Netflix has compiled a great list of horror flicks in time for Halloween – from classic to indie to new chiller thrillers for the occasion, but if you really want to feel scared, watching a series of environmental documentary films showing us how the natural world is fading can also do the trick.
The way we have lived for the last few centuries has been causing biodiversity on this planet to decline. Our species has been productive in its planetary destruction: poisoning the atmosphere, unleashing toxic chemical combinations that harm human and environmental health; logging and burning old-growth rainforests, clearing land for cattle; trawling oceans for short-term profit and the list goes on.
And if that doesn’t alarm you, the newly installed climate clock in New York City indicates that we only have seven years and 99 days left (at the time of writing) before the damage we have caused becomes irreversible.
The Earth has a deadline. That is our terrifying reality. That is our true-to-life horror story.
Want to deepen your knowledge and understanding of the environmental and climate change issues we face? Netflix has released a number of documentary films on nature and climate change that you can watch.
So reschedule your horror movie marathon and instead educate yourself about the horrifying things happening to our planet. No thriller can compare to our present actuality.
Fossil fuels aren’t the only contributing factor causing climate change. Damaged and eroded soils also release carbon dioxide which, as many now know, contribute to the changing climate. Unfortunately because of chemical farming, agricultural soil has depleted 85% of its nutrients in the last hundred years.
Kiss the Ground, a new 90-minute environmental film narrated by actor and environmentalist Woody Harrelson, explores a solution to the planet’s climate crisis– soil regeneration. Soil helps combat climate change because it plays an important role in the carbon cycle by sequestering carbon. Through regeneration, the film surmises that we can achieve balance to our climate, replenish water supplies and since 95% of our food comes from the soil, a healthy soil can better feed the world. Thanks to this doco, we might just soon be kissing the ground for the soil’s ability to not just give life but save lives.
English broadcaster and 94-year-old naturalist David Attenborough has been all over the world to document and capture the beauty of the wild. In his latest film A Life on Our Planet Attenborough gives his witness statement, an account of what the devastating changes has observed on our planet in the last 70 years. The documentary begins in Chernobyl in Ukraine, the location of the worst industrial tragedy in history; a nuclear disaster of such enormity that it caused the evacuation of 5,000 residents and continues to remain a human ghost town even though nature and wildlife has returned to the area.
“Chernobyl was a single event,” Attenborough says in the film. “The true tragedy of our times is still unfolding, across the globe, barely noticeable from day to day. I’m talking about the loss of our planet’s wild places, its biodiversity.”
One of the most surprising nature documentaries to date for its tender, emotional and empowering story of a one-year bond forged between free diver and filmmaker Craig Foster and an octopus he befriends off the coast of South Africa. My Octopus Teacher has both inspired as well as moved many viewers to tears; exposing how little we truly know of other sentient creatures that we share the Earth with. An uplifting and touching film for the entire family, this is a film guaranteed to inspire you to open your eyes and heart to nature’s wonder and form a deeper relationship to the natural world all around you so that are inclined to protect and preserve the most crucial thing on the planet – life.
4. CHASING ICE
Chasing Ice is an award-winning documentary on climate change that follows National Geographic photographer James Balog as he captures the world’s melting glaciers and documents the overwhelming evidence that the climate is changing on our planet. Thanks to Balog’s stunning visuals, anybody who watches this film will see how breathtaking our home is and will only come to one realization – now is the time to save Earth and ourselves.
5. OUR PLANET
Bringing renewed meaning to the term ‘interconnectedness’, Our Planet is a groundbreaking film created by collaborating partners WWF, Silverback Films and Netflix. This environmental doco captures the beauty and the sad but terrifying truth of what is happening to our planet; exploring how climate change impacts all living creatures. Our Planet showcases compelling evidence that when one part of the entire ecosystem is impacted, we all are because we are all interconnected. This Emmy Award-winning documentary is a must-watch with your family and kids.
The ocean is a vast and mysterious place and it can be quite a challenge to fully grasp how our human activities impact this water underworld, but the Chasing Coral documentary changes all of this. With stunning visuals, we get to dive deep and witness how corals are dying as a result of a warming planet. It took three years, 500 hours of underwater footage and a team of photographers to film this masterpiece but it was well worth it; now it’s crystal clear the effects of climate change has on our seas and how it destroys coral reefs in Hawaii, Caribbean Islands and Australia.
Every year, about eight million tonnes of plastic is being dumped in our ocean and by 2050, it’s anticipated that there will be more microplastic in the ocean than fish! Award-winning documentary A Plastic Ocean explores the deteriorating sea life and the fragile condition of our ocean; the result of modern human lifestyles built around plastic convenience. This eye-opening and at times heartbreaking documentary features scientists, film-makers, social entrepreneurs, scholars, environmentalists and journalists in an effort to inspire real change and encourage us to live a life with less plastic.
Set in the wilderness of Botswana, Naledi tells the true story of an orphaned baby elephant as the keepers and the scientists taking care of the herd becomes Naledi’s surrogate mothers. This documentary doesn’t just share the story of one elephant but shows viewers the different threats to all African elephants such as poaching, habitat loss and of course, climate change.
9. MISSION BLUE
An awe-inspiring documentary that inspires positive action to protect the ocean, Mission Blue led by legendary oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle and global coalition of scientists and advocates, educates viewers on the threats facing the ocean and why some marine hotspots are critical to the health of the ocean and need to be formally protected. The documentary also hopes to raise public awareness and influence policy and permanent change in business and individual habits to reduce pollution and destruction.
There’s no denying that despite the overwhelming scientific evidence being presented across the world, climate deniers still exist. This two-hour, backed-by-science documentary will take you one step closer to winning the debate about global warming and provides further proof that what is being observed across the world is more than just unusual weather patterns.
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Cover image of My Octopus Teacher via Netflix.