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Deep Dive: The Best Documentaries About Conservation You Might Not Have Seen

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Deep Dive: The Best Documentaries About Conservation You Might Not Have Seen

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Dive into the natural world via these documentaries and see what's happening around the globe with respect to conservation.

Romally Coverdale

Tue 21 Jun 2022

As pebble takes a deep dive into the world of conservation, there are more ways to learn about global efforts.

While it cannot be guaranteed that it will be a relaxing watch, every documentary on this list is as captivating as it is important.

Whether it be alone, with friends, or as a family, check out these incredible documentaries that capture the necessity and heroism of modern day conservationists.

Deep Dive: Best Documentaries To Learn About Conservation

deep diver diving down

1. The Green Planet (2022)

The Green Planet is the latest of nature documentaries by Sir David Attenborough, and it comes in the form of five episodes.

Spanning an hour long, each episode focuses on a specific aspect of the natural world. The first four episodes are a picture of the varieties of ecosystems that exist within our planet, while the final episode, ‘Human Worlds’, explores the many conservation projects across the globe.

From Africa to Brazil, The Green Planet is a brilliant introduction to the natural world for all ages.

What can you do? Learn more about conservation works that are happening in your area.

“Two out of five wild plants are threatened with extinction. Today people are finding remarkable ways to help them, and so make our world a little greener and a little wilder.”

2. Mission Blue (2014)

Following Dr Sylvia Earle, an infectiously enthusiastic oceanographer and conservationist, Mission Blue explores the current state of our oceans as well as Earle’s career.

She made it her life’s purpose to educate and show people the importance of our oceans, and how even more important it is to restore it to a healthy, balanced state.

Following Earle’s campaigning to create a global network of protected marine sanctuaries. The Emmy Award Winning documentary is an inspiring call into action to protect our oceans, and brings hope to those seeking action.

What can you do? Only eat fish sustainably - think about where they come from, how they're farmed, and how often you eat them.

Follow Dr Earle on her quest to protect the oceans from threats like pollution, overfishing and climate change.

3. Virunga (2014)

British documentary Virunga focuses on the conservation work of park rangers in Congo’s Virunga National Park.

Filmed during the rise of the violent M23 Rebellion in 2012, the film also explores the activity of a British oil company Soco International within the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Follow the stories of these park rangers as they care for the world’s only mountain gorillas, and their endeavours to protect the creatures and land from war, poaching and oil companies.

What can you do? Donate to charities that help with global conservation efforts.

Follow the brave and dedicated park rangers protect all life in the Virunga National Park.

4. A Plastic Ocean (2016)

A Plastic Ocean is an award-winning feature length documentary about the consequences of our consumption of plastic, highlighting the global effects of plastic pollution.

Produced by a group of experts from varying fields, the film follows investigative journalist Craig Leeson and free diver Tanya Streeter and their exploration of technologies and innovations that could provide solutions to our current dilemma.

A Plastic Ocean proves an important documentary, and one suitable for all ages.

What can you do? Help the amount of plastic going in the ocean by trying to go plastic free and help directly by going litter picking.

Sir David Attenborough describes A Plastic Ocean as “One of the most important films of our time.”

5. Call Of Life (2010)

Call of Life is a story of crisis within the natural world and the human world.

The documentary fully investigates the growing threat of extinction: how the Earth is losing its biodiversity at a rapid rate.

Composed of interviews with biologists and ecologists, the film examines the primary and complex drivers of such massive loss, as well as what needs to be done to enact positive change.

What can you do? See what rare species are in your local area and report any sightings - learn more about how this helps the scientific and local community.

“If current trends continue, scientists warn that within a few decades at least half of all plant and animal species on Earth will disappear forever.”

6. Seven Worlds, One Planet (2019)

Rated by audiences as the best Attenborough documentary, BBC’s Seven Worlds, One Planet explores Earth’s varying ecosystems across seven continents.

With each episode dedicated to a continent, the viewer can get a greater understanding of the great variety in each of the continents, and how they interlink.

Exploring how mankind has impacted these landscapes, Seven Worlds, One Planet is another addition to Sir David Attenborough’s impressive repertoire. Equal parts celebrating the reliance of nature and calling for change, this documentary focuses more on animal life and nature’s endurance.

What can you do? Find out what you can do to help nature be more resilient - like make compost, plant wildlife-encouraging plants, or read books to learn more.

“Revealing the extraordinary wildlife stories and unseen wilderness of our seven unique continents.”

7. The Ivory Game (2016)

This American documentary examines the ivory trade, placing it in a backdrop of political tension and environmental preservationists.

The Ivory Game highlights how the ivory trade is a problem that affects the whole planet through various means.

This action-packed documentary follows conservation efforts and anti-poachers trying to protect elephants from massacre. From animal to market, The Ivory Game is a captivating, albeit heart-breaking, watch.

What can you do? Don't buy ivory, instead donate that money to charities that help protect elephants from poachers.

An elephant is killed every 15 minutes. Learn about the fight to protect them.

8. The Ocean Guardians (2022)

With increased pressure on our oceans and ecosystems, the weight of ecological destruction is becoming apparent on humanity.

In The Ocean Guardians, Scott Bradley and Natasha Hawthornthwaite shed light on farmers harvesting a hidden hero: seaweed.

Focusing on UK coastlines, the documentary explores how seaweed is the sustainable food source of the future, as well as its fundamental role in fighting climate change.

What can you do? Try implementing seaweed into your diet.

“Is seaweed the future? The idea takes a deep dive into sustainable seaweed farming and how this can help answer the most important question, what is the future of food?”

9. Voice Of The Glaciers

Voice Of The Glaciers is a short documentary that follows four young adventurers in a dangerous scientific expedition to the Arctic with one goal: document the true effects of the changing climate.

Using the team’s assets, the journey proves to be an eye-opening revelation and proof that something has to happen soon before it is too late.

A part of their mission is to re-photograph certain locations pictured within photos more than a century old, as physical proof that the Arctic terrain is changing - and not for the better.

What can you do? Track your carbon emissions and work to lower down your negative impact on the planet.

Sceptic or not, witness the changes in our glacial climates.

10. Riverwoods (2022)

Just released this year, Riverwoods is a feature-length documentary exploring the current state of Scotland’s salmon.

It is a compelling narrative of how the health of salmon and Scottish forests are inextricably linked. Investigating the fractured connections between salmon and the landscape, Riverwoods calls for restoring Scotland’s river catchments that entire ecosystems depend on.

What can you do? Volunteer or donate at a local forest, to see what kind of work they are doing to help support your local ecosystem

Learn about the Scottish ecosystem and how everything depends on the humble salmon.

11. The Last Stand

The Last Stand examines the urgent race to protect the world’s last remaining ancient trees. Following protestors and experts, the documentary explores the last remaining ancient forests, and their importance of remaining intact.

From North America, to the Amazon, and around the world, ancient forests have a huge impact on our atmosphere.

With exclusive footage from front-line protests, learn about these ancient forests from some of the most passionate people involved with protecting the Earth’s habitats.

What can you do? Protest to protect ancient trees, or donate to charities that protect them. Or, you can always plant trees for free.

“We don't have a lot of time to be going to another 25 years of climate talks.”

12. Golden Seeds

In collaboration with Tony’s Chocolonely, David Boanuh’s Golden Seeds explores the complications of cocoa farming in Ghana - as told by the farmers themselves.

Running just shy of twenty minutes, this documentary is an eye-opening tale of hardships, labour and hope. Reflecting on the future of cocoa farming, Golden Seeds also explores the farmers’ aspirations as to the future of cocoa farming and the future of their respective communities.

What can you do? Always check the product's ethical credentials before buying.

An eye-opening documentary focusing on cocoa farming in Ghana, but also family.

Want to take your understanding one step further?

Rediscover the UK’s natural capital via its conservation efforts across land, coast and sea. Uncover where to find the best forests, coolest eco hotels and incredible charities restoring wildlife and habitats.

Subscribe for free for the latest Sea Change content, interviews, insider tips and book lists released each week until the end of September 2022.

Take your positive impact to the next level

Join our FREE Ripples community for free in 2022.

Expect a friendly, virtual community packed with keen sustainable changemakers.

Come to free virtual events, a documentary watch along and meet 1000s of other people interested in conservation, permaculture, soil health, recycling, social enterprise and more!

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