Seven Documentaries That Changed How We Interact With Our Planet

Our planet is in trouble. The effects of human impact on the planet are already visible with the melting of ice sheets, increased CO2 in the atmosphere, the potential of a megafauna extinction, and massive garbage patches floating in our oceans. It can all be pretty overwhelming.

So what can we do as individuals? We need transportation. We need food. We need shelter. Longterm solutions often entail a level of sacrifice that most people aren’t willing to make. Whereas short term solutions can feel like putting a Band-Aid on a trauma wound. The situation demands a global shift in mindset.

Enter the documentary film. For decades, documentaries have made a dramatic impact on public opinion across a wide range of topics. In the field of ecology, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth essentially jumpstarted the green movement. In the years since, other documentaries have widened and deepened the conversation.

Are we on path to salvation? Or apocalypse? It’s hard to say these days. Maybe some of these movies can help us find the answers.


Al Gore’s lecture film was a juggernaut that launched a whole genre of climate change documentaries (and, it could be argued, the TED phenomenon). It also won him an Oscar and Nobel Peace Prize (along with every other award).

Ten years later, we seem to have arrived at Gore’s “tipping point.” Is the battle already lost? That’s hard to say. On one hand, parts of the world are being torn apart due to adverse weather caused by global warming. On the other hand, we’ve made incredible advancements in breaking our dependence on fossil fuels.

The fight for our future rages on.


This documentary is a living example of just how shockingly fast ice sheets are melting and plunging into our oceans.