeil.

04) Sob a Pata do Boi – Grazing The Amazon (2018)

Where to watch: Prime Video

The documentary Grazing The Amazon is less than 1 hour long and addresses the relationship between livestock and the devastation of the forest. Awarded by the French Ministry of Culture, it is a journalistic investigation into the destruction of the largest tropical forest in the world.

The investigation lasted two years and shows the aspect of the agreements between politicians and farmers, for the transformation of the forest into pasture. The history of cattle in the forest has its origins in the military dictatorship and remains the main reason for deforestation in the Amazon.

Documentaries on the environment: water

environment ocean
Reproduction: Unsplash

05) A Plastic Ocean (2016)

Where to watch: Prime Video

Journalist Craig Leeson decided to go in search of the great blue whale, but he is surprised by the infinite amount of plastic in the oceans. So he decides to assemble a team of scientists, investigators, and a freestyle diver to go deeper.

Over four years, the team toured twenty sites around the world, recording their findings. Among them, is the worrying state of the oceans regarding the amount of plastics. The documentary shows us how animals can mistake these plastics for food and how we end up ingesting them ourselves.

It’s a documentary to rethink the way we use plastic without limits in our lives. It is necessary to rethink the real need for so much plastic.

06) Chasing Coral (2017)

Where to watch: Netflix

At the bottom of the sea, corals suffer from all the changes in the ecosystem caused by impacts on nature by humans. For three years, a team decided to record the disappearance of coral reefs. On the team, a publicist, a coral expert, photographers, and scientists produce one of the most engaging and dramatic documentaries on the environment.

It’s interesting because sometimes we don’t realize the importance of these rock formations. Corals are important to marine life, just as forests are important to terrestrial life. There is an infinite amount of aquatic animals that depend on these corals to survive. By denying the need for attention to them, we contribute to a dangerous cycle of destruction.

07) There is something in the water (2019)

Where to watch: Netflix

Actress Elliot Page returns to her hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada to engage with social and environmental issues. Among them, is the contamination in the waters of Boat Harbour, by the Indonesian pulp and paper company Paper Excellence. Additionally, the struggles involve the needs of Nova Scotia’s minority communities.

08) A Lei da Água (2015)

Where to watch: Prime Video

Produced by Fernando Meirelles, the documentary A Lei da Água addresses the changes in the Forest Code and how these changes impact the forest. In addition, it shows the importance of forests for water conservation and articulates the hydroelectric crisis in Brazil.

The documentary was developed from research and about 37 interviews with ruralists, environmentalists, scientists, etc. Finally, it portrays the consequences of degradation in forests and the need to sustainably integrate community and nature.

09) Brave Blue World (2020)

Where to watch: Netflix

Despite the subtitle “the water crisis” in Brazil, the documentary Brave Blue World uses the issue to raise suggestions for solutions. This is one of the great differentials of this documentary. He does not deny the existence of the crisis, but he is willing to articulate possibilities for dealing with it better.

Therefore, we are taken to know several projects that worked. For example, The Water Box was created to address lead contamination in water in Flint, USA. Or, the Majik Water that was created in Kenya to condense particles of water from the air and transform it into drinking water. It’s an inspiring series.

Documentaries on the environment: climate change

climate changes
Reproduction: Unsplash

10) Our Planet (2019)

Where to watch: Netflix

In this documentary series, eight episodes invite us on a trip around the world. Our planet is the protagonist of beautiful images and unpublished records. And, even before we are completely dazzled by so much natural wonder, we are reminded of what is happening.

Gradually, the series takes on the consequences of climate change. How human interventions cause irreversible results in nature. Each episode lasts an average of 50 minutes. Some of the topics covered are melting glaciers and the worrying number of missing animal species.

The collapse of the natural world is also the subject of the documentary film David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet. The film, released in 2020, is part of the documentary collection of British naturalist David Attenborough. Which includes the most recent work, Breaking Boundaries: the science of our planet, released in June 2021. This one features the presence of Brazilian scientist Carlos Nobre, in a speech about deforestation in the Amazon.

11) Cowspiracy (2014)

Where to watch: Netflix

This documentary shows how intensive farming is one of the main causes of deforestation and global warming. The documentary tries to unravel why the natural impacts caused by livestock are so ignored. In addition to the high emission of CO2, it is the activity that concentrates the greatest release of methane gas.

In addition to agriculture, the documentary also raises questions about the environmental impacts caused by fishing on an industrial scale. It is the ideal documentary to understand the need for changes in eating habits, seeking a balance in meat consumption.

12) Before the Flood (2016)

Where to watch: Disney+

The documentary Before the Flood is hosted by actor and environmentalist, Leonardo DiCaprio. The central theme is global warming and the consequences of climate change. The narrative addresses possible solutions to stop this situation and conversations take place with different authorities. Among them, were Barack Obama, former President of the United States, Elon Musk, and Pope Francis.

The fact that it is a National Geographic production ensures the level of quality of the images and the direction of the information. Leonardo DiCaprio traveled the world for three years to see up close the consequences of humanity’s unbridled actions on nature. It’s a documentary about the environment to remind us of the urgency of making more conscious decisions.

13) Greta Thunberg: A Year to Change the World (2020)

Where to watch: hulu

Teenager Greta Thunberg is growing up and continues to fight global warming. This is a documentary about the environment from the concerns of the Swedish activist. We follow a small summary of how Greta Thunberg’s voice has spread to all corners of the Planet. In addition to being an inspiring young woman for so many other young people, as they will inherit the future.

It is a didactic and interesting documentary to remind us about the need to get involved, daily, with sustainable actions.

14) O Fórum (2020)

Where to watch: Globoplay

The documentary makes an unprecedented behind-the-scenes record of the World Economic Forum in Davos. The Forum brings together the world’s most influential leaders and CEOs to discuss the future of humanity. The environment is constantly on the agenda of conversations, concerns about global warming.

In this documentary, we follow Jair Bolsonaro’s dialogues about deforestation in the Amazon as well as what activists have to say about it.

Documentaries on the environment: lifestyle

climate change life minimalist
Photo: Diego Imai

15) Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things (2015)

Where to watch: Prime Video

Lifestyle influences our relationship with nature. In this documentary, we follow Joshua Fields Millburn, and Ryan Nicodemus in their quest for a lifestyle where less is more. They propose the balance between having and being happy. For this, consumerism needs to be rethought and reduced.

In addition, we need to understand that our consumption decisions impact the environment. So what are our real needs? Why do we need to consume so much? Sensible choices while maintaining a sustainable conscience help us in this new style of living and thinking about life.

Find out how REDDA+ and you can help preserve the Amazon

As you could read, there are many documentaries about the environment that make us reflect on our relationship with nature. REDDA+ is an initiative that puts ecological actions into practice in the Amazon region. Supported by REDD mechanisms and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, REDDA+ invests in developing sustainable communities.

In Portel, Pará, for example, REDDA+ helps the community to grow economically and socially. All this shows the importance of healthy bonds with nature. In addition, REDDA+ develops projects to offset carbon emissions.

Click here to learn more about REDDA+.

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