6 Must-See Environmental Films From 2021

Actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence walk along a train platform during the filming of Don’t Look Up at South Station in Boston, Massachusetts on December 1, 2020. Image source: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A lot happened last year. Record temperatures rolled across the Pacific Northwest. A snow storm hit Hawaii. Water flooded the streets of New York City and wildfires ignited in the southwest.

These films from 2021 helped us understand the climate crisis as it unfolded before our very eyes, and continue to teach us how to become better stewards of the planet in the years to come.

Meat me halfway

Why is it so hard to convince people to stop eating meat? Why do we resist change, and what can we do about it?

Brian Catman, the leader of the “reduced” movement, addresses these questions in Meat me halfway He shares his own journey to reduce his meat consumption. It presents a vision of a more compassionate, sustainable, and healthier future for plant-based eating, recognizing that meat is emotional, and that the process of switching to a vegan diet often goes beyond just learning information and then a changing procedure. Giving up animal products may mean giving up meals of cultural and emotional significance, which discourages many from trying to make any dietary changes at all.

So, what is the most practical path forward? How can we carefully reduce our collective meat consumption while being mindful of these complexities?

Through interviews with experts and individuals, Catman advocates a more realistic compromise for those who don’t want to change their entire way of eating, offering an alternative to an all-or-nothing approach when it comes to eating animal products.

do not search

Written, produced, and directed by Adam McKay, this satirical science thriller features a star-studded cast — including Jonah Hill, Timothée Chalamet, Meryl Streep and Ariana Grande — and has been a huge hit on Netflix since its release in late December, a record for most watched hours in a week. One on the broadcast platform. The film tells the story of a graduate student in astronomy (Jennifer Lawrence) and her professor (Leonardo DiCaprio) who discover a comet hurtling towards Earth and attempt to alert the audience, only to be met with suspicion and laughter.

Some critics describe it as heavy, but the film sends an important message about deniability; The lack of urgency and concern expressed by the government and the media about a comet to wipe out all of human life draws a clear parallel to our society’s response to climate change. At a time when the science behind climate change and an ongoing pandemic is being dismissed, do not search It asks us to consider the absurdity of our half-hearted responses and ignore the life-threatening phenomena we encounter.

They are trying to kill us

In this film produced by Chris Paul and Billie Eilish, co-directors John Lewis and Keegan Coon (directors Cowspiracy And what healthTravel to areas of the United States — primarily black and Indigenous communities — that have disproportionately high rates of chronic disease. Their work shows that disease in these areas is not a coincidence, but the result of systems designed to keep marginalized groups in poor health. Interviews with clinicians, politicians, researchers, cultural icons, activists, and athletes show how health, environmental justice and racial justice are interconnected, and how the alcohol, drug, fast food, and cigarette industries benefit from poor health in communities of color.

The film also features prominent names in hip-hop music and artists who have had a significant impact on culture, talking about injustices such as access to food and food deserts, climate change, environmental justice, and racial disparities with disease.

They are trying to kill us It can be rented on the movie’s website.

River’s End: California’s Latest Water War

19 million people live in Southern California: 1 in 2 Californians, and 1 in 16 Americans. end of the riverWritten and directed by Jacob Morrison, it highlights California’s struggle to secure enough fresh water for its many residents.

end of the river Based on the 1974 film Chinatown, which highlighted controversies over water rights in the early twentieth centuryy A century in Southern California, and the eventual draining of the Owens Valley by a 250-mile canal built to meet Los Angeles’ water demand. This engineering feat enabled Los Angeles to become the second largest city in the United States, but it came at a cost to the surrounding environment and the state’s future water supply.

The new film exposes the wealthy interests that manipulate this system – such as industrial agriculture for example – and asks, Should Los Angeles exist? What is the chain of decisions that got us to this point? It portends a terrible future for California and the entire world if we don’t take action soon.


New Zealand is the world’s largest exporter of dairy, but what was once a source of national pride is now its biggest threat.

In this new documentary, Chris Horiwa travels across his native New Zealand to uncover the truth about the multi-billion dollar dairy industry. Through research, investigation and interviews with big names in the environmental movement such as Jane Goodall and Cowspiracy Co-Director Keegan-Kun, Horiwa reveals how the industry has “milked” animals along with the consumers, the natural environment, our climate, and the farmers caught up in this exploitative system. The film is directed by Amy Taylor, who explained in an interview with green matters It has deliberately chosen not to include the gory images normally associated with such documentaries so as not to alienate potential viewers.

mahaleb It premiered at the New Zealand Film Festival in November, and will be released internationally sometime in 2022.


burning is a documentary about Australia’s “Black Summer” 2019-20, which caused the largest fire in the continent’s history, destroying 59 million acres, destroying nearly 6,000 buildings, and pushing more than 500 species to danger or extinction.

Directed by Academy and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Eva Orner, the film explains how this fire could happen in Australia – the world’s largest coal exporter – and how a lack of political will to take action on climate change will affect the country’s future.

burning It won the Sydney Film Festival’s Sustainable Future award last year, and is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.

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