The Top 10 Best Environmental Documentaries

3 Jan

My Top 10 Environmental Documentaries (The 7 best I’ve seen plus the 3 I want to see next)

Blue Gold is one of the most influential and inspiring documentaries I’ve ever seen, which is why it’s the first in my countdown. It is based on a book by Maude Barlow and Tony Clark about the finite resource most important to human life. From the fight to protect the Great Lakes, to keeping water free and available to all across the world. This movie reminds me that the next world war will be about water.

Darwin’s Nightmare takes place in Tanzania. In this film by Hubert Sauper the ecological destruction in Lake Victoria and its effects on the people are examined. The Nile Perch is the invasive species that has decimated all life in the lake by eating all the native species and now turning on its own young, now that the ecosystem is in the last stages of collapse.

The Corporation is based on the legal structure that corporations are legal persons. The film psychoanalyses  the personality of corporations. Check out the website for more information.

The Cove is a film about a group of extreme activists who expose a secret operation in a remote fishing village in Japan. Because people love dolphins so much, there has been an outpouring of support worldwide for this cause. I like it because it shows how some people view something as a natural resource and others see something more sacred.

King Corn is more humorous then many environmental documentaries. Two friends grow an acre of corn and try to follow it through the system. This is a must-see for anyone interested in learning about the corn in their DNA.

Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis sampling their crop

The Story of Stuff, although not a full length movie, it has a strong message about overconsumption. It is a series of short videos available on the web that discuss the current production system.  Watch them even if when you don’t have time for an entire movie

Food INC. is the documentary that will cause you to question everything on your plate. This film by Robert Kenner continues along the path of books like Fast Food Nation and The Omnivore’s Dilemma. If after reading about the issues of GMOs, obesity, and E. coli outbreaks, you want a more visual approach, this is the film that exposes the American food industry.

To watch next…

The World According to Monsanto is a documentary directed by Marie-Monique Robin. You can watch the full film for free online at  and here’s a quote to spark your interest, “If they control seed, they control food, they know it – it’s strategic. It’s more powerful than bombs. It’s more powerful than guns. This is the best way to control the populations of the world.” –Vandana Shiva


Gasland is a film by Josh Fox about the process of fracking which I want to learn more about. What caught my attention was the flammable tapwater caused by toxic chemicals leaking into the groundwater.  Check out the website

Born Sweet is a new documentary by Cynthia Wade about a rural Cambodian boy who wants to grow up to be a karaoke star. He suffers from arsenic poisoning due to contaminated water. There’s a trailer at

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