With environmental and climate change issues coming to the spotlight in recent years, there are more beautiful nature movies and docuseries available than ever before, with a lot of celebrities taking part in their development. Today, new technologies allow us to better understand our beautiful planet and its fascinating eco-systems, but at the same time reveal the horrific changes caused by the human impact.
Whether you’re looking to admire the beauty of our planet or gain some perspective on the various challenges it faces, here are 16 eco-themed movies and series worth your attention. From shocking investigative films to moving nature series, these documentaries will inform, inspire, and offer solutions.
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet
Having sparked massive attention once it came out, the documentary film A Life on Our Planet is the last project of a famous nature historian, sir David Attenborough. To promote the movie and raise awareness, the 94-year-old scientist joined Instagram where he managed to reach 1 million followers in a record time! A shocking yet hopeful documentary, A Life on Our Planet is Attenborough’s witness statement as he reflects on the changes our planet has gone through over the span of his lifetime. Apart from pointing out the issues, Attenborough also suggests there are things we can still do to avoid a catastrophe.
Our Planet is another original Netflix documentary narrated by David Attenborough. The incredible nature series reveals not only the beauty and variety of our planet but also the ugly truth about humans’ impact on the environment and all living creatures. Every episode is like a separate movie focusing on a different natural habitat: deserts, oceans, jungles, forests, or glaciers, and showing how each of them has been affected by climate change.
My Octopus Teacher
For many viewers, My Octopus Teacher turned out to be a pleasant discovery and one of the most beautiful nature movies available on Netflix. An emotional documentary is a story of love and friendship between a film-maker and naturalist Craig Foster and a common octopus which he meets while freediving in an underwater kelp forest next to Capetown (South Africa). Craig’s daily encounters with the octopus give him much more than he had expected.
Dancing with the Birds
One of the best nature movies on Netflix, Dancing with the Birds is a colorful, engaging, and sometimes comic documentary focusing on birds’ mating rituals. From careful preparations to weirdest performances, this movie shows the most extravagant male attempts to seduce the females, the success stories as well as the failures. If you‘re looking for an educational yet funny nature movie – this is it!
Award-winning Planet Earth is considered a classic in its genre. When it first came out in 2007, Planet Earth was the most expensive nature docuseries, filmed during a span of five years. With eleven episodes, the series beautifully presents the variety of our planet‘s flora and fauna. In 2017, Planet Earth II came out with new filming locations, also exploring the urban animals.
Night on Earth
Narrated by the actress Samira Wiley, Night on Earth is an impressive and captivating nature docuseries, revealing the wonders of the nocturnal animals. From hunting leopards and mating scorpions to quacking frogs and various underwater creatures shining in the dark, Night on Earth captures the life of various animals as you‘ve never seen before.
Chasing Ice is one of the best nature movies, focusing on climate change and its impact on the planet‘s glaciers. In 2007, James Balog, a world-known National Geographic photographer, together with his team placed 43 time-lapse cameras in various spots around the world: Alaska, Greenland, Iceland, Canada, the Himalayas, and the Rocky Mountains in the USA. The impressive documentary reveals that the beautiful glaciers are melting even faster than it was ever expected.
Chasing Ice, like Chasing Coral, was directed by the same director – Jeff Orlowski. In this beautiful yet disturbing nature movie, the main focus is placed on our planet‘s oceans and the coral reefs that are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. Chasing Coral reveals the mysteries of the underwater world, examines the impact that climate change has on our oceans, and suggests what could be done to improve the situation.
The Biggest Little Farm
Educational and capturing, The Biggest Little Farm is one of the most beautiful nature movies for the whole family. A film-maker John Chester and his wife, professional chef Molly decide to leave their comfortable life in LA, purchase 200 acres of land, and develop a sustainable farm. After years of hard work, their farm transforms into a fully-functional biodiverse habitat where mother nature does its magic.
Kiss the Ground
Another new movie revolving around a similar subject, Kiss the Ground talks about the impact that the healthy earth’s soil has on the overall well-being of our planet. Narrated by Woody Harrelson, this nature documentary shows how sustainable farming can help regenerate the whole ecosystem and even reduce the effects of climate change. Available on Netflix, Kiss the Ground is moving, hopeful, and inspiring.
Before the Flood
Released in 2016, Before the Flood is a documentary film lead by Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese as one of the producers. It follows DiCaprio as he travels around the world documenting the impacts of climate change that are already visible, and talking to various environmental experts about the issue. In the movie, the main focus is placed on the USA and its political establishment that still includes a lot of climate change deniers.
Ice on Fire
Another film produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, Ice on Fire is like a beginner’s guide for those who want to better understand global warming. This eye-opening movie talks about our planet‘s melting glaciers and the impact this process has on climate change. Going beyond the usual narrative, Ice on Fire offers hope as it presents a lot of proven methods and innovative solutions that could help reduce the effects of global warming.
A Plastic Ocean
Available on Netflix, A Plastic Ocean is one of the best nature movies talking about the issue of plastic waste. An estimated 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans, which does serious harm not only to the ocean’s flora and fauna but also to human health. The movie follows journalist Craig Leeson, professional diver Tanya Streeter and an international team of scientists as they travel to 20 different locations around the world, revealing the shocking truth about the condition of our oceans.
Canadian conservationist and paddler, Mark Angelo sets on a three-year-long river journey around the world. What he discovers in India, Bangladesh, China, Italy, or London, is shocking: our planet‘s water supplies are heavily polluted by the fashion industry. Riverblue shows the impact that our consumer society has on water habitats and our beautiful planet in general.
March of the Penguins
One of the most beautiful nature movies for the whole family, March on the Penguins depicts the yearly journey of the emperor penguins in Antarctica to find their perfect mate. Directed by French director Luc Jacquet, this moving documentary allows us to see the life of the penguins in one of the harshest habitats on the planet. The English version of the movie is narrated by Morgan Freeman.
2040 is one of those environmental documentaries that focus on solutions. In his movie, Australian Damon Gameau imagines the world that his now four-year-old daughter will be living in. Presenting the biggest environmental challenges in the next 20 years, he also reviews the various innovative solutions that are already available today to reduce the impact of climate change.
AkvilėAuthor and traveler
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