Curated Collections: 5 Essential Climate Change Documentaries

From bee hives to plastic bags, continue to learn about climate change after Earth Day with these critical films.

In recent years, climate change has been brought to the forefront of American politics. We hear stories worldwide of ice caps melting, forests burning and higher levels of pollution both in the air and in our oceans. Some fear our efforts may be futile when the damage is irreparable. 

We celebrate Earth Day annually on April 22, a day to treasure the planet that we live on and join in support of the environmental movement. There are many ways we can educate ourselves on our impact on the environment, and one of the best ways is through film. Here are five documentaries that tell the story of climate change and what we, as global citizens, can do to help the cause. 


More Than Honey 

Dir. by Markus Imhoof 

“More Than Honey” offers viewers an inside look at the inner mechanisms of a beehive. Through beautiful cinematography, the film tells us the importance of bees in our present and future. It shares a quote from Albert Einstein: “if the bee disappeared off the face of the Earth, man would only have four years left to live.” Pollinating over 80% of our crops, there isn’t a demographic that wouldn’t grieve the demise of bees.  As we follow beekeepers and hear their expertise, we are privy to how bees affect many aspects of our lives and how their extinction may be just around the corner. This is an interesting watch that broadens our understanding of how significant every organism is in our ecosystem. 


PHOTO COURTESY/ Youtube Cinedigm

Bag It 

Dir. by Suzan Beraza 

Similar to “More Than Honey,” “Bag It” demonstrates that even what we consider to be our most insignificant actions can affect the planet in major ways. “Bag It” follows actor Jeb Berrier on his quest to completely eliminate his use of plastic shopping bags. This documentary is oftentimes humorous, putting a lighthearted spin on the daunting subject matter. It shows us that there’s no shame in finding these changes difficult at first, as are most monumental decisions. As Berrier embarks on this plastic bag-free journey, the audience learns of the horrors of plastics.




Dir. by Matt Wechsler 

Marty Travis is a farmer with a goal similar to Berrier’s. “Sustainable” follows Travis on his mission to decrease the carbon footprint of the farming industry. He inspires the audience to reconnect with their community’s food supply and reject the industrial food system. A Chicago-based farmer, he is on a mission to transform his farm into a sustainable food source. “Sustainable” reveals the ethics of sustainability and how it can be achieved despite the unattainable connotation it has. 


PHOTO COURTESY/ Youtube Movies

This Changes Everything 

Dir. by Avi Lewis 

“This Changes Everything” takes a more critical stance on the issue of climate change, evaluating the socioeconomic and political implications at its core. This documentary follows multiple communities across the globe who live as socially conscious as possible. It shows how insidious the path of the oil industry can be on the ecological front. The film informs viewers how intertwined ecology and the economy are. Although it’s easy to feel bleak after watching a documentary on this topic, “This Changes Everything” is able to tie it all together and fills the audience with hope.




Dir. by Mėlanie Laurent 

To end on a lighter note, “Tomorrow” is an inspiring story that offers us solutions to our predicament . As we begin to understand the challenges we face with the environment, these potential solutions given in the film restore our hope for the future. Laurent chooses to show the good in humanity and how to cope with the mistakes that have led us to this moment. Reaching a new peak of understanding, Laurent also inspires us to think of alternatives in the economy, agriculture and even how we interact with one another.