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    19 Movies And TV Shows To Watch On Earth Day This Year

    From Cher meeting the world's loneliest elephant to My Octopus Teacher, you can't help but be inspired.

    1. Cher & The Loneliest Elephant

    an elephant and cher the singer
    Courtesy Smithsonian Channnel

    In this series, Cher travels to Pakistan to help rescue Kaavan, a malnourished and neglected animal known as the "world's loneliest elephant." All alone in a broken down zoo, Cher was so moved by Kaavan's story and a TV crew follows as she embarks on a journey to save him.

    Where to watch it: Paramount+

    2. A World of Calm

    HBO Max

    If you haven't yet checked out this series, I can't recommend it enough. Each episode is about a specific topic and is narrated by a different actor. So, for example, there's an episode about trees narrated by Keanu Reeves, coral cities by Lucy Liu, and outer space by Idris Elba. While you could choose what you watch by your favorite celebrity, all eight episodes are worth checking out in full.

    Where to watch it: HBO Max

    3. Night on Earth

    flamingos in the night
    Netflix

    Narrated by Samira Wiley, this movie is pretty much exactly what you'd imagine — an in-depth look at wildlife across the planet and how they exist at night. For a film that takes place almost entirely in the darkness, you won't believe the colors that come out at night.

    Where to watch it: Netflix

    4. I Am Greta

    Greta Thunberg with her father, Svante Thunberg
    © Hulu / Courtesy Everett Collection

    This documentary serves as a great introduction to Greta Thunberg for those who are new to her and her school strike for climate action, but if you do know Greta already, it also pulls back the curtain to reveal her personal life at home with her parents.

    Where to watch it: Hulu

    5. Earth Moods

    a waterfall settled in the middle of a rainforest
    National Geographic for Disney+

    If you'd like to transport yourself to remote location during a global pandemic, Earth Moods is the most stress-free way to do it. However the show isn't a traditional nature documentary like the rest of this list. Instead, each 30-minute episode offers breathtaking views of nature around the world paired with music made exclusively for the series. Honestly, this series is my new go-to for something relaxing to have on in the background.

    Where to watch it: Disney Plus

    6. My Octopus Teacher

    an octopus and a hand
    © Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Set in a South African kelp forest, this documentary follows an unsuspecting filmmaker as he befriends an actual octopus in the bottom of the ocean. While you might not think you care much about these two, you'll feel absolutely inspired by the end of the film. This movie is picked up an Oscars nomination for Best Documentary.

    Where to watch it: Netflix

    7. Chasing Coral

    photo of healthy coral versus the same coral that has been bleached
    Courtesy of Netflix

    This educational look at coral bleaching is a shocking call-to-action to save our dying coral reefs and why they're so important to the functioning of our oceans. This is one of my favorite nature documentaries (and I wrote about it back when it came out in 2017), so make time for this one if you haven't watched it yet.

    Where to watch it: Netflix

    8. Dancing with the Birds

    bird with long sticks in its mouth
    Netflix

    Stephen Fry narrates this inside look at the life, times, and ~mating rituals~ of birds. Not only are the species of birds unlike any you'll ever see before — and I mean that, they are spectacular — but you'll be surprised how much laughing out loud you'll be doing over a nature documentary.

    Where to watch it: Netflix

    9. Seaspiracy

    five orca whales in the ocean
    Netflix / youtube.com

    If you're looking to watch a documentary that'll certainly spark some conversation, why not try Netflix's 2021 doc, Seaspiracy? It takes a look at the underwater population and how humans have been overfishing and doing damage to our oceans that cannot be undone.

    Where to watch it: Netflix

    10. The Island President

    President Mohamed Nasheed
    Chiara Goia / © Samuel Goldwyn Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

    This inspiring true story from 2011 tells the tale of then-President Mohamed Nasheed and his efforts to save his country of the Maldives — which happens to be the lowest country closest to sea level on the planet — from the disastrous effects of climate change.

    Where to watch it: Discovery Plus

    11. One Strange Rock

    a cave with a light shining down onto three people
    National Geographic

    From National Geographic comes this behemoth of a documentary series by  Darren Aronofsky. Will Smith hosts this incredible, high def look at life on planet earth and the crucial ecosystems that interact with each other to make the magic happen. This series spotlights places on this planet are simply other-worldly and made me question if I was looking at footage of Mars or not. 

    Where to watch it: Disney Plus

    12. The Story of Plastic

    plastic bottle floating in the ocean
    Discovery

    If you've ever wondered what happens to the plastic you purchase after it's been thrown away, The Story of Plastic will explain the entire process to you in great detail. Warning: you may never buy plastics again after learning more about our global plastic consumption and waste.

    Where to watch it: Discovery+

    13. Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth

    animated cartoon earth with people on it
    © Apple TV+ / Courtesy Everett Collection

    See the world through the eyes of children experiencing it for the first time in this animated movie based on a book of the same name. Jacob Tremblay, Ruth Negga, and Chris O'Dowd lend their voices to this animated series.

    Where to watch it: Apple TV+

    14. The Great Global Clean-Up

    zac efron with a beard in front of a mountain
    Discovery Channel

    If you're looking for a special that's filled with celebs your kids will know, Zac Efron, Zach King, Cody Simpson, Liza Koshy, Lil Dicky and others appear to advocate for cleaning up the planet.

    Where to watch it: Discovery Plus

    15. The Biggest Little Farm

    sheep and cows grazing in a meadow
    © Neon / Courtesy Everett Collection

    2018's The Biggest Little Farm is the dramatic story of how a farm began after two people were inspired by the love of their newly-adopted dog. This film is filled with beautiful images of sweeping hills, and, of course, the adorably lovable animal residents of the farm.

    Where to watch it: Hulu

    16. Rock The Park

    a mountain and water with logo "rock the park"
    HBO Max

    Rock The Park follows hosts Jack and Colton as they make their way through all of America's national parks. Each episode focuses on a different park across the country. I promise that even if you've visited them before, you'll still learn something new.

    Where to watch it: HBO Max

    17. The Secret World of Trees

    still from trailer of a mountain and trees
    Janson Media / Via youtube.com

    This 2019 documentary takes the audience deep inside the inner workings and communication of trees. Did you know that trees can talk to each other and even warn each other of danger coming their way? Learn that and so much more in this fascinating film.

    Where to watch it: Amazon Prime Video

    18. Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story

    a banana and the words "just eat it, a food waste story"
    Peg Leg Films / Via foodwastemovie.com

    This searing documentary takes a look at the massive amounts of food waste we produce across the globe and offers some potential solutions to tackle the issue. To start, we could all stop throwing away food just because it doesn't look "perfect" or "pretty."

    Where to watch it: Hulu

    19. Our Planet

    a monkey in the trees
    Huw Cordey / Netflix

    This series made quite an impact on us (as well as our dogs) when it came out in 2018 — and yet the message remains even more important today. While some of the realities of how humans have changed the animal kingdom exposed in Our Planet are hard to take, it's an impactful, emotional, and beautiful journey narrated by David Attenborough. If you've seen this one already, make sure to check out A Life On Our Planet, from 2020, which is even more timely (and heartbreaking).

    Where to watch it: Netflix

    What are your favorite things to watch on Earth Day? Let us know in the comments.

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