Films on Environmental issues for the whole family to watch, learn from, and talk about.

for Ages 6 & up

Dolphins (G) Another of Disney Nature’s wonderful documentaries for the younger set. Follow a young dolphin Echo as she learns to navigate her undersea world. Disney Plus

Growing up Wild (PG) This film is another good introduction into the documentary genre for kids that are a bit older.  Follow young lions, cheetahs, chimps, and bears as they learn from their parents how to survive-bears learn how to fish, and cheetahs learn how to climb trees. There are some scary moments and some chase and feeding scenes, with little gore. Netflix

Happy Feet (G) Yes, it’s been around awhile, but who can resist the joy? Always a reminder of how important family is, this film might also prompt a new discussion on the subjects of overfishing and plastics in the ocean.  Netflix 

Rio 2 (G)Blu, an endangered Macaw, takes his family to the Amazon jungle to see if they really aren’t the last of their kind.  This film touches on the themes of scientific study, deforestation, species extinction and conservation. Amazon  

Wall-E (G) A lonely robot maintaining a trash-heaped Earth gives his all to follow his love Eve into space. He ends up saving a plant, and humanity, in the process. A multifaceted gem of a movie: a story of love and loyalty; an affirmation of the resilience of nature; a cautionary tale about using up our planets resources. Amazon

Wings of Life (G) From Disney Nature, this exquisite, and up close view of birds, bees, bats and butterflies is a delightful glimpse at our pollinators- so important to all life on the planet, and will surely inspire you to plant a garden of your own. Netflix

for Teens & up

Being the Change (NR) This movie follows Peter Kalmus, a climate change scientist at Caltech/Jet Propulsion Labs, as he tries to emulate Gandhi’s dictum “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  His and his family’s lifestyle choices connect him with a vibrant, caring and like minded community. He bikes to work, has a car that he has converted to burn used vegetable oil, and has a composting toilet. He has managed to decrease his carbon footprint to 10% the average American. A parable of how we can each make small lifestyle changes to make a big difference. Netflix 

Chasing Coral (PG) An advertising executive- turned-diver-turned environmental crusader, and a self avowed “coral nerd” investigate global coral reefs and question why they are in peril, and whether anything can be done about it. The Ocean is a battleground and these are frontline crusaders.  Netflix   

Dancing with the Birds (PG-13) And now for some lighter environmental fare…you are in for some hilarious moments with this documentary on some of the weirder mating rituals of exotic birds. Smiles, if not outright laughter will ensue.  One would think glorious plumage would be enough to ensure evolutionary success, but these birds have to work for it, and work it they do…

Inventing Tomorrow (NR) Hooray for the Science Geeks! This truly inspiring film follows students from around the globe as they work to solve local environmental problems; work that gains them access to the one of the world’s most prestigious contests for high school scientists: The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. This is an uplifting watch that makes you feel the future is in good hands.  Amazon

Love Thy Nature Nature is the healer if we just listen.  This is an enticing exploration of man’s connection to the natural world, and how important that connection is to our health, and the well being of the planet.  Liam Neeson is the querying voice of “homo sapiens” which at first seems a little awkward, but stick with it- it’s a self questioning voice that brings us closer to this awareness.  Amazon

Mission Blue (14+) Dr. Silvia Earle, arguably the foremost oceanographer of our time, embarks on a mission to create “Hope Spots,” a series of marine monuments- like underwater national parks around the globe that if untouched, will help the Oceans recover from overfishing pollution and the burden of Climate Change.  This daughter of Neptune has been in love with the ocean since a young girl, and her passion for making life under the surface visible to all so that we can understand it, never wavers.    Netflix

Minimalism: A Documentary on the Things That Matter (14+)  So, now that we’ve been locked inside our homes for a month or so, dropping the shopping, and drastically changing the meaning of the word necessary, the transition to a more satisfying lifestyle shouldn’t be so hard.  Based on the adage that “Less is More” Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus examine (and espouse) a way of life that proves that happiness can’t be purchased.  Netflix

Our Planet: Behind the Scenes PG Narrated by David Attenborough, this behind the scenes look at the Our Planet Series delivers some incredible moments of discovery as the intrepid crews who photograph on land, sea and air devote their lives to capture intensely beautiful, and sometimes heartbreaking moments.  Many of them work for years on a project, all to bring viewers a greater understanding of our world. Netflix

Overload: America’s Toxic Love Story (13 +) After learning about the “body burden” of toxic chemicals in all of us, Soozie Eastman, concerned that the toxins in her body would affect her future children, embarks on a quest to discover and rid herself of as many as she can. With the help of experts she learns about the chemicals, not only in the environment, but also in every day life- from cleaning products makeup, to food. No dire tale this. Positivity is her M.O. and her results are quite a surprise. Amazon

Plastic Ocean 14+ Netflix This movie has been out a couple of years, but if you haven’t seen it, has become is even more relevant now, as our plastic consumption worldwide only continues to increase. This film will make you rethink before you buy. Netflix

Project Wild Thing (NR) From the opening moments- watching David Boyd drag his kids (under protest) outdoors- we are hooked.  Boyd, concerned with the health aspects of kid’s disassociation with Nature decides to make himself the Marketing Director for Nature, and his journey is funny, insightful, and ultimately rewarding.  Click here to watch: Project Wild Thing

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (PG) Based on a true story, this tale of a young boy from Malawi, who- through book smarts, ingenuity, and bravery- saves his family’s farm from drought, is a testament to the difference one person can make. Truly inspirational, and one for the family to watch together.  Netflix

The International Ocean Film Festival Home Edition, for those of us who can’t get enough of the Ocean. You can stream a number of wonderful movies and short films for free. Click here: We couldn’t pick just one…

The Memory of a Fish  (PG) This is a gentle journey, showing how one man’s love for a river, and the salmon that he loved to fish, inspired him to fight for both. Though his own day job centered on a dam that threatened the river’s whole ecosystem, he still stood up and spoke about it- for his whole lifetime. The bravery of one individual combined with others can often lead to profound change. Netflix

The True Cost (PG-13) This investigation of the clothes we buy, wear, and discard will make you think twice before clicking the add to cart button. From a deep look at the human and the environmental cost of our need for the new, the film explores the front and back end of what is called “fast fashion.” Netflix

The Age of Consequences  (PG) IMDB calls it The ‘Hurt Locker’ meets ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. Through the mouths of generals, and other experts, this investigation discusses increasing global insecurity due to climate change – causing diminished resources, migration, and conflict, threatens our national security. There is urgency here. In the words of Dylan “Come senators, congressmen please heed the call.” Amazon

Additional info:

Webinar on Gardening Corals for Reef RestorationApril 23, 20203 pm Pacific / 6 pm Eastern

As coral reefs decline globally, interest in using coral gardening techniques for reef restoration is increasing. Join Katie Lohr, PhD, Conservation Science Fellow for the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries through the Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program as she reviews well-established and cutting-edge techniques for propagating and restoring corals, as well as experimental work focused on identifying corals that can survive future ocean conditions. The National Marine Sanctuary Webinar Series provides educators with educational and scientific expertise, resources, and training to support ocean and climate literacy in the classroom. This series currently targets formal and informal educators, students (middle school through college), as well as members of the community, including families.