5 Documentaries to Watch in Preparation for Earth Day

By: Lauren Malenchini

Appreciating our Earth and understanding the importance of protecting it have become important themes of recent environmental documentaries. The minds behind these documentaries seek to educate, inform and inspire a change in behavior from audiences across the globe. In celebration of Earth day, we recommend the following films!

Our Planet

Our Planet | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

Director:​ Sophie Lanfear Where to Watch​: Netflix

Our Planet, a four-year long production by Netflix, documents the impact of climate change on natural environments and animal habitats across the globe. This limited 1 season series features scenes of jungles, arctic tundras, and desserts through breathtaking cinematography. While this nature documentary captures Earth’s beauty, the critical message of the film is that humans have had a devastating impact on wildlife and nature and we must take action to prevent further loss of life.

This Changes Everything

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING Trailer | Festival 2015

Director​: Avi Lewis
Where to Watch​: YouTube, Tubi, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play Movies and TV, Vudu and iTunes

This 2015 documentary provides a concerning glimpse into capitalistic structures that have caused irreparable damage to the environment, and have placed underprivileged communities at the greatest risk. The film highlights environmental activists around the world and the work they are doing, as well as the stories of real people who have been affected by the climate crisis around the world. This documentary is eye opening to the shocking consequences large corporations are having on the environment, and the people living in those affected areas.



Trashed Official Trailer #1 (2012) – Documentary – HD Movie

Director:​ Canada Brady Where to Watch​: iTunes

This 2012 documentary gives insight to the astounding amount of human waste generated by seemingly harmless daily activities. This has become known as wasteful consumerism, and has unfortunately become integrated into our daily lives. This documentary seeks to eradicate the idea that our “small” waste contributions do not have costly effects. Trashed, follows actor Jeremy Irons on his travels to toxic waste mounds, and garbage-lined riverbanks to show viewers how widely trash has destroyed the environment in places far away from human settlements.

David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet

David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet | Official Trailer | Netflix

Directors​: Jonathan Hughes, Keith Scholey and Alastair Fothergill Where to Watch: ​Netflix

Attenborough has visited every continent and in this biographical documentary he explains how he has seen firsthand the monumental scale of humanities impact on nature. He recounts his life and the wild places he has been to visualize to viewers the unimaginable loss of wild places, and attempts to offer ways to improve for the future. The information presented in this documentary, like many recent climate documentaries, can be shocking to conceive but is crucial to understand in order to improve our living conditions and repair what humans have damaged.


A Plastic Ocean

A Plastic Ocean Official Trailer

Director:​ Craig Leeson
Where to Watch:​ Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies and TV, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video and iTunes

Released in November of 2020, this science and nature documentary depicts a tragic discovery made by explorers Craig Leeson and Tanya Streeter. These lovers of the ocean and the life that thrives in its depths find devastating amounts of plastic sweeping the ocean floors, covering coast lines, and killing marine life. This documentary gives an inside look into the mass amounts of plastic plaguing the planet. The goal of this film is to ignite an undeniable sense of need to drastically reduce the amount of trash and plastic used around the world in hopes that our environment will see a better future. Critics call the footage in this documentary one of “the greatest horror reveals in cinema.”

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