Nature’s narratives: Movies that matter this Earth Day

Environmentally conscious films & documentaries to watch today.

This Earth Day, immerse yourself in the power of storytelling through our curated list of must-watch films. Each movie not only entertains but also educates and inspires viewers about environmental issues and the beauty of our natural world. 

From documentaries that explore the effects of climate change to feature films that fight the devastating impact of our fragile world, these selections promise to fuel your passion for our planet in a fun and engaging way.

Planet Earth

BBC iPlayer

Credit: Hydroplaning Dolphins | Planet Earth | BBC Earth (BBC Earth, YouTube)

Let’s start with a non-movie, but we’re sure you’ll excuse us for this entry as you can never go wrong with a good David Attenborough docuseries, especially the well-beloved trio that is the Planet Earth series.

Taking you through some of the world’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders, Planet Earth delivers on an unparalleled level, with stunning imagery and breathtaking cinematography that brings every scene to life so you can experience nature's wildlife as if it were there in front of you.

Don’t Look Up

Netflix

Credit: DON'T LOOK UP | Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence | Official Trailer | Netflix (Netflix, YouTube)

Don’t Look Up delivers a satirical view of the earth in the event of a global catastrophe, mainly exaggerating the ignorance of the masses as to the impending doom but in a way that seems entirely plausible.

With its star-studded cast featuring Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio, Timothee Chalamet, Meryl Streep and many more, the film is somewhat a frustrating watch not for it being bad but because of the actions and thought processes of those in charge in the film. 

Wall-E

Disney+

Credit: WALL∙E’s “Day At Work” (WallEMovie, YouTube)

A family-friendly entry next in the form of Wall-E that paints a bleak picture of an unkind future for the earth but presented in a fun and adorable way with loveable themes.

Wall-E is not expressly designed to bring awareness to an issue, instead looking at how relationships can still form in dire scenarios. However, for the older watches, reading and understanding the themes between the lines does add further levels to the story.

Cowspiracy & Seaspiracy

Netflix

Credit: COWSPIRACY - Official Trailer - HD (COWSPIRACY: the sustainability secret, YouTube)

Where Planet Earth displays the beauty that can be found on our little rock, Cowspiracy and Seaspiracy highlight the horrors that go on within.

Both documentaries explore the human impacts of two major issues that go largely unseen to the majority but have everlasting and irreparable damage to our planet. Be warned if these are your picks to watch today though, they are not as cuddly as Wall-E.

Polar Bear

Disney+

Credit: Official Trailer | Disneynature’s Polar Bear | Disney+ (Walt Disney Studios, YouTube)

Another fun watch for all the family, Polar Bear follows a mother polar bear and her cubs as they swim across the waters that was once the ice of the Arctic Tundra while narrating the story of how the mother survived during her youth.

While it is a nice watch which may have the kids falling in love with the little polar bear family, the message is made clear by the end.

Earthsounds

Apple TV+

Credit: Earthsounds — Official Trailer | Apple TV+ (Apple TV, YouTube)

Viewing nature and wildlife is one thing, but what Earthsounds does is display the untold ways animals communicate around the world.

A new series recently released on Apple TV with the voice of Tom Hiddleston as the narrator, take in the sounds of our planet's fauna like you never have heard before.

Avatar

Disney+

Credit: The Seeds of the Sacred Tree Scene - Avatar (2009) Movie Clip HD (BestClips, YouTube)

Pandora's not our world, but the beauty and the message within the films still ring true to ours. While the two films in the Avatar series may be seen simply as box office heavyweights, the stories told within paint a picture of the human impact on a foreign world, its nature, its living beings and its ecosystem within.

The visual effects of both films bring the world of Pandora to life, setting sceneries of beauty and vibrant nature that can flourish with co-habitation. The harder-hitting story within shows the true-to-life impact - or more destruction - humans can and do have on a planet's natural state.

Before The Flood

Disney+

Credit: Before the Flood - Trailer | National Geographic (National Geographic, YouTube)

Leonardo DiCaprio is back, this time as himself in Before the Flood, a documentary that takes an in-depth look into the causes and effects of climate change.

Away from the big screen, Leo has the future of the world at heart, and this documentary puts his ideals on full display as he meets with scientists, activists and world leaders to discuss the dangers of climate change and attempts to identify possible solutions.

Our Great National Parks

Netflix

Credit: Our Great National Parks | Final Trailer | Netflix | #WildForAll (Netflix, YouTube)

The 44th President of the United States Barack Obama takes up the role of the narrator for this docuseries which discovers the secrets and the wonders of the planet’s greatest national parks.

With the executive producer behind Blue Planet II attached to this project, the footage within the series brilliantly brings its nature to life.

The Day the Earth Caught Fire

Apple TV+

Credit: The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961) Trailer | BFI DVD / Blu-ray (BFI, YouTube)

Rounding off with an old classic from 1961, The Day the Earth Caught Fire used real-world events from the time to deliver a story of despair turned to hope - potentially.

The ending is left open with no definitive answer to the events within the movie, mirroring the openness of life itself, what the future holds for us if we carry on down this path and whether the effects that have been taken already has taken us too far gone.

Nature films & series on streaming sites

The 10 films listed above are all available to view now, but these are only our suggestions. On any of the streaming services, there are a plethora of other documentaries and docuseries that uncover our lively planet or bring awareness to issues, as well as films and series based on potential world events.

There are so many projects to choose from, so be sure to pick the one that feels right to you and become immersed or more aware of the world around you this Earth Day.

Disney+

Disney+ includes National Geographic amongst its programming, bringing even more fantastic series and documentaries to choose from, while Sky Nature brings original programming as well as content from Canadian channel Love Nature and Sky’s collection of David Attenborough’s programming.

Netflix

Netflix celebrates Earth Month with a category with a wide selection of films to choose from that deal with nature.

There’s plenty to choose from, some that don’t expressly have a message and others that make theirs clear.

Apple TV+

Apple TV+ is commemorating Earth Day by celebrating its slate of award-winning original programming that highlights the wonders of the planet.

Season two of Jane is just one of their many projects on offer, be sure to check out their full range available.

Sky 

With Sky, you can choose from their original content on Sky Nature or find so much more available on-demand.

It’s all available to you with any Sky Entertainment package, plus it comes with Netflix and Discovery+ so there’s even more to choose from.

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