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Top Climate Documentaries of 2019

For those of you that are fans of documentaries and visual learners we have put together a list of documentary recommendations. Film has an incredible way of taking the issues that we see and know exist around us and creating a captivating visual witness statement.

1. 2040

Directed by Damon Gameau, 2040 is an Australian documentary that offers a visual of the world 20 years from now if the solutions for climate change are implemented. This film centers itself on and takes a solution-based approach to the issue that is climate change. Taking such an approach allows us to imagine the possibility of such a world and helps combat feelings of helplessness that many feel towards the climate crisis.

Stemming from his growing concern for her future, 2040 serves as a vision board and letter to his 4-year old (at the time of filming) daughter. To write this letter, Damon embarks on travels across the world exploring new solutions to various climate related issues. Explored in this journey are the possibilities of renewable energy, regenerative agricultural practices and marine permaculture.

Available to view: Amazon, Google Play, Itunes

2. Our Planet

For those that hate the crush of finishing an 90 minute documentary, this incredible docuseries is definetely for you.

Our Planet is a British nature docuseries that iis narrated by David Attenborough, Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek. The series focuses on higlighting the importance of conservation and the grave impact that human activity is having on the environment and other living beings. The focus the series places on the impacts of climate change is what sets it apart from many other nature documentaries. Above all else it provides a voice for creatures that cannot speak for themselves.

The brilliance that is Our Planet took 4 years of filming across 50 different countries and over 600 crew members to create. The docuseries has only one season but features eight episodes. Taking us on an phenomenal journey that get's up close with an array of animals and creatures, each episode is set in a different habitat. From high seas to deserts and polar regions we are shown corners of the world we often forget. The diversity showcased in this docuseries is like none other but most importantly it serves as a necessary reminder of the diverse wildlife that humans share the planet with.

Check out Our Planet's website for more resources.

Available to view: Netflix

3. Ice on Fire

Similar to 2040, Ice on Fire focuses on exploring the solutions that provide a means to slow down and reverse the damage of climate change. In this way the documentary offers some form of hope that all is not lost and there is still much that can be done.

The documentary attempts to convey scientific facts and knowledge that is essential to such solutions, in a way that is approachable and available to all viewers. Featuring interviews with scientists, farmers and visionaries the film tells the story of those that are on the frontlines of the ongoing climate crisis. The film highlights the importance of adopting techniques of both traditional and new in the fight against climate change. Such approaches include tidal energy, sea farms and bionic leaves.

Filmed across various corners of the globe, this film also takes on travels to places such as Switzerland, Costa Rica, Iceland and Colorado.

Available to view: HBO

4. Aquarela

Without any narration this documentary takes on the grave journey of capturing the life of water across the globe. Without the presence of narration the water truly speaks for itself. This is one of the many points of credit awarded to this film as it allows nature to have its own voice and tell its own story. This creates a truly immersive experience for viewers.

Filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky attempted to make the film as fluid and authentic in its potrayal of water by improvising the locations of filming and doing so without a script.

However, with all the beauty that is shown in the film the behind-the-scenes was a very dangerous and strenous journey for the crew. Facing hurricanes, ocean storms and flooding landscapes this film displays a raw cinematic piece while simultaneously highlighting the rising sea levels and melting of ice.

Available to view: Amazon and STARZ

5. Fire in Paradise

Fire in Paradise documents extreme weather events that are becoming increasingly dire as climate change progresses. Focusing on wildfires, this film depicts the story of a small wildfire that dramatically spread throughout Paradise, California in 2018. A wildfire that took the lives of 85 people and countless animals and creatures, displaced thousands of residents and destroyed over 18,000 buildings. Reported to be one of the most disastrous and deadliest in Californian history, the story of survivors, firefighters and scientific experts is told.

As the globe continues to warm events such as these are becoming more frequent and increasingly damaging. While the film may be upsetting it is important as it allows a visual for all on the vast and grave effects that such events are having on the planet and all its inhabitants.

Available to view: Netflix and Amazon

6. Lowland Kids

This documentary is a fantastic short film that depicts the lies of the last two teenagers on their small island, Isle de Jean Charles, in Louisiana.

As a result of the rising sea levels the coast of Louisiana continues to be erased, thus sinking the island and displacing the inhabitants that call it home. This film documents the struggle and fight for the teenagers to stay on the the island that has been called home by their family for generations before them.

Though a short film, spanning just 22 minutes, it is beatifully done and respectfully tells the stories of all those directly effected by the impacts of climate change.

Available to view: Vimeo and YouTube


Honorary mention: Chasing Coral (2017)

While this documentary was not released in 2019 like those above, this is a personal favourite. This film is undoubtedly tear-jerking due to the beautiful and attentive ways the crew captured the life and loss of coral reefs. Watching this you can tell what coral reefs mean not only to their inhabitants but to the scientists, photographers and divers that are in such close contact with them. Their lives are entangled with the coral reefs.

We would love to know if you have watched any of these documentaries and what you thought of them. If you have any documentary suggestions of a similar theme to the topics discussed in these, let us know!

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