The best Earth Day movies now ready to stream
On 22 April 2020, the world will be celebrating 50 years of Earth Day, an annual worldwide event aiming to support environmental protection. To mark this key date, and in line with our own sustainability goals here at Broadway, we spent the last few months working on a programme of films, panels, training programmes and events focused on environmental issues to present throughout the month of April. Unfortunately, we're now unable to share this programme with you, so we thought we would offer up some alternatives you can find online so you can still get involved in Earth Day 50.
On Earth Day itself, we had worked in partnership with Into Film to present a free school screening of Chasing Coral (PG), a film which looks at the devastation global warming is having on our oceans and the coral that live therein; the film is available on Netflix. The director’s previous film, Chasing Ice (12A), which looks at the impact of rising temperatures on the world’s glaciers is also available online through documentary distributor Dogwoof. But global warming isn’t the only thing endangering our oceans, our love of plastic is also a major factor and A Plastic Ocean* – available on Netflix – looks at the extent of the problem. Pollution doesn’t just exist in our oceans but also, in the water we drink - Netflix’s There’s Something in the Water looks at how indigenous communities in Nova Scotia are affected by contaminated water and the part environmental racism plays in the wider conversation.
The clothes we wear also have a big impact on the world around us and The True Cost (12) – available on Amazon Prime – looks at how serious and global the problem is.
Of course, the food we eat is perhaps one of the most talked-about subjects in our quest to be more environmentally friendly. If you missed The Game Changers* (15), a documentary about the benefit of plant-based diets, you can now catch it on Netflix. The Biggest Little Farm* (PG), which follows a couple’s attempt to return to traditional farming is now also available online via Curzon Home Cinema. Korean master filmmaker Bong Joon-ho looked at the food and farming industries in his 2017 adventure drama, Okja* (15) which is available on Netflix.
Animals suffer a great deal from human intervention. The Last Animals* (12) – available on Netflix – looks at the damage done by poachers and how many species are now on the brink of extinction. If you missed Honeyland (12A) on our screens, a documentary about a woman using ancient beekeeping traditions to cultivate honey in North Macedonia, it is now online through Dogwoof.
Humans are losing their connection to Nature, and Studio Ghibli have always explored that relationship. Several of their films are now available on Netflix, including Princess Mononoke (PG), My Neighbor Totoro (U), Spirited Away (U) and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (PG). That connection is also explored in Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s gorgeous documentary Terra*, also available on Netflix.
By waiting to make the changes we desperately need to save the planet, we run the risk of losing it completely, and Franny Armstrong wondered what that might look like in her film The Age of Stupid (12A), which uses actual news footage. Bong Joon-ho took things ten steps further into darkness with his apocalyptic Snowpiercer (15) – both films are available on Amazon Prime.
But we can all do our bit to help and as more and more of us become activists, perhaps now is a good time to revisit a film like Erin Brockovich (15), now on Netflix; or Woman at War (12A), now on Curzon Home Cinema. Filmmakers Mélanie Laurent and Cyril Dion travelled the world in search of solutions in the brilliant documentary Tomorrow, which is available on their website. But perhaps no activist is more famous than David Attenborough, and many of his films about how beautiful our Earth is, and the challenges we now face, are available on BBC iPlayer for all to (re)discover.
For more information about Earth Day and what you can do to help, please visit earthday.org
*Please note, some films may contain upsetting footage, including of animals in distress. We recommend checking the BBFC’s online insight, when available, for more information.