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The Best Documentaries About Climate Change and Where to Watch Them

Climate change is a popular talking subject right now as scientists say we are only years away from reaching the point of no return, or where warming thresholds will grow to be so high that they will do irreversible damage to the Earth. Recently, scientists have even begun protesting to draw awareness, and getting arrested for it. However, even though many people know of the term, they might not really know what climate change is, or how it will affect them. That’s where the climate change documentaries come in.

Great documentaries can make complex subjects easier to understand. They can be about anything and everything, and even no two documentaries on the same subject are alike. That’s why documentaries on climate change are important – if people are going to understand the real consequences of it, they need to know what they are in the first place. There are many documentaries out there on climate change, so many it could be overwhelming to look at if you do not know where to start. If you’re interested in learning more, take a look over this list of the best ones out there, and you should have a better understanding of what’s going on.

8 Climate Refugees

The documentary Climate Refugees covers the human impact of climate change. In other words, how climate change currently affects or will affect the human race. This includes the impacts of overpopulation, the eventual lack of resources as there are many limited resources on Earth, and other aspects that climate change effects, such as extended droughts or rising water levels for coastal cities and island nations. It wants to shed light on the fact that climate change could mean running out of food and water, both of which are resources that are absolutely necessary for the continued survival of life on Earth. If you’d like to learn more, you can watch it on Amazon Prime Video.

7 Climate Change: The Facts

David Attenborough, a popular actor to voice over documentaries, provides his voice once again to Climate Change: The Facts. As the title says, the documentary goes over the facts of climate change, explaining them so that they are easier to understand. Additionally, it offers possible solutions to counteract it. Many critics claimed it was a call to arms and praised it for highlighting the dangers of climate change getting out of hand. If you’re still not entirely sure about what climate change means, or what it can do, you should definitely consider watching this on Amazon Prime Video.

Related: These Are the Best Nature Documentaries Streaming Right Now

6 Before the Flood

For three years, Leonardo DiCaprio traveled the world as he filmed Before the Flood. He and his co-creator / producer visited a variety of regions around the globe to explore the impact of climate change. As narrator, DiCaprio uses a lot of symbolism, often referencing a 15th-century painting known as The Garden of Earthly Delights, claiming it was like the present course of the world as it slowly moved towards potential ruin. He also focuses a lot on climate change denial in corporate lobbyists and politicians and how that damages everyone’s view on the subject. To get a hands-on look at the effects of global warming and hear more about how politicians are affecting it, you can find this documentary on Disney +.

5 An Inconvenient Truth

An Inconvenient Truth is a film that follows former President Al Gore’s campaign to educate people on climate change. It features a slideshow he often presented around the globe, and is the inspiration for the film itself. Not only does it reenact moments from Gore’s life that began to influence his concern for environmental issues. It goes over many scientific facts and opinions on climate change, as well as claiming the topic is not a political issue, but a moral one. This film has been credited for raising awareness to the problem and revitalizing the environmental movement. If you’d like to hear the former president’s words and experiences for yourself, you can check it out on Hulu or Amazon Prime Video.

4 Our Planet

The docuseries Our Planet focuses on the issues of conservation. Nature conservation is the attempt to protect endangered species and diversity in natural habitats. Because of climate change, these habitats have been damaged to the point that they have to be maintained or else they might go extinct. As we expand into the forests and jungles of the world, we remove land from these habitats, and it is only worsened for the animals when climate change brings about more destruction in the form of forest fires or melting ice caps. This series is available to watch on Netflix if you want to see the impact climate change has on the ecosystem for yourself.

3 Chasing Ice

Chasing Ice has an interesting narrator – James Balog was initially skeptical about climate change until his first trip north, after which he felt the need to bring this story to the public. With shots from glaciers in Greenland, Iceland, and Alaska, he and a team of scientists begins what is known as The Extreme Ice Survey. Their expedition was to capture the seasonal changes of glaciers using time-lapse photography. What they achieved were several time-lapse photographs that showed drastic erosion and even the disappearance of ancient glaciers. You can watch the highs, lows, and end results of this expedition on Amazon Prime Video.

Related: The Best Movies Based on Documentaries, Ranked

2 2040

The film 2040 is writer and director Damon Gameau imagining a future for his young daughter where the problem of climate change has been solved. It’s structured like a letter to his daughter as he travels around the world. During his travels he investigates solutions to the present day climate issues. All the solutions featured in the film are either already available to implement, or have realistic potential to help reverse climate change by 2040. The main focus, however, is on renewable energy and how certain changes in agriculture can help. If you’re interested in seeing all the solutions that could be implemented at any time, or even looking to see if you can help out too with a few of these ideas, you can watch this now on Hulu.

1 Chasing Coral

The director of Chasing Ice decided he wasn’t done making documentaries on climate change and went on to also create Chasing Coral. Just as the first was looking at the disappearance of glaciers over time thanks to climate change, this follows the same concept but with coral reefs. There are plenty of coral reefs out there disappearing and dying off for a multitude of reasons such as pollution and overfishing. A team of divers, scientists, and photographers worked together to document the decline of several coral reefs, showing that it’s not just what’s above the water that is being affected by climate change. If you’d like to see what’s happening in the ocean due to climate change for yourself, you can watch it now on Netflix.

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