10 Must-See Environmentally Conscious and Green Documentaries 

Anthropogenic climate change has been frequently in the news, especially over the past decade.

The vast majority of scientists accept it as a reality and warn that it could have dire consequences.

Our excessive use of carbon-based fossil fuels has been adding far more carbon to the atmosphere

and oceans than is normally there, and that extra carbon is altering the climate and the planet in

ways we only dimly understand.

Documentarians, especially over the past decade or so, have made a number of environmentally conscious

films to educate the public about climate change or related environmental crises.

An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

10 Must-See Environmentally Conscious and Green Documentaries 

Arguably the grandfather of the modern environmental documentary, An Inconvenient Truth

famously starred Al Gore who also wrote the screenplay and associated book.

The film portrayed Gore’s efforts to learn about climate change and then educate other people

about it.

An Inconvenient Truth convincingly argues that climate change is real, caused by human activity,

and potentially catastrophic.

An Inconvenient Truth is available for streaming on Showtime through DirecTV.

Food, Inc. (2008)

10 Must-See Environmentally Conscious and Green Documentaries 

Made by Robert Kenner, whose most recent project is an adaptation of the book Merchants of Doubt,

Food, Inc. is a documentary about industrial farming in the United States.

Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan narrate the film which depicts the harm industrial farming causes

to both humans and animals.

The resulting food is cheap but also unhealthy, and it is often contaminated by various toxins.

Many of the pesticides and fertilizers used in food production are petroleum-based.

Food, Inc. can be found on Netflix.

No Impact Man (2009)

10 Must-See Environmentally Conscious and Green Documentaries 

Based on the book by Colin Beavan, No Impact Man is about a man in New York City who

conducts a year-long experiment in which he tries to reduce his carbon footprint.

His self-imposed rules included only buying food that had been produced within 250 miles,

not using any paper products (even toilet paper), not using any transportation that used

fossil fuels and not producing any trash other than compost.

Tapped (2009)

10 Must-See Environmentally Conscious and Green Documentaries 

Tapped is Stephanie Soechtig’s debut film about the bottled water industry.

She and Jason Lindsey concentrated on the economic and ecological effects of the industry.

They described one study that found the plastic in the bottles contained harmful chemicals,

including known carcinogens.

The filmmakers also noted that 40% of bottled water is nothing more than filtered tap water–

and tap water can be had for free.

Tapped is not currently available for streaming online but their site has a number of ways to

buy, download, rent, or screen the film.

The End of the Line (2009)

10 Must-See Environmentally Conscious and Green Documentaries 

Directed by Robert Murray, The End of the Line is about overfishing, which scientists argue

will exterminate most fish species by 2050.

The bluefin tuna, for example, is on the verge of extinction because of the growing demand

for sushi.

The film describes the decimation of the cod population off the coast of Newfoundland, which

had once been the most abundant cod population in the world.

The film also suggests ways that people can save the remaining fish.

The End of the Line can be streamed and bought through various means.

Gasland (2010)

10 Must-See Environmentally Conscious and Green Documentaries 

Directed and written by Josh Fox, Gasland is a documentary about hydraulic fracturing

or fracking.

Fox begins his film about a letter he received in 2008 from a natural gas company that

wanted to lease his family’s land in order to drill for gas.

That inspired Fox to learn how communities were being affected by the boom in natural

gas drilling.

He found that some people had health problems due to contamination of their water or air.

Gasland can be streamed on Netflix.

Chasing Ice (2012)

10 Must-See Environmentally Conscious and Green Documentaries 

Chasing Ice tells of James Balog’s Extreme Ice Survey, a project in which he and a team

of environmental photographers used time-lapse cameras to records changes in the Arctic

glaciers of a period of several years.

The film is best known for its depiction of a glacier calving at Jakobshavn Glacier in Greenland

which someone compared to “watching a city break apart.”

Chasing Ice is not available for streaming but their site has various screening packages and their

DVD available for purchase.

More Than Honey (2012)

10 Must-See Environmentally Conscious and Green Documentaries 

More Than Honey is a Swiss documentary directed by Markus Imhoof.

The film describes colony collapse disorder, which scientists and beekeepers have been studying

since the late 1990s.

Colony collapse disorder is a pandemic that has decimated honeybee hives all over the world.

Since 80% of the world’s plant species require bees to pollinate them, the decline of the honeybee

will have wide-ranging consequences.

More Than Honey can be bought through their website.

Racing Extinction (2015)

10 Must-See Environmentally Conscious and Green Documentaries 

Louis Psihoyos, who had directed The Cove (2009) made Racing Extinction, which states that

the world is currently in the grip of a sixth mass extinction that could wipe out half the world’s

species by the end of the century.

The causes include the international wildlife trade and the increase in carbon in the atmosphere.

The oceans absorb some of that carbon and thus are becoming more acidic.

That acidity is killing off the world’s phytoplankton, which is the source of 50% of the world’s oxygen.

Racing Extinction is now in theaters for a limited time.

Under the Dome (2015)

10 Must-See Environmentally Conscious and Green Documentaries 

Under the Dome is a Chinese documentary about air pollution in that country.

The filmmaker, Chai Jing, was inspired to make it after her then-unborn daughter developed a tumor.

Believing that air pollution caused the tumor, Chai set out to find proof.

In the movie, she criticizes state-owned companies and the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

The Chinese government was angry and removed the documentary from various websites.

For that reason, it is not available for streaming anywhere but can still be found on YouTube.


All of the above films are warnings!

10 Must-See Environmentally Conscious and Green Documentaries 
Most-importantly, they educate, inform, raise awareness and encourage us to take actions to

protect the earth, our health, the  environment and the future of our natural resources.

While a majority were made in the United States, some were made in other countries which reflects

the global nature of the environmental problems facing us.

Similarly, many of the films depict a given crisis as affecting many different countries.


10 Must-See Environmentally Conscious and Green Documentaries 


About the Author:
Maria Ramos is a freelance writer currently living in Chicago. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a minor in Communication. She blogs about environmentally friendly tips, technological advancements, and healthy active lifestyles.



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