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Top Ten Must See Documentaries About The Environment

by Ossapha Ou

Top Ten Must See Documentaries About The Environment

What makes a film great? The answer will likely vary from one person to the next. A thought-provoking idea may make a movie most memorable for some, while others may be deeply moved by an emotional storyline. An unforgettable character may come to stay for some people, while visually stunning cinematography can burn vivid images forever in the minds of others. Below is a collection of 10 environmental documentaries that possess all the needed elements to make each one a “must-see” in 2021.

1. David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet

A Life on Our Planet is one man’s testimony of the catastrophic changes to nature he’s witnessed over his nearly 100 years on Earth. This visually stunning film brilliantly captures the magnificence of the biodiversity found on our planet, and serves as a powerful reminder of all we stand to lose as a result of environmentally reckless behavior.

2. Kiss the Ground

Narrated by Woody Harrelson, this star-studded documentary brings attention to how the world’s climate stability is increasingly at risk due to modern-day agricultural practices. A refreshingly inspirational film with an optimistic plan to stop global warming, Kiss the Ground reveals that the solution to combat the climate change is right under our feet. And it’s as old as dirt.

3. Chasing Coral

Take a deep dive with a team of passionate pioneers in Chasing Coral, and learn of the heartbreaking tale of a “coral bleaching” phenomenon that’s rapidly destroying life-sustaining reefs all around the world. The message is strong, the imagery is memorable, and the moment to act is now.  

4. The True Cost

The cost of human suffering to produce the clothes we wear is sadly not reflected in its price tag. The True Cost is an unapologetic dressing down of the rampant materialism found in western culture that serves to reveal the ugly truth behind the fashion & beauty industry.

5. Albatross

Albatross is a poignant reminder that the cost for plastic-made convenience is paid with the lives of 100 million marine animals every single year. The visual beauty of living, loving albatross seabirds, sharply contrasted with shocking images of dead chick carcasses filled with the plastic diet that killed them, should be enough to bring most people to tears–and hopefully, to action.  

6. A Plastic Ocean

Through a collection of captivating imagery, ranging from breathtakingly beautiful to unbelievably appalling, this film documents how an over-reliance on plastic is a danger to animal life, as well as human life. Shot in more than 20 locations, A Plastic Ocean is a visual adventure around the world that reveals the causes and consequences of plastic pollution. 

7. I am Greta

Few in history have made such an impact on the environmental movement in their lifetimes that Greta Thunberg had when she directly addressed a room full of world leaders by the age of 16. I Am Greta is an inspirational story of how a pint-sized activist grew into a true force of nature.

8. Public Trust: The Fight for America's Public Lands

Don’t let the gorgeous footage of national parklands fool you into thinking you’re viewing well-shot travel infomercial. Public Trust is an engaging film chronicling the Native American’s fight to keep public lands out of the greedy hands of powerful corporations looking to exploit it for its natural resources.

9. My Octopus Teacher

It’s hard to imagine that a mollusk can teach us so much about life. But when a filmmaker forms an astonishing–albeit unusual– friendship with an octopus, that’s exactly what happens. As inspiring as it is informative, My Octopus Teacher is a heart-warming journey into the ocean that will have your face wet with tears.

10. Mission Blue

Discover the amazing story of Sylvia Earle, the world-renowned oceanographer and activist who’s made it her life’s mission to protect the ocean in the same way we now protect the land. 

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