5 Must-See Environmental Documentaries To Binge-Watch Over The Summer!

Dec 24, 2021by Olivia - F&F

Looking for some binge-worthy documentaries to stream over the holidays? These five must-see environmental documentaries will entertain you, educate you, and completely change your perception of the world around you — whether it’s about the impacts of climate change, the entrenched views of climate change denialists in business and politics, the commercial fishing industry, the future of coral reefs, or the destructive impact of the animal agriculture industry. 

David Attenborough A Life On Our Planet NetflixDavid Attenborough A Life On Our Planet Netflix

Length: 1hr 23 minutes

Available On: Netflix

David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet (2020)

We definitely had to begin with a David Attenborough documentary! The 95-year-old’s latest documentary, A Life On Our Planet, is a powerful first-hand account of the Earth’s decline during his 60+ year career. Attenborough calls the film his “witness statement” for the natural world. The film unveils horrifying predictions for the next few decades — including a savanna-like Amazon rainforest, ice-free summers in the Arctic, dying coral reefs, a crisis in global food production, and millions of homeless climate refugees. 

Attenborough explores viable solutions to our climate crisis and emphasises that all hope is not lost! By lifting people out of poverty, stabilising the global population, shifting to renewable electricity, ending deforestation, and restoring biodiversity by re-wilding depleted ecosystems — we can reverse the damage we’ve inflicted upon our planet. Definitely a must-see!   

Seaspiracy Documentary NetflixSeaspiracy Documentary Netflix

Length: 1 hr 29 minutes

Available On: Netflix

Seaspiracy (2021)

Seaspiracy exploded in popularity upon its release in March, 2021! The documentary follows Ali Tabrizi and Lucy Tabrizi as they expose not only the disastrous environmental impacts of the commercial fishing industry — but also the immense cruelty involved in overfishing, the impacts of underwater deforestation, the human slavery within the fishing industry, and the potentially fraudulent nature of “sustainable fishing” and “dolphin safe” tuna. 

If you’re not vegan or vegetarian, this documentary will truly change your perception of modern day fishing. Ultimately, the documentary concludes that there is no such thing as “sustainable fishing”. This explosive film was produced by Kip Andersen, the man behind the popular 2014 documentary, Cowspiracy. 

Before The Flood Leonardo DicaprioBefore The Flood Leonardo Dicaprio

Length: 1 hr 35 mins

Available On: Disney+, Apple TV, Amazon Prime

Before The Flood (2016)

In this climate-focused documentary, actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio teams up with director Fisher Stevens and National Geographic to explore the impacts of climate change and the entrenched views of climate change denialists in business and politics. Over 3 years, DiCaprio interviewed a variety of people all around the world — ranging from former U.S President Barack Obama and the Pope, through to Elon Musk and Piers Sellars.  

At the film’s European premiere in 2016, DiCaprio explained the ‘why’ behind the film: “All that we witnessed on this journey shows us that our world's climate is incredibly interconnected and that it is at urgent breaking point. We wanted to create a film that gave people a sense of urgency, that made them understand how to solve this problem." 

Chasing Coral Documentary NetflixChasing Coral Documentary Netflix

Length: 1 hr 33 minutes

Available On: Netflix

Chasing Coral (2017)

In the Netflix original documentary, Chasing Coral, a group of divers, photographers and scientists set out to document the alarming decline of coral reefs in our warming and acidifying oceans. Their journey takes them to numerous bleach coral reefs all around the world, which makes for a highly emotional viewing. Apparently, the documentary took 3.5 years to make and features over 500 hours of underwater footage, with submissions from over 30 countries.

If you’ve ever wondered why coral reefs are disappearing at such an alarming rate and what this will mean for our marine life, this is the documentary for you. Importantly, it encourages all of us to take action to protect our beautiful coral reefs for generations to come.

Cowspiracy Documentary Animal AgricultureCowspiracy Documentary Animal Agriculture

Length: 1 hr 31 minutes

Available On: Netflix

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (2014) 

Cowspiracy is one of the most controversial and eye-opening documentaries of all time! The crowd-funded documentary follows director and producer, Kip Andersen, as he investigates the catastrophic environmental impacts of animal agriculture — like deforestation, water pollution, topsoil erosion, habitat loss, ocean “dead zones”, as well as the industry’s growing greenhouse gas emissions. He also probes into why the most destructive industry on the planet is seemingly unchallenged by leading environmental organisations. 

This documentary was truly eye-opening. Growing up, we like to imagine livestock growing up happily on lush, green farms — but this is the absolute minority. The Earth doesn’t have enough resources to support our insatiable appetite for meat. This documentary will make you question whether that steak or burger is worth the devastating environmental impact. 

Have you seen any of these life-changing documentaries? We know there’s absolutely no shortage of environmental documentaries out there, but we believe these are the top five documentaries that you really don’t want to miss out on!

We like to keep you updated on things that are happening in the eco world — so if you’d like to learn more about these topics, head to our Eco News category.

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