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Lockdown TV: 8 must-watch films about our planet

We’re coming up to our first weekend in Lockdown 3 and with nowhere to go and temperatures inching close to zero, we’ll be plonking ourselves on the sofa for some back-to-back binge-watching. If your plans are looking similar, check out our list of hard-hitting, truth-talking, inspirational movies and documentaries about the environment to get you through lockdown this month.

2040 (2019)

With a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, 2040 takes the grim and depressing stereotype of ‘traditional’ climate change documentaries and completely turns it on its head – with optimism. Using technologies that already exist today, director Damon Gameau imagines a cleaner, greener world 20 years from now. He meets inspirational changemakers around the globe to experience the positive changes already happening in the world and envisions a solutions-driven future. An uplifting exercise in fact-based dreaming.

Where to watch?

From £3.49 on YouTube and Google Play

From £4.49 on Amazon Prime

Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things (2015)

Matt D’Avella’s award-winning documentary with Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus (aka The Minimalists) examines materialism from all angels, taking the audience inside the lives of minimalists from all walks of life – and ultimately encourages us to do more with less. Part 2 of the documentary ‘The Minimalists: Less Is Now’ also came out recently.

Where to watch?

On Netflix

An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

The global warming film that re-energised the environmental movement. This seminal 2006 documentary by former US Vice President Al Gore began as a slide show and ended up as an Academy Award winning movie. Gore’s science-based presentation raised public awareness of climate change and is still used in science classes in schools around the world.

Where to watch?

From £2.49 on YouTube

From £2.49 on Amazon Prime

A Life On Our Planet (2020)

If you’re a fan of David Attenborough’s cheerful narrations in Planet Earth or Blue Planet, you might be surprised by the more sombre tone of his new film, a self-proclaimed ‘witness statement’ charting humanity’s impact on nature. A Life On Our Planet makes the case for restoring biodiversity across the globe – with jaw-dropping cinematography and valuable learnings to take into 2021.

Where to watch?

On Netflix

WALL-E (2008)

Originally developed under the title ‘Trash Planet’, this iconic Pixar movie has a surprisingly poignant message, criticising human waste management systems by picturing a garbage-covered, abandoned earth 8 centuries from now. It may be computer-animated and it may be science fiction, but the Golden Globe Award-winning film creates a sense of nostalgia for a real-life world we are already in danger of losing.

Where to watch?

On Disney+

From £2.49 on YouTube

From £2.49 on Amazon Prime

Kiss The Ground (2020)

A documentary about soil may not sound like the most riveting watch, but this fascinating documentary, narrated by none other than Woody Harrelson, is a revelation: demonstrating how the Earth’s climate can be completely stabilised through regenerative agriculture. It’s a hopeful, solutions-driven film that draws a clear link between healthy soil and a healthy planet.

Where to watch?

On Netflix

From £0.78 on Vimeo

Free for educational purposes

Virunga (2014)

This British documentary shines a light on the conservation work of park rangers in the Virunga National Park, home to the world’s last mountain gorillas. Director Orlando von Einsiedel exposes the role of Soco International, an oil and gas exploration company (now Pharos Energy Plc) in the M32 Rebellion as it begins exploring oil opportunities in Virunga. The film put so much pressure on Soco International to put an end to its exploration for oil within the World Heritage Site that they published a joint statement with WWF after the film’s release agreeing to cease activities in Virunga.

Where to watch?

On Netflix

Dark Waters (2019)

This legal thriller tells the true story of lawyer Robert Bilott (played by Mark Ruffalo) and his headline-garnering case against chemical manufacturing company DuPont. Robert’s research uncovered the contamination of an entire city in West Virginia, with detrimental effects on human health and nature, caused by DuPont’s chemical waste. An inspirational story of one man’s determination to tackle an entire corporation.

Where to watch?

From £2.49 on Amazon Prime