In celebration of Earth Day, here are the Cigar’s picks for the best, most informative documentaries to watch in celebration. Photo from crisp-magazine.com.
In commemoration of Earth Day, one might be interested in watching a couple documentaries about our wonderful planet. So here is a list of documentaries, brought to you by an aspiring documentary filmmaker, that are perfect for the occasion.
- “David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet” (2020)
This should come of no surprise to anyone. Sir David Attenborough has been one of the biggest names when it comes to wildlife conservation and nature documentaries for decades. It would be a crime not to put at least one on this list. This documentary explains Attenborough’s concerns over the current state of the earth on account of the impacts from humanity. With spectacular cinematography, Attenborough makes insightful and thought-provoking statements that make you think hard about the state of our planet now and where it is headed. How can you not want to save the planet after watching the breathtaking footage of the diverse wildlife that also call this planet home?
- “Plastic Wars” (2020)
Today, we recycle our plastic Starbucks cups and tuck our metal straws back in our pockets with a pat on the back for saving a turtle. Through investigative journalism, this broadcast-like documentary examines recycling plastics, from huge global corporations to China to a field in Indonesia. The big question being where the plastics, like that Starbucks cup, are going after you throw them in the recycling bin. The answer will shock you.
- “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” (2009)
My family and I are big into the outdoors. I have been to 16 national parks and countless more state parks and national monuments. National parks are a great way to see the natural beauty of the world that has remained relatively untouched by humanity. Instead of one documentary film, this one is a whole miniseries. The Ken Burns series goes into the history of the parks and why they were created. In addition to the incredible archival footage, the series is full of remarkable footage of the parks. For someone who has been to some of these places, seeing the cinematography of this series makes me feel like I am visiting for the first time again. It is a must-watch and might even convince you to visit some of the wonderful parks yourself. It is important that we keep them safe.
- “Chasing Coral” (2017)
This documentary takes viewers to an underwater world that is absolutely beautiful; at least it used to be. The documentary dives (haha get it?) into the world of coral reefs and how they are dying at unprecedented rates. These vital ecosystems are supposed to be these diverse and colorful worlds that are teeming with life, but what is shown in this film is a desolate wasteland as the creators of the documentary try to uncover why this is happening.
- “My Octopus Teacher” (2020)
As we approach finals week, I am sure we are all experiencing some amount of burn out. This documentary provides a very calming, touching look into the relationship between a filmmaker and his journey of finding himself again. After struggling with burn out, Craig Foster decides to free dive every day in a kelp forest off the coast of Cape Town and finds himself befriending an octopus. Although this film is not necessarily about saving the planet or showcasing the wonder of the natural world, it shows the incredible bond one can make with nature. We have the ability to learn so much from the wildlife around us. For that reason alone, it is important to protect it.
You may notice a certain “documentary” wasn’t included. When the general public sees the word “documentary,” they may automatically think it’s factual. This is, unfortunately, not always the case. Unlike the documentaries listed above, Netflix’s “Seaspiracy” is full of bias and misinformation. It is allowed to call itself a documentary because there is no regulation in place to show an audience how accurate the content is. To call “Seaspiracy” a documentary is an abuse of the word and manipulates the general public into believing what’s presented in the overly dramatic, heavily skewed movie.
When searching for something to watch on Earth Day, it is important to keep in mind that not every “documentary” is worthy of the label.