Today is Earth Day, an annual event that serves to remind everyone that we’ve got a planet to protect. You may have already done your fair share of reducing, reusing, and recycling, shopping sustainably, and volunteering to help plant trees. But just what are we protecting? Living a comfortable life in the urban jungle often makes us forget the beauty and the vastness of the planet we’re living in. We’ve listed down eight Netflix documentaries to help ground you and encourage you to protect the environment even more.
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet
Let’s start this list off with a David Attenborough-narrated documentary. If you’re just selecting one documentary from this list, this is the best one. A Life on Our Planet premiered in early 2020. After years of narrating wildlife documentaries, Sir David creates his first-hand account of witnessing the Earth’s slow and painful demise. It spotlights humanity’s role in tarnishing nature but also gives hope for the future.
Netflix and World Wide Fund for Nature collaborated for this eight-episode limited groundbreaking series. Our Planet shows us the beauty of nature in various regions of this planet — from exotic jungles to the deepest seas — and how climate change impacts this beauty. It’s also narrated by David Attenborough and is the first nature documentary Netflix has ever produced.
No access to Netflix? All the episodes have been uploaded on YouTube for everyone to enjoy.
Chasing Coral is both an emotional and inspiring documentary of how the ocean’s coral reefs are dying on a massive scale. It’s heartbreaking to see the timelapse footage of thriving coral reefs turn to dull greys and fade away. Scientists and filmmakers are in a race against time to prevent more deaths and help nature recuperate.
The full documentary is also available on YouTube.
Night on Earth
“When the light fades, new worlds awake,” narrates Samira Wiley in Night on Earth. This nature documentary features breathtaking footage of the most iconic animals prowling about at night. Thanks to new technology (and very patient cameramen), we get to uncover the secrets of wildlife in the dark. Night on Earth has six hour-long episodes that explore cities, jungles, the deep sea, and more.
All three seasons of Moving Art will make you emotional. Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg captures the breathtaking beauty of our planet. The small and large wonders in our oceans, deserts, islands, mountains, and more are highlighted in high definition. No narration — just swelling music. Watch Moving Art when you feel stressed and need to relax.
No ocean, no us. Renowned oceanographer, marine biologist, and environmentalist Sylvia Earle dedicates her life to something she calls her “Mission Blue.” She knows the ocean is dying and it needs the helping hands of the very same creatures that set it on the path of decay. Mission Blue will take you into a deep dive into the beauty of our oceans and marine life and will inspire you to protect this planet for future generations to come.
A Plastic Ocean
A good nature documentary will show you the beauty of the planet we live on and at the same time show just how we’re destroying that beauty. Plastic Ocean is a 2016 documentary recorded in more than 20 locations for four years. Plastic pollution in the ocean was a problem five years ago, the pollution might have doubled now. It’s still a good eye-opening documentary nonetheless.
Brave Blue World
Brave Blue World says that by 2040, most of the world won’t have water. Liam Neeson lends his voice to narrate the potential water crisis our world is facing and to offer a solution. It might be grim — kids in countries struggling for clean water to drink every day, plains cracking in drought, etc. — but new technology gives humanity hope. Our wastewater can be managed and reused for the good of the planet.
Kiss the Ground
Is regenerative agriculture the secret to saving our planet? Scientists, personalities, and filmmakers believe it’s one thing we could do to create healthier soil. After we get healthier soil, we get healthy plants, healthy people, and in the long run, a healthy planet. Step away from the beauty of wildlife for a while, Kiss the Ground will teach you a practical and doable way to help solve climate change.