This Friday, April 22 marks Earth Day, a global day of education, conversation and awareness about the protection of our environment and how we can work together for a more sustainable future.
The annual event started in 1970 in the United States and soon became an international phenomenon with more than 193 countries and over one billion people taking part in the initiative each year.
For many people, doing what we can to reduce our footprint is something that we are already committed to, from using keep-cups and reusable bags, being conscious of travelling sustainably to making the effort to keep the environment top of mind when clothes and jewellery shopping. Hell, even sexual pleasure devices are getting the eco-overhaul and we are not mad at it at all.
If you are interested in learning more about the environment, the dangers it faces and what you can do further to help, here are five documentaries to watch for Earth Day and beyond.
From the team behind What the Health and Cowspiracy, Netflix‘s documentary Seaspiracy examines the negative impact of commercial fishing — encapsulating everything from commercial whaling to microplastics, fish farm slavery and overfishing.
The film outlines the urgency to protect our world’s oceans for the sake of our future with filmmaker Ali Tabrizi exposing the legal and ethical corruption of the commercial fishing industry.
As one of the documentary’s participants so aptly says, “If you want to address climate change, the first thing you do is protect the ocean. And, the solution to that is very simple. Leave it alone.”
Watch it on: Netflix
The Year Earth Changed
No list of environmental documentaries would be complete with one (or ten) from Sir David Attenborough. After all, who has dedicated themselves more to the preservation of our earth and the education of its population more?
While we could easily populate this entire list with the works of the legendary natural historian, we’ll leave it at this one — and one more to come.
In his latest documentary, The Year Earth Changed, the 94-year-old international treasure explores how the global COVID-19 induced lockdown of 2020 was actually beneficial to nature.
The silver linings of the devastating pandemic were evident in improved air quality, a decrease in toxic gas emissions, lowered levels of smog and pollution and an abundance of new animal life. In fact, in a happy development, even previously endangered species were able to increase their numbers as we stayed inside to stop the spread of the deadly disease.
Directed by Tom Beard and narrated by Attenborough, The Year Earth Changed investigates different locations across the globe to shed some light on just how well nature can thrive when left uninterrupted.
Watch it on: Apple TV+
One Strange Rock
One Strange Rock is produced by award-winning producer and director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) which means that it is not only informative but visually stunning.
The film is described as a “thrilling journey exploring the fragility and wonder of our planet, one of the most peculiar, unique places in the universe.
“It’s the extraordinary story of why life as we know it exists on Earth, brought into perspective by the only people to have left it behind: astronauts.”
One Strange Rock is broken up into 10 episodes, with each one exploring a different facet of earth from the air we breathe to the sun to the way that death leads to opportunity and biodiversity.
Watch it on: Disney Plus
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet
In his 2020 masterpiece, A Life on Our Planet, Sir David Attenborough discusses humanity’s impact on nature and the actions we can take to save the planet.
Intended to be his “witness statement” for the environment, Attenborough reflects on his more than 60-year career, as he examines the toll human life has taken on the natural one.
Of course, the cinematography is stunning, even as it starkly contrasts with the ramifications modern-day life has wrought upon our fragile ecosystems.
It’s not all doomsday though, as the film also provides insight into the measures that can be taken and the effects they have so far had, we can start to feel the glimmer of hope that all is not lost.
Watch it on: Netflix
In 2040, Aussie father and filmmaker Damon Gameau travels the world in search of new approaches and solutions to climate change. He meets with innovators and change-makers in many fields to draw on their expertise.
Imagining what life could be like for his four-year-old daughter 20 years from now, Gameau investigates various inventions and initiatives that, if adopted more broadly, could change the future for the better.
As the documentary was made with future generations in mind, a touching addition to the film are the various children who are interviewed to relay their own (often adorably impractical) solutions for cleaner and more sustainable ways.
Watch it on: Amazon Prime Video