Ten Documentaries You Must Watch To Understand Climate Change

22 de setembre de 2023

“The Earth does not belong to us: we belong to the Earth.” - Chief Seattle


Our planet is undergoing a period of dramatic change, as the forces of nature unleash their power in the form of floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes. From the devastating Morocco earthquake to the destructive Hurricane Lee and the massive floods in China, the impacts of climate change are being felt across the globe. This article aims to shed light on the importance of understanding these natural disasters and the changes our planet is experiencing, through the lens of documentaries and docuseries.

Climate change is causing more frequent and more severe natural disasters. Rising temperatures lead to higher sea levels and more intense rainfall, increasing the risk of flooding. Warmer ocean water fuels stronger hurricanes, while the shifting tectonic plates beneath the earth’s surface are leading to more frequent and powerful earthquakes. These events are not isolated; they are interconnected and have far-reaching impacts on people, ecosystems, and economies worldwide.


Unveiling the Wrath of Nature


the earth burns


Understanding the intricacies of these climatic changes and natural disasters is crucial, as they hold significant consequences for our future. Documentaries and docuseries offer a powerful medium to educate ourselves and others, as they present factual information in a compelling and accessible manner. By watching these films, we can gain a deeper understanding of the issues at hand, and be inspired to take action to mitigate the impacts of climate change and natural disasters.


The 10 best documentaries about climate change that you cannot miss:



Day Zero

the dry planet and a huge drop of water

By 2050, a quarter of global cities may face water shortages, but for Cape Town, the crisis is already here. Despite early warnings of drought and population growth, political inaction has led to a dire water shortage, threatening livelihoods and instigating a new form of apartheid. With the region at risk of social unrest, epidemics, and economic collapse, the documentary examines how this crisis unfolded despite scientific warnings and explores if there's still time to avert the worst outcomes.


Before The Flood

a man in a blue shirt with a beret one another a man in a dark shirt the same as his hair

Produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, this documentary explores the effects of climate change on our environment and what society can do to prevent its demise. DiCaprio meets with influential figures like Barack Obama, Pope Francis, and Elon Musk to discuss our challenges and potential solutions to combat rising sea levels, melting ice caps, and more.



a long-haired soldier points down a shotgun

In 1946, Canada captured 25 pairs of beavers and sent them to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, for fur trading. By 2014, the fur industry is forgotten, and the beavers, with no natural predators, have become a destructive plague. Chilean biologists, Derek and Giorgia, move to the island to study the infestation. To save the ecosystem, they must do the unthinkable: eradicate the beavers. This documentary examines the unintended consequences of human intervention in natural ecosystems.


Chasing Coral 

coral reef

This documentary dives into the mysterious world of coral reefs, which are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. A team of divers, photographers, and scientists set out on a thrilling ocean adventure to discover why the reefs are disappearing and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world.


The Water Law

amazon river

Is a Brazilian documentary that examines the link between Brazil's 2012 Forest Code and its ongoing water crisis. It highlights the critical role of forests in preserving Brazil's water resources and questions the impact of the new legislation on the ecosystem and its people, emphasizing that the availability and quality of water are directly influenced by the environmental laws dictating land use and vegetation restoration.


Years of Living Dangerously

a team of firefighters with helmets, one of them in yellow

This Emmy-winning series features first-hand accounts from people affected by hurricanes, droughts, and wildfires, revealing the human and environmental toll of these disasters. Celebrities and journalists like Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Thomas Friedman investigate the issues, meet with experts, and search for solutions.


The Lithium Revolution

an old red truck crosses a salt flat

As the world grapples with resource scarcity and rising energy costs, lithium is emerging as a vital natural resource, being a key component of rechargeable batteries used in portable electronics and electric vehicles. This makes it essential for the growth of electronic mobility. Over half of the world's lithium resources are located in Bolivia, where Evo Morales has expelled multinational corporations to locally industrialize lithium. Meanwhile, the Chinese government is heavily investing in e-technology, with an ambition to position China as a frontrunner in electric mobility in the coming years.


Fire in Paradise

a burning hole

This documentary chronicles the devastating Camp Fire that swept through Paradise, California, in 2018. It explores the factors that led to the fire, the experiences of the residents who were forced to flee, and the broader implications of managing wildfires in a changing climate.


The Reluctant Radical

a patriot with the american flag

The documentary chronicles the journey of activist Ken Ward, who confronts his deepest fears by taking direct action against the fossil fuel industry in a bid to combat climate change. Despite spending two decades at the helm of environmental organizations, Ward became progressively alarmed by the scientific proof of climate change and its potential consequences on civilization. Despite his initial attempts to advocate for a crisis-level response from within environmental bodies, he was met with failure. As a result, Ward now champions direct action and civil disobedience as the most potent political tools to address the looming catastrophe.


Hurricane: The Wind Odyssey

a ship in the middle of a storm

This documentary follows hurricane hunters as they embark on a perilous journey into the eye of the storm to gather data that could save lives. It explores the science behind hurricanes, their impact on communities, and the efforts to predict and mitigate their destructive power.


Climate change and the resulting natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods, pose significant challenges to our planet and its inhabitants. Documentaries and docuseries play a vital role in educating the public about these issues and inspiring action to address them. From the Morocco earthquake to Hurricane Lee and the floods in China, these films offer a compelling insight into the forces of nature and the challenges we face in a changing world.


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