Looking for a nature fix but don't have time to get outside or scroll through an overwhelming selection of TV shows and movies? Not to fear! We asked conservationists from The Nature Conservancy in Colorado to share their favorite environmental documentaries to help narrow your search. Check out the list below so you can stream science from the comfort of your couch.
(Note: Most of these films are available on popular streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu, Vimeo, iTunes, or Amazon. Exactly which service depends on your location.)
I Am Greta (2020, Hulu)
The story of teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg is told through compelling, never-before-seen footage in this intimate documentary from Swedish director Nathan Grossman. Starting with her one-person school strike for climate action outside the Swedish Parliament, Grossman follows Greta—a shy student with Asperger’s—in her rise to prominence and her galvanizing global impact as she sparks school strikes around the world. The film culminates with her extraordinary wind-powered voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to speak at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City.
Life in Color with David Attenborough (2021, Netflix)
Animals can use color for all kinds of different reasons. Starring David Attenborough, this docuseries uses innovative technology to explore nature from a fresh perspective as animals use color to survive and thrive in the wild.
Kiss The Ground (2020, Netflix)
A natural solution to the negative impacts of climate change can be found right under our feet. Kiss the Ground highlights the ways soil and regenerative agriculture can not just halt climate change, but reverse some of its effects. The star-studded documentary feature offers a more optimistic view of humanity's power to help save the planet by using existing science and conservation methods that will leave you feeling hopeful for the future.
Chasing Coral (2017, Netflix)
What does a reef look like as it dies? The answer is more beautiful and disturbing than you ever imagined. Chasing Coral follows a team of scientists, divers and underwater photographers as they race to document the unprecedented coral bleaching event that devastated reefs around the world in 2016.
The Age of Nature (2020, PBS)
“How we live with nature now will determine our future.”
This line, from the opening sequence of the documentary series The Age of Nature, underscores the complex, interdependent connection between people and nature that persists today.
The three-part series, produced by Brian Leith in consultation with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and airing on PBS, demonstrates how much we rely on the natural world, how we’ve changed it—and how our ability to change our relationship with nature today could determine our survival.
Gather (2020, Amazon)
Gather is an extraordinary film that celebrates Indigenous food sovereignty by spotlighting the stories of individuals that are working to reclaim traditional foods in order to share their knowledge with the next generation. The documentary also speaks to the centuries of physical and cultural genocide that has occurred and how connection to land and food can help heal trauma.
My Octopus Teacher (2020, Netflix)
In the wake of a breakdown, South African filmmaker Craig Foster turns to daily swims in the freezing ocean that help him change his life. During his underwater adventures, he encounters a curious common octopus, and over the course of several months the two form an unlikely bond. Foster becomes ever-more obsessed with the octopus' world, mapping her entire ecosystem in an effort to locate her den and watching as she fends off predatory sharks. The resulting film is deeply personal and well-worth the hype.
Wild Florida (2020, PBS)
Florida is well-known for its beaches, blue water and year-round sun, but it also has a surprising wild side. Wild Florida, a recent documentary series from PBS Nature, tells the story the resilience of the state's ecosystems. Learn how the Sunshine State continues to weather threatening storms with the help of pioneering scientists and ongoing conservation efforts.
TNC North Florida Conservation Manager David Printiss is featured in the documentary to discuss the importance of forest management and the role prescribed burns play in restoring landscapes in the region.
Saving Beauty (2020, A Virtual Film Festival Near You)
"Living with the rare ones among us."
Dotted across the American Southwest, arid-land wetlands are home to endangered animals and plants species found nowhere else on earth. Sadly, after 150 years of development, overgrazing and climate change, ciénegas are considered one of the most threatened ecosystems in the United States. Saving Beauty successfully amplifies the importance of these habitats and rare species by sharing the unique ways Southwestern communities are working to conserve these wetlands before its too late.
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