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17 Best Environmental Documentaries [and books] to check out in 2022

Estimated Read Time: 6 Minutes

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In 2022, check out these 17 environmental documentaries and environmental books and open yourself up to new perspectives and stories with these 

Why Watch Environmental Documentaries? 

The internet is an amazing place. Anything you need or want to know you can find. And any point of view has a place to share it. While it is important to listen to and be respectful of opinions that differ from yours, there are times when facts and science can get cluttered with opinions.

At those times is when we all need to make sure we’re doing our research and getting our facts from relevant sources. And environmental documentaries are a great place to improve your knowledge about a particular subject. 

Coffee bean farmer is talking to a man holding a camera

Photo by Esteban Benites on Unsplash

It’s important to remember that documentaries, specifically environmental documentaries, are telling a story and they’re telling it from a certain perspective. Most come from the perspective on conservation, like our good friend David Attenborough. And while hopefully they inspire you to make a change in your lifestyle, at the very least they should get you thinking.   

Where to Watch Environmental Documentaries

Environmental documentaries can be watched on almost every platform! Netflix, Apple TV, Amazon Prime, and even sites specifically for that documentary. 

We have our recommendations labeled below so you know where to head to. 

Environmental Documentaries To Watch in 2022

Below are our environmental documentary recommendations to watch in 2022! We think each of these should be on everyone’s list to watch and learn from. Each one tells a unique story about a different aspect that is contributing to climate change. These are all important stories and come from important voices and are only a handful of the amazing work that is out there. 

Don't Look Up

A satire apocalyptic comedy about two astronomers trying to warn the public about an annihilistic comet. (Netflix)

A Life on Our Planet

The one and only David Attenborough narrates how humanity’s destruction has impacted the other life on this planet and what that means for the future. (Netflix)

Albatross

Get ready to cry your eyes out as an artist documents an island in the Pacific home to Albatrosses and littered with corpses filled with ocean plastic. (Free using this link)

Chasing Coral

Three years worth of footage as scientists, divers, and photographers seek to find the cause of coral bleaching and expose it. (Netflix)

Racing Extinction

Racing Extinction works to expose the crimes humanity has inflicted on nature including the trafficking of wild animals and the role we’ve played in a mass extinction. (Apple TV) 

Honeyland

One of Europe’s last wild beekeepers follows ancient traditions taking only what she needs to survive and leaving the rest to the bees. Neighbors soon move in and take up beekeeping while ignoring her advice. (Hulu, Apple TV)

My Octopus Teacher

A filmmaker forges a bond with an Octopus which leads the octopus to share her world with the filmmaker, teaching him a thing or two about his own life on the way. (Netflix)

8 Billion Angels

8 Billion Angels explores the growth of humanity, its increase to overpopulation, and the toll that has on the planet. (Apple, Google Play, Amazon Video, YouTube)

True Cost

Where do our clothes come from? Who is making them? Under what conditions? This doc explores the true price of fashion. (Amazon Prime, Tubi, Netflix)

Seaspiracy

Seaspiracy sets out to explore the impact humans have on marine life. It uncovers the corruption of corporate fishing and the destruction of marine ecosystems. (Netflix)

Why Read Environmental Books? 

With all of our attention spans getting shorter and shorter thanks to Reels and TikToks (it seems) don’t feel bad if you don’t have the patience to sit through an entire environmental documentary. 

woman lying upside down, reading a book on a turquoise sofa

Photo by Matias North on Unsplash

Try switching things up and going for an environmental book! The great thing about books is you can take your time reading it. 

  • Make it a challenge and try to read 10 minutes everyday. 
  • Keep it in the bathroom for when you need some alone time
  • Support local nonprofits and bookstores that sell secondhand books.
  • Books made a great coffee table decoration + they’re a great conversation starter! 

Make Reading More Interactive: 

  • Stop and look up things you don’t understand or want to know more about. 
  • Write notes in your book to help you learn or interpret more
  • Flag it with sticky notes and bookmarks when there are points (or arguments) you want to come back to. 

While reading has actually proven to help reduce stress and expand your imagination, the ultimate benefit of reading? 

Books don’t get deleted — unless you get rid of them — so you don’t have to make sure to read it by a certain time (unless you’re checking it out from the library. Then please, please return it on time)!

Where To Get Environmental Books 

You can get books on the environment everywhere! We’d always recommend starting with local second hand stores to support local businesses and any local non-profits that give back to the community. 

rows of books

Photo by freddie marriage on Unsplash

Other places to get environmental books include: 

  • Local second hand stores
  • Local Library + library apps 
  • Audiobooks
  • Ebay for used books
  • Facebook groups

Books on environmental issues are the best because there are decades of resources out there. People have been writing about humanities destruction on our planet for quite some time at this point. Looking up older material can be interesting to see how relevant it still is. 

Best Environmental Books To Read in 2022

These are our recommendations to read in 2022. We think these should be on everyone’s list to read this year to educate us all more about the planet, and the different voices that live on it. 

All We Can Save

A collection of essays from 60 women at the forefront of the climate movement.

Braiding Sweetgrass

Written by Potawatomi professor Robin Wall Kimmerer, this book discusses the role of indigenous knowledge as a complementary approach to mainstream scientific methodologies. 

No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference

11 speeches from Greta Thunberg she has written and presented about the climate crises and global warming. 

The Future We Choose

A cautious yet optimistic book about the world’s changing climate and the fate of humanity.

The Nature of Nature

From an academic turned conservationist, has made it very clear what humans are doing to the ocean and the havoc it is wreaking. He explores how saving nature can help save the planet and prevent future catastrophes. 

Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit

Life on this planet is interconnected — including us. This book explores how we can learn to live in harmony with nature again. 

Think Again: The Power of What You Don't Know

Unlearning and relearning requires us to choose courage over comfort to stay curious enough about the world to want to continue to change it. 

Silent Spring

Published in 1962, this book documents the environmental effects as a result of synthetic pesticides and how the advancement of humanity does not have to come with the destruction of nature.