September 28, 2022

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10 Earth Day Movies to Watch If You Want to Save the Planet

Every year, the state of the planet becomes direr. And every year, Earth Day is the perfect opportunity for climate activists to spread their message far and wide.

This Earth Day 2022, take some time to reflect on the state of the planet that has, and always will be, your home. It’s the perfect time to watch a documentary, whether it’s about sustainable farming or the cute polar cubs who are losing their habitat. And of course, streaming services have got you covered with oodles of Earth Day content, including several new movies that began streaming today—like The Biggest Little Farm: The Return and Polar Bear, both now streaming on Disney+.

If you’re not in the mood for a documentary, you can get lost in a fictional story while still thinking about the environment with movies like Okja and Don’t Look Up on Netflix. Whatever you’re in the mood for, there’s something streaming for you. To help you cut through the noise, Decider has assembled a list of ten Earth Day movies, all available to watch free on a streaming service, below.

And if you’re feeling fired up and ready to take action after you watch these titles, check out the official Earth Day website for ways to get involved in the environmental movement.


1

‘The Biggest Little Farm: The Return’ (2022)

Photo: Disney+

Streaming on: Disney+

In 2018, husband and wife John and Molly Chester told their story of leaving behind their modern life in Los Angeles to devote their days to rebuilding an ecosystem on a neglected lemon farm in Southern California. Now, in this new special for Earth Day 2022, here’s your chance to catch up with the Chesters’s life on Apricot Lane Farm. After 10 years of hard work, the family demonstrates how hard work and dedication to maintaining biodiversity can lead to a life of harmony between humans and nature.

Watch The Biggest Little Farm: The Return on Disney+


2

‘Polar Bear’ (2022)

POLAR BEAR DISNEY PLUS MOVIE
Photo: Disney+

Streaming on: Disney+

Everyone knows polar bears have a lot to lose in the face of a rapidly warming Earth. But, in this new Disney Nature documentary narrated by Catherine Keener, audiences won’t be able to emotionally detach from the bears’ increasingly challenging struggle to survive amid climate change. Directed by Alastair Fothergill and Jeff Wilson, the documentary tells the story of a new mother bear fighting to keep her cubs alive. You’ll want a box of tissues for this one.

Watch Polar Bear on Disney+


3

‘Eating Our Way to Extinction’ (2021)

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Photo: Courtesy Everett Collection

Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video

If you’ve been thinking about going vegan but need that extra push, then this documentary is for you. Narrated by Kate Winslet, Eating Our Way to Extinction takes a hard look at the food industry and all the ways food production is damaging not just our planet, but the humans living on it. You’ll never see a grocery store the same way again.

Watch Eating Our Way to Extinction on Prime Video


4

‘Seaspiracy’ (2021)

Ali Tabrizi (Filmmaker and avid ocean-lover) in Seaspiracy. c. Lucy Tabrizi
Photo: Lucy Tabrizi / Netflix

Streaming on: Netflix

Maybe you’re not ready to give up all meat for the sake of Mother Earth just yet. That’s OK—but, at the very least, you’ll want to give up shrimp, especially after you watch this disturbing film about the commercial fishing industry by director Ali Tabrizi. Though it started as a film about plastic pollution, Seaspiracy makes some shocking accusations against the industry, including corruption, cover-ups, and even slavery. It will make you think twice before ordering a shrimp cocktail.

Watch Seaspiracy on Netflix


5

‘Okja’ (2017)

OKJA
Photo: Netflix

Streaming on: Netflix

Looking for a non-documentary film to watch on Netflix this Earth Day? Then you should check out Okja from Oscar-winning filmmaker Bong Joon-ho (Parasite). This adventure film tells the story of a young Korean girl and her pet “super pig” named Okja, and hits on themes of environmentalism, animal cruelty, and population growth on our planet. Doesn’t get more Earth Day than that.

Watch Okja on Netflix


6

‘Jane’ (2017)

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Photo: Everett Collection / Everett Collection

Streaming on: Disney+

Jane Goodall is one of the most highly admired environmental conservationists, and if you don’t know her story, then this 2017 documentary from director Brett Morgen is worth the watch. Morgen pulls from over 100 hours of archival footage, detailing Goodall’s journey into chimpanzee research, which would not only lead to breakthrough scientific discovery but would also change the hearts and minds of the public’s relationship to the animal kingdom around the world.

Watch Jane on Disney+


7

‘I Am Greta’ (2022)

I AM GRETA
Photo: Hulu

Greta Thunberg has become the face of the climate change movement, but watch five minutes of Hulu’s I Am Greta documentary, and you’ll see that she never wanted to be. Directed by Swedish filmmaker Nathan Grossman, this film follows the young activist from when she was just 15 and completely unknown, and yet nevertheless leading her school in a strike to demand her government take action against climate change. A few months later, over 20,000 students across the globe were joining her. You’ll come away in awe of her determination and you’ll feel motivated to do more for the young generation who will inherit the earth.

Watch I Am Greta on Hulu


8

‘Ice on Fire’ (2019)

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Photo: Courtesy of HBO

Streaming on: HBO and HBO Max

When it comes to documentaries about climate change, it’s easy to fall into a vortex of doom and gloom. And it’s true that director Leila Conners does spend a fair amount of time in this Leonardo DiCaprio-produced documentary outlining how dire the climate change situation is. But she also explores potential solutions, by breaking down the many new technologies and breakthroughs on reversing climate change made in the past ten years, from growing kelp to tidal wave energy.

Watch Ice on Fire on HBO and HBO Max


9

‘Don’t Look Up’ (2021)

DON'T LOOK UP
Photo: NIKO TAVERNISE/NETFLIX

Streaming on: Netflix

While Adam McKay’s derisive satire—all one big metaphor for climate change—was divisive, I couldn’t help but admire it. It isn’t even so much of a movie as it is a very expensive, very angry rant. But it’s a fascinating rant. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence star as two low-level astronomers who discover an asteroid that will destroy the earth—and then they discover that no one, and least of all the U.S. government, seems to care. It’s a metaphor for climate change that also applies to the pandemic, and while it’s bitter and disjointed and grim, it feels like McKay has a point. Doesn’t it feel like we should all be screaming incoherently?

Watch Don’t Look Up on Netflix


10

‘Oceans’ (2009)

OCEANS, 2009. ©Disneynature/courtesy Everett Collection
Photo: ©Walt Disney Co./Courtesy Everett Collection

Streaming on: Disney+

It may be over a decade old, Disney Nature, but this French documentary from Disney Nature is more relevant than ever. Narrated by Pierce Brosnan in the English version, it’s a moving look at why the “blue” aspect of our big blue planet is so dang important—and why it’s vital that we protect it.

Watch Oceans on Disney+