Netflix, the worst thing to happen to the DVD industry but the best thing to happen to environmental movie lovers! Netflix destroyed the need for physical media like DVDs and BlueRay, something us Earth-lovers are quite thankful for, eliminating tons of yearly waste from plastic packaging, CD/DVD materials, etc. Besides doing us a favor and making movie night a little more environmentally friendly, Netflix has also given many of us unparalleled access to movies and tv-shows from virtually every genre.
Though there are hundreds of recommendations we could give for awesome shows and movies on Netflix, in this guide, we will focus on 13 of our favorite environmentalism and nature documentaries currently available on Netflix. Our picks range from heart-warming explorations of beautiful wildlife to truth-telling heavy-hitter docs covering climate change, pollution, and the ever-changing health of the environment. So, grab yourself some popcorn and sit back, here are our top 13 picks for our favorite environmental documentaries available on Netflix right now in 2020:
1. Our Planet
Narrated by everyone’s favorite voice of nature, David Attenborough, Our Planet is a unique look at the beauty of our world and how it has been impacted by climate change. With eight visually stunning episodes to get through, this Netflix original documentary will take you around the world to see how a huge number of species and eco-systems are holding up to climate change. Travel from the African planes and antelope to frozen mountains and Siberian tigers and experience the incredible diversity our planet has to offer.
2. A Plastic Ocean
A Plastic Ocean is a documentary uncovering the nasty truth about our disposable lifestyle. Single-use plastic and similar products are overrunning our oceans and waterways, wreaking havoc on the natural ecosystems and marine life therein. A Plastic Ocean explores the deep blue depths while showing the shocking quantity of plastic pollution present in our oceans. With a focus on uncovering reasonable and exciting solutions to the problem of plastic in the oceans, A Plastic Ocean will help you feel more hopeful for the possibility of a greener (or should we say bluer) planet.
3. Night on Earth
Narrated by award-winning actress Samira Wiley of Orange is the New Black, Night on Earth gives the audience an inside look at the rarely seen nocturnal world of wildlife. Featuring six episodes shot using new technology, this Netflix documentary features never-before-seen behavior from animals all around the world. Discover the secret world of bats, see big cats hunting at night, and see how wildlife has adapted to live in cities and towns, even late at night. An inspiring documentary chock-full of stunning night-time images, Night on Earth is sure to leave you in awe of the many nighttime habits you never knew about.
4. Chasing Coral
Pollution is on the rise, and among the many eco-systems being negatively impacted by wasteful practices are coral reefs. Coral is now disappearing at an unprecedented rate, one not seen before in recorded human history. Chasing Coral is the exciting, and sometimes dangerous, journey of a number of marine researchers hunting down the last remaining patches of coral. See the massive devastation caused by pollution and see the effects firsthand as you join researchers in exploring healthy, dying, and polluted coral reefs. Sound like a tear-jerker? It might be, but don’t worry, Chasing Coral is all about educating the public and making it known that it isn’t too late.
5. Earth’s Natural Wonders
From PBS comes a show about living to the extreme. No, we don’t mean this is a documentary about pro-skateboarders or people with tons of face tattoos, Earth’s Natural Wonders is all about people living in some of the world’s most extreme conditions. Humans have always adapted to their environment, but for many of us, living in some of these extreme climates would seem impossible. With a focus on human ingenuity and the ability to overcome ever the harshest challenges, Earth’s Natural Wonders brings you along to explore the lives of people living everywhere from the Arctic to the Outback.
6. Mission Blue
Like A Plastic Ocean, Mission Blue focuses on the health of our oceans and the threats impacting them. Follow the intoxicatingly enthusiastic Sylvia Earle, an oceanographer with a passion for environmentalism and education. Earle takes us along for a ride through some of the world’s most beautiful bodies of water, all the while sharing how overfishing, pollution, and toxic waste have impacted marine life and water quality. An Emmy Award-winning documentary, Mission Blue isn’t one you’ll want to miss.
If you are an animal lover, this one might not be for you, but if you are interested in learning more about how factory farming is impacting the planet, Cowspiracy is a great pick. One of the leading causes of deforestation, water consumption, greenhouse gas output and more, the meat industry and its impact on the planet have been largely ignored. Now, with concern over depleting resources at the forefront of many people’s minds, questions have been raised concerning the wasteful practices of the meat industry. From environmental activists turning a blind eye to the highly-destructive factory farming industry to humorous takes on the meatpacking industry, Cowspiracy will have you questioning everything you know about factory farming and mass-producing animals.
When Marty Travis, a 7th generation farmer, begins to see his community disappear and neighboring land be bought out by big agribusinesses, he decides to take a stand to fight for the future of his son, a possible 8th generation farmer. Featuring celebrity chef Rick Bayless, Sustainable covers the economic and environmental impacts of our current agricultural practices. Sustainable includes comments from farmers, environmental activists, and likeminded people striving to make a positive change to the agricultural industry.
9. The Universe
Take a step beyond the natural wonders of our planet and discover the incredible things the rest of the universe has to offer. Featuring the use of new technology enabling us to see what was only imaginable 50 years ago, The Universe divulges some of the secrets of space with never before seen footage of the planets, fascinating anomaly, and dangerous corners of the universe not yet explored by humankind. A History Channel production, The Universe is the perfect show for space fanatics and people seeking answers to the universe’s most burning questions...or maybe, you’ll just end up with more questions.
10. National Parks Adventure
Narrated by Robert Redford, National Parks Adventure is a cozy nature doc that shares the incredible splendor of US national parks. Traveling around the country to some of the nation’s most stunning natural landmarks, National Parks Adventures highlights both the beauty of these protected areas and the importance of keeping them intact and protected. Connect with nature and discover what these great expanses of land have meant historically for the nation’s first people, or simply sit back and enjoy the beautiful broad-sweeping views of these incredible landscapes.
11. Islands of the Future
As gas prices rise, natural resources steadily become non-existent, and projections for future life on Earth become bleaker, Islands of the Future focuses on several tiny islands off mainland Europe working to create a change for the future. Implementing renewable energy collection methods and rethinking how energy is consumed, these tiny islands could be creating the future of sustainable energy.
12. Poisoned Water
Pollution and wasteful practices impact everything, and though climate change is often the first factor cited when discussing global waste and pollution, water quality is an equally important matter. Poisoned Water explores the devastating effects of the Flint, Michigan water crisis, the events leading up to it, and the extreme measures still being taken to reverse the problem. With water pollution and a rapidly depleting global supply of potable water becoming an increasing concern, Poisoned Water offers a thoughtful take on a real-life water crisis happening right here on American soil.
13. Black Hole Apocalypse
Black holes have been a mystery to the world of science since their discovery. The very nature of a black hole is a mystery to even the most experienced astrophysicist, and their very existence has thus far appeared to be random. Now, researchers speculate black holes may be the key to uncovering how the universe was made, the origins of Earth and other planets, and indeed, the very existence of humanity. Black Hole Apocalypse takes you on a tour of the history of black hole science and discovery and gives you an inside look into the latest theories surrounding these mysterious dark spots in the universe.Are you an environmentalism fanatic that wants to learn more about leading a green life? Visit Wowe Lifestyle online or visit our blog to learn more about all things environmental.