Best environmental documentaries to watch, ranked

As the world cries out for salvation from the ongoing climate crisis, environmentalists are advocating for greater urgency and a better understanding of the seriousness of climate change. The need to protect nature and its living creatures and to put in place solutions against its greatest threats – overpopulation and pollution – has justified a call to arms by environmentalists. Political and ethical movements have rallied to support the search for solutions that will benefit the restoration of the ecosystem. The response to the global environmental crisis has raised awareness of how oblivious part of the world has been to the continuing effects of climate change and demanded their attention. The Earth needs an advocacy that can share the concern of how directly the planet is affected by human activity. The natural world is equally worthy and important to be prioritized among other global issues.



Documentaries have the power to influence the world to change for the greater good. The reflection between real world events and their translation into film has an inherent power to inspire, inform and defend. As an informative resource, documentaries are able to delineate pressing issues that may not be equally accessible to everyone. They harness the ability to amplify the most intense and immediate social issues that may seem disconnected to some. Engaging with the issues that matter most opens up conversations about finding solutions. Environmental documentaries, in particular, host timely and meaningful conversations about the reality of climate change. Eyewitness accounts and first-hand perspectives document significant events on an ecological basis. Environmental documentary films raise awareness of how quickly the Earth and its natural resources are dwindling. Although the purpose of each film supports a necessary message, these are the best environmental documentaries to watch.


5 Hunt the coral

Touching on a lesser-known topic, Hunt the coral draws attention to the alarming rate of coral bleaching between 2014 and 2017. The documentary insists that by 2034, 90% of the remaining coral reefs will be lost due to climate change. The rise in temperatures caused by global warming is absorbed by the ocean and impacts the irreversible damage that erodes them directly. Corals are facing heat stress caused by global warming, and coral bleaching is now described as an epidemic of the marine ecosystem. Overfishing and overpollution are attributed to the pressures corals feel as they fight to stay alive, and declining water quality cannot provide enough for them to easily thrive. The massive loss of coral reefs over an extremely short period of time is costing some marine species their natural habitat and destroying various intact ecosystems. Hunt the coral supports the idea that more attention needs to be paid to ocean concerns as well as land issues.

Related: These are the best nature documentaries streaming right now

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4 David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet

Sir David Attenborough talks about his travels and how he personally witnessed the effects of climate change at the hands of mankind. He encourages the public to join him as he mourns the loss of wildlife around the world. David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet not only documents his success as an accomplished environmental documentarian, but reflects the dramatic decline in the health of the Earth since the early years of his career. A commentary aspect allows Attenborough to speculate on the future of the climate if humanity continues with the same carefree attitudes, and sees a darker fate for the climate. The documentary delves into statistics regarding the population of wild animals and how failure to act will lead to the devastation of various habitats.

David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet illustrates the dramatic transformation of the climate as it skips predicted events at a decade-by-decade rate. A more ruthless message insists that Earth will face its ultimate demise and be deemed uninhabitable following the destruction of futile land at the hands of humanity. However, the documentary suggests actions that can be taken to combat the current inattentive behavior of the population towards the needs of the Earth. There is a call for ground stability in today’s population and to see renewable energy as a leader in the industry. Halting deforestation and promoting biodiversity are seen as necessities when restoring ecosystems. David Attenborough: A Life on Earth advocates for the recovery of the planet.

3 climate of doubt

The PBS Documentary climate of doubt highlights the attitudes of skepticism that cloud the way climate change is perceived in the public eye. This political entity focuses on how science was responsible for disarming the climate change discourse through a bipartisan system. John Hockenberry dives headfirst into approaching the climate change conversation from the perspective of presidential candidates on the campaign trail. A study conducted reports that Americans are more skeptical of the reality of climate change and are hesitant to accept it as a fact. There is a rejection of cause and effect that people are responsible for increasing global warming.

According to the official PBS press release, “climate of doubt describes the individuals and groups behind an organized effort to attack science by undermining scientists and to overthrow politicians who say they believe there is current climate change caused by human activity. We are asked to reject rhetoric. The documentary examines the conversations around scientific discoveries and how they are interpreted in a political landscape, in particular, how political bias threatens the transparency of factual evidence. It presents the argument that climate change has been assumed to be more politically charged compared to a direct statement that does not need to be challenged.

Related: The best climate change documentaries and where to watch them

2 An inconvenient truth

Al Gore is using his platform as a former presidential candidate to warn the public about the devastation of climate change, rallying those around him to join him in his efforts to combat the effects already present. Global warming is elevated to an “emergency-level threat” and Gore is determined to inspire others to take action against its effects. He won a Nobel Peace Prize and an Oscar for his documentary which called for special attention to climate change. A central message that was left as a result of An inconvenient truth was that the idea of ​​choosing the economy and the environment was a fallacy and that there should be no pressure to prioritize one over the other.

The former presidential candidate accepts that it was indeed the people of Earth who directly grew weary of the state of the climate and believes people are obligated to end the continued denial that they are responsible. An inconvenient truth presents evidence that the Earth’s temperature has increased over the past decade and paints global warming as an undeniable problem that should be addressed immediately. Gore instead spoke out in favor of introducing new ways to approach how American citizens can fight climate change and understand the ramifications of global warming as fact, not as a political ploy.


1 black fish

black fish directs the conversation on environmentalism to a more specialized topic of captivity. The documentary raises concerns and questions about the actions of how wildlife is perceived and how harmful misconceptions can lead to wildlife endangerment. Very controversial entity in the world of environmental documentary cinema, black fish insisted that the public participate in their concern around the ethical values ​​of the marine life amusement park, SeaWorld. The central mission of black fish is to inform an audience about how it is unnatural for orcas to live like theme park attractions and to explain that orcas are misunderstood.

The goal of calling for wider recognition of how dolphins and whales are treated when held by people is reiterated throughout the documentary. Wildlife activists remain keen to align themselves with black fishThe tireless call to free the orcas. The film urged the US to reconsider introducing new legislation against places such as SeaWorld and the call for an end to captive killer whale breeding programs received more popularity. An urgent message that killer whales should stay in their natural habitat resonates through black fish with the implications of a collapse in a natural ecosystem without them in the seas.

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