When it comes to climate change, one of the most asked questions is probably What can I do? Of course, it is great to think about taking actions against this more than urgent matter but we shouldn’t forget about a simple way to start acting: information. To be informed means that you know what you’re fighting against but also that you can share your knowledge with others. After all, it is no secret that preserving the environment requires that we act together. There are many ways to get that information today: books, social media… In this post, we’re listing some of our favorite documentaries to learn more about environmental issues.
This 2015 French documentary is the result of the collaboration of Cyril Dion - writer, director, writer and environmental activist - and Mélanie Laurent - actress and director. Its title illustrates its positive message: it is all about our future and the solutions we can implement to protect it. Throughout a journey across 10 countries, Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent meet pioneers who rethink agriculture, energy, the economy… and show us what the world could look like tomorrow if we make some changes. A beautiful work that gives hope!
Demain (2015) directed by Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent.
Before The Flood
This documentary in collaboration with National Geographic has become a must-see and this is probably for two main reasons. 1) It has benefited from the popularity of one of its producers, actor Leonardo Dicaprio whom we follow throughout the movie while he meets scientists, activists and world leaders. 2) Its message: this film is about taking actions before it is too late, “before the flood”. The fact that it manages to put light on the urgency through scientific facts while still showing what are the actions possible - from consuming differently to voting for certain leaders - makes it a very powerful documentary we still highly recommend even 7 years after its release.
Before The Flood (2016) directed by Fisher Stevens - available on Disney+.
David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet
Sometimes, when living in big cities surrounded by concrete, we lack a bit of perspective on what we are trying to preserve. A Life On Our Planet will remind you of the beauty and the biodiversity we’re losing through the eyes of David Attenborough, one of the most famous naturalists using the images he has collected for more than 60 years of broadcasting and filmmaking. This documentary eventually draws a sad conclusion - our planet is dying - but David Attenborough also evokes how we can act and some nations who have already implemented great initiatives.
David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet (2020) directed by Keith Scholey, Jonathan Hughes and Alastair Fothergill - available on Netflix.
Pourquoi On Se Bat
We obviously had to mention Camille Etienne’s most recent work, Pourquoi On Se Bat. With two of her friends - Solal, filmmaker and Jade, dancer - they decided to embark on a boat to Iceland to get images of what they are fighting against: the melting ice. As the three friends share their feelings, we understand that we’re all struggling with the same emotions when it comes to climate change: denial, a sense of powerlessness or even illegitimacy. A beautiful film and a great reminder that behind facts, there are humans facing an overwhelming issue.
Pourquoi On Se Bat (2022) directed by Camille Etienne and Solal Moisan - available on TV5MONDEplus.
My Octopus Teacher
This one is a bit different. Instead of listing facts and showing a series of interviews, My Octopus Teacher displays the relationship between filmmaker and diver Craig Foster and an octopus in a South African kelp forest. If we had to draw one message from that one-of-a-kind and moving film it would probably be this: we can learn a lot by simply getting closer with nature. After tracking the octopus’s movements, seeing how she defends herself and witnessing her death, Craig Foster reflects on himself, his relationship with nature and his son.
My Octopus Teacher (2020) directed by James Reed and Pippa Ehrlich - available on Netflix.
Kiss The Ground
In this documentary narrated by and featuring Woody Harrelson, we focus on regenerative agriculture as a way to heal the planet and reduce the effects of climate change, thanks to the interventions of farmers, ranchers, scientists and activists. We learn how regenerating the quality of Earth’s soil can stabilize climate, restore ecosystems and create sustainable food systems. Why “Kiss The Ground”? It is actually the name of the non-profit that has been involved towards this transition for years.
Kiss The Ground (2020) by Joshua Tickell and Rebecca Harrell Tickell - available on Netflix, Prime Video and Apple TV.