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Seven Powerful Climate Change Documentaries

Climate change continues to be a global threat worldwide. Streaming video itself has its own carbon footprint to take into consideration. However, streaming also can be a helpful tool to help educate the world through climate change documentaries. 

This blog post covers some of the best documentaries currently available on major streaming services.

Before the Flood

Climate change documentaries

Fisher Stevens serves as director for this 2016 documentary. Leonardo DiCaprio performs double duty as both producer and narrator. Meanwhile, the legendary Martin Scorsese serves as an Executive Producer.

The movie covers the effects of climate change across the world. It features on-the-ground footage filmed over a three-year period. The filmmakers also examine the forces behind climate change denial.

Before the Flood makes a case for a carbon tax as a solution to address greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. The movie is currently available to stream on Disney+.

I Am Greta

climate change documentaries

Nathan Grossman directs this 2020 documentary. It premiered at the 2020 Venice International Film Festival before its debut on Hulu.

The film profiles Greta Thunberg, the famous young climate activist from Sweden. It documents a year in her life. This begins with the 2018 climate strike and ends with her sailboat trip to address the Climate Action Summit in New York.

The inspiring movie has an 80% “certified fresh” score from Rotten Tomatoes. You can stream it on Hulu by clicking on the link below.

For more on Hulu, including how to get a 30 day free trial, check out the blog post here.

Ice on Fire

climate change documentaries

Like Before the Flood, Leonardo DiCaprio also produced and narrated this 2019 documentary. Leila Conners directs the film, which premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

The movie examines the effects of climate change on melting ice in the Arctic Ocean. It also highlights the scary potential that large amounts of methane from the bottom of the ocean could unleash into the atmosphere as more ice melts away. This would make climate change even worse than we thought.

Solutions to climate change are also explored. These include solar, wind, and carbon capture technology. Ice on Fire is currently available to stream on HBO Max.

This Changes Everything

Author and activist Naomi Klein narrates this 2015 documentary based on her book of the same name. Journalist Avi Lewis directs the film.

The documentary profiles climate activists around the world. Countries visited include Canada, the U.S., Greece, India, and China. Like Klein’s book, the film attempts to connect environmental conditions with economic inequalities.

By focusing on activism, This Changes Everything strikes a hopeful tone that aims to inspire climate action. It is currently available to stream for free on Tubi.

Climate Refugees

Filmmaker Michael P. Nash directs this 2010 documentary. The film's focus is on the human impact of climate change. It debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and also screened at the United Nations.

The film features interviews with several well-known politicians, scientists, and activists. By focusing on climate change's impact on people and governments, the movie creates a powerful case for climate action.

Climate Refugees is available to stream for free on various platforms including the Roku Channel, Tubi, and Pluto TV.


Australian director Damon Gameau focuses on solutions to climate change in this 2019 documentary. The movie imagines a future for his four-year old daughter where climate change has been reversed.

He interviews experts across the world who discuss climate solutions including regenerative agriculture. The film’s optimistic tone helps show what realistic answers to climate change could look like.

2040 has a rare 100% score from Rotten Tomatoes, based on 33 reviews. You can stream it for free through Kanopy with a public library or university login.

The Island President

This 2011 doc focuses on Mohamed Nasheed, former President of the Maldives, and his efforts to address rising sea levels caused by climate change.

Jon Shenk directed this film, which premiered at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival where it won the People’s Choice Documentary Award.

The movie received positive receives from critics. It is available to stream for free on the Roku Channel, Pluto TV, Tubi, and Vudu.

What are Your Favorite Climate Change Documentaries?

Any we missed? Which of these climate change documentaries have you seen? Let us know in the comment section below!

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