10 movies that explain what climate change is and what to do with it

    29 Jun 2021

    Scientists are expressing the alarm. Young people go on strike. Countries around the world have signed a climate agreement to join forces to tackle the climate problem, and some have even begun to declare a state of emergency. Everyone is concerned about global climate change and the deepening of its negative effects, which are already being observed today. And what, exactly, is happening?

    It is not so easy to understand what is happening, what it threatens us with (if it threatens us at all), why it happened, and what to do with it. It is necessary to spend a lot of time reading long scientific reports, reviewing tables and graphs, studying statistics.

    Fortunately, this has already been done for us. And even easily, affordably, and beautifully translated into English, making a bunch of films about climate change. Thankfully to Ecoaction NGO we’ve selected for you the best movies for every taste: from family documentaries about animals to apocalyptic action – so you can understand the topic quickly and painlessly.

    Before the Flood (2016)

    A documentary made by National Geographic starring Leonardo DiCaprio, known for his active environmental stance. “The further you are interested in the problem, the more you understand how much you don’t know yet,” says Leo. However, we have known about climate change for decades. We consciously continued to deepen it. Leo asks experts and experts to find out how far we have come. And is there anything we can do to stop it?

    For three years, the authors have traveled the world, documenting the devastating effects of climate change and assessing our ability to counter them. “We wanted to make a movie that would create a sense of urgency, that would make viewers understand what exactly will help solve the problem,” said DiCaprio, who, incidentally, is the UN Climate Change Envoy. And this film is probably one of its largest messages.

    An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

    Documentary about the causes of climate change, its impact, and potential solutions. The main narrator and co-writer of the screenplay is the American politician El Gore, who won the Nobel Peace Prize the year after the film’s release for his work in the field of environmental protection and climate change research. The film became the first documentary to win two Oscars at once: Best Documentary (directed by Davis Guggenheim) and Best Original Song.

    By the way, this is the first carbon-neutral documentary. After its release, all CO2 emissions caused by its production (including transport emissions) were calculated. The damage caused to the environment was compensated by investing money in renewable energy.

    The authors call the film “The worst movie you’ve ever seen,” because what could be worse than the truth?

    The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

    Apocalyptic science fiction action tells the story of a world in which climate change unexpectedly for all led not to global warming, but to a new Ice Age. Climatologist Jack Hall foresaw this development, but no one wanted to listen. Now he is trying to save his son, who is stuck in New York at the epicenter of the disaster.

    Both scientists and critics consider this movie scientifically inaccurate. However, it clearly conveys the idea: all our values ​​are destroyed when we meet the forces of nature. No wonder the original poster for the film depicted the Statue of Liberty, half-fallen and covered with snow.

    This film became the first carbon-neutral film in history. As the authors of The Inconvenient Truth, the director of The Day After Tomorrow, Roland Emmerich, was so preoccupied with climate change and its threat that he made up for the greenhouse emissions caused by filming. He has invested in renewable energy and landscaping.

    Arctic Tale (2007)

    A family documentary from the same National Geographic tells about climate change less apocalyptically, but just as emotionally. It is based on two stories: a polar bear and a walrus. The viewer watches them throughout their lives: through growing up, through all the troubles, snowstorms, and vicissitudes of life.

    Due to the normal life of polar animals, the tape demonstrates one of the greatest threats to the inhabitants of our planet – climate change. After all, it is she who makes the already difficult living conditions of the North even more difficult, taking away from animals both their homes and the territory for obtaining food. The future of these animals, like no other, depends on ice. And humanity ruthlessly takes it away from them.

    The Age of Stupid (2009)

    It is a unique case when the events of the documentary develop in the future. In 2055, the world suffered catastrophic consequences of climate change: London sank, Sydney burned, the Amazon rainforest burned, India suffered from nuclear war. An unnamed archivist studies the records with the stories of six people, trying to understand when things went wrong and why we didn’t stop the catastrophe when we still had the opportunity.


    By the way, we have already passed the point where, according to the plot of the film, the rapid and irreversible acceleration of climate change began – 2015. And soon the drama of the future may become the drama of the present, when we sit and look back, trying to understand: at what point did we lose everything? After all, according to the authors, one of the main characters of “The Age of Stupid” is us.

    Climate Change – The Facts (2019)

    The most famous naturalist on the planet and the author of the most popular documentaries about nature, Sir David Attenborough, this time talks about climate change and possible solutions to this global threat. In conversations with leading scientists, he explores recent extreme weather events, such as heavy storms and forest fires. He also talks about the consequences of climate change for humanity and the environment. The film even features young activist Greta Thunberg, the ideological inspiration for thousands of Global Climate Strikes around the world and nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

    The documentary has a lot in common with “Inconvenient Truth”. Comparing the two films, we can clearly see the catastrophic pace of climate change and how its impact on our lives and the environment is deepening. For example, in the time of El Gore, the hottest year in the history of observations was 2006, and for Sir Attenborough, that year was already 2016, which set a new record for heat.

    Waterworld (1995)

    Another sci-fi action movie about the effects of climate change on us in the near future. The polar ice has melted, the world’s oceans have risen, and the remnants of humanity live in isolated communities on small land islands or walk the seas as traders or pirates. The nameless Sailor, who, like the rest of humanity, is struggling to survive in a new cruel world, is forced to come to the aid of a woman and a girl in search of a mythical island that can be their salvation.

    Ironically, filming was interrupted three times due to the threat of a hurricane. Extreme weather events are now the most visible and dangerous manifestations of climate change.

    Prior to the Titanic, this film was the most expensive in history, although it did not become particularly popular.

    Chasing Ice (2012)

    A unique film by National Geographic photographer James Balog shows him traveling the Arctic to explore and show how glaciers are changing. He installs special cameras in the harshest environment on the planet to capture this process and reproduce it in the accelerated shooting. Years fit in a few seconds. Mountains of ice that have formed and existed for millennia begin to move and eventually disappear. Balog’s cameras record what humanity will never be able to see or recreate because it has disappeared as a result of our activities.

    The film won numerous film festivals, garnered rave reviews from dozens of journalists in the leading media, and its shooting several times almost cost the authors their lives. But the unique shots it contains are so fascinating, impressive, and eerie that it is almost impossible to put all their scale into words. You just have to see it – and never forget it.

    Merchants of Doubt (2014)

    Inspired by the book of the same name, the film tells the story of pseudo-scientists who sow doubts about scientific data in the public space and thus delay making critical decisions. This PR tactic was invented by tobacco corporations in response to the first studies of the harm of tobacco to health. Thus, measures to regulate smoking were successfully postponed. And in the same way, the fight against climate change was later countered: through “experts” who publicly criticized and denied the veracity of scientific evidence for this problem.

    The authors spoke with more than a dozen participants in the conflict over issues ranging from restricting tobacco sales to health risks to global climate change. Interviews of these people are interspersed with comments and tricks of a professional magician. He finds parallels between how people deny obvious scientific facts in an attempt to hide a problem, and how an illusionist diverts the viewer’s attention to something insignificant in order to focus outside the field of view.

    Carbon Nation (2010)

    After all these stories about the eerie present, threatening forecasts, hopeless future and scientifically substantiated approach of catastrophe, I want to add something positive. And while in a world where the climate changes rapidly, there’s not so much space for optimism, we’ve found at least one funny tape on this topic.

    The authors of the documentary Carbon Nation explore how ordinary (and not-so-average) Americans are countering climate change right now, and what nations can do, and what the world needs to prevent or at least slowdown climate change. We are talking about the introduction of green technologies, among which the leading place is occupied by renewable energy. These are the stories of Americans who have windmills, solar panels, or electric cars.

    The authors cautiously appeal to a wide range of readers, telling how to counter climate change, even if you do not believe in it. And they appeal to classical American values, saying: do it not for the climate or the planet. Do at least for yourself, for your profit, and for your own independence.

    So even if none of the first nine films convince you of the reality of the threat and urgency of the need for action, the latter will still not leave you indifferent.

    He will at least prove that renewable energy is useful. This is part of the solution to the global problem. And it is a useful tool for people who are indifferent to this problem.

    Support renewable energy to save the planet, the environment, and humanity from the effects of climate change. Or support it for the sake of the energy independence of Ukraine and its citizens. Or in order to be able to provide yourself or your business with your own energy or even additional income.

    You may read more about top-4 fiction books on mutations, bioethics, and environmental crisis here.

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