A few years ago, I went on a Netflix environmental documentaries binge. I watched as many documentaries about the environment, sustainability, food, and animal welfare as I could get my eyes on. I realized that recycling my plastic and eating a vegetarian diet wasn’t enough. As a result of watching these
If you want to watch documentaries to get inspired, watch 1 or all of them on my list. Some of the environmental documentaries I watched were more interesting, eye-opening, and thought-provoking than others. So, I’ve narrowed down my list to include only the best. Below, see my top 10 environmental documentaries to watch on Netflix.
If you like
Fed Up looks at the amount of sugar we consume in our daily diets. While not directly an environmental documentary, our diet undeniably plays a part in destroying our planet. This documentary is alarming and eye-opening and will make you want to immediately cut out sugar cold tofurkey!
Blackfish is a well-known film documenting the sad lives of orcas in captivity at Seaworld. I put off watching it for a long time because I thought I already knew the message. Unfortunately, I had no idea how deep the abuse went. Above all, orcas undeniably belong in the ocean, where they can swim miles each day and contribute to our natural ecosystem. Watch this movie and then never support Seaworld again.
Before the Flood
Before the Flood is a well-made environmental documentary starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Leo travels around the globe exploring the devastating effects of climate change. From melting arctic ice to waters flooding the streets of Miami, this film will leave you with little doubt about our warming planet.
Forks Over Knives
Forks Over Knives is a documentary that promotes a plant-based diet. It tracks the health changes of people who are eating unhealthy, meat-laden diets, to becoming plant-based. Spoiler alert: the result is a healthier lifestyle with fewer pills necessary. The less animal agriculture in our diets, the better off our planet is.
Plastic Paradise looks at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the effects it is having on the local wildlife. Prepare to be outraged at the amount of plastic found in the stomach of a dead bird washed ashore.
This documentary will really open your eyes to the amount of disposable plastic we consume each day. This may even shift you into more of a zero-waste lifestyle. (If you need some easy tips to begin going zero waste, check out my post for beginners here.)
The True Cost
After watching The True Cost, I decided to attempt buying all my clothing from ethical sources using sustainable fabrics. The documentary outlines all the ways the fast fashion industry is destroying not only our
I watched Sustainable recently, drawn by the film being set not too far from Indianapolis, where I live. The documentary follows farmers trying to make an honest living growing crops. They work closely with restaurants to organically produce the crops that are desired.
We can’t feed the world’s population with our current production methods, or even the ones outlined in this film. But the farmers aren’t trying to feed the world’s population. They are trying to feed the local consumers, by growing the food they eat right there. You’ll want to join a local CSA by the end.
A Plastic Ocean
A Plastic Ocean opens with a man’s quest to find blue whales for a documentary he planned to shoot. After locating them, the camera pans back to show plastic trash surrounding the whales’ location off the coast of Sri Lanka.
The documentary he set out to film shifts gears and explores the incredible amounts of plastic flowing into our oceans. Heartbreaking scenes of dolphins and seals trapped in discarded fishing nets will cause you to rethink not only your plastic usage but hopefully your seafood consumption as well.
Vice Garbage Island
Similar to A Plastic Paradise, Garbage Island also explores the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. My boyfriend actually watched this with me. He was captivated by the swirling bits of plastic and microplastic that exist in the Pacific Ocean. (Sidenote: I accidentally wrote Plastic Ocean at first…fitting.) Produced by Vice, this film takes a grittier approach to reveal the truth. This may appeal to anyone who prefers a more straight forward message in their documentaries.
Environmental Documentary Wrap Up
These documentaries all horrified me in various ways, and I hope you found them just as eye-opening. If so, remember to try to align your actions with your values, and take steps towards changing your lifestyle. If you’ve seen any other great environmental documentaries, please let me know in the comments! I’m always down to check out something new.