5 Nature Documentaries To Watch

What better way to wind down this summer than to watch a gripping nature based documentary. We have a perfect list below, which will keep you entertained for a few hours on a rainy day, when you can't get out to explore nature outside. Not only are some of these enjoyable to watch, they are really informative and can help bring to light a lot of the current struggles our world is facing.

5 nature documentaries to watch

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1. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

Cowspiracy

(Image Source: Cowspiracy)

This great documentary was developed by directors Kip Andersen & Keegan Kuhn in 2014, it is a movie with a total runtime of 90 minutes.

This documentary was originally funded via the use of Indiegogo, an online crowdfunding platform that allows users to raise funds for their own campaigns. It has enjoyed rave reviews from scoring the likes of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.2 on IMDB. Stacker has even been rated one of 30 best nature documentaries of all time.

“Cowspiracy '' urges the public to be more aware of and lower their use of animal products in an empowering campaign to help fight the losing battle with climate change. Shockingly the film brings to light how livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.

One way in which Cowspiracy grabs viewers is the numerous shocking eye-catching visuals and infographics scattered throughout the documentary that are very informative. In addition to the original, an updated version of the documentary was produced by actor/activist Leonardo DiCaprio, which premiered globally on Netflix on September 15, 2015.

Where to watch: Cowspiracy is available to stream on Netflix and can be purchased on Amazon.

2. Planet Earth (2006) & Planet Earth II (2016)

Planet Earth

(Image Source: BBC)

The Planet Earth series has been hailed as the holy grail when it comes to nature documentaries. When the original Planet Earth was launched over 15 years ago, it helped to inspire an unprecedented number of people worldwide to connect with the natural world, gaining an estimated global audience of over half a billion people. This incredible documentary is narrated by Sir David Attenborough, which explores our fascinating planet through the eyes of different species across the globe from the likes of iguanas to the rarest of bird species.

The success of the first, brought the demand for Planet Earth II which came along later and launched in 2016 and already surpassed expectations by drawing the second largest live TV audience in Britain during 2016 and becoming the most successful nature documentary for 15 years. The Emmy-winning series, which was the first of the BBC documentaries which was filmed in HD,  brings viewers into the homes and habitats of a variety of life and species on Earth.

Where to watch:: BBC or it is available on Amazon Prime to purchase or rent.

If you are passionate about our planet and want to find out what's being done to help fight the ecosystem crisis we are in, why not read up on our World Environmental Day 2021 article.

3.The Flood

The Flood

(Image Source: IMDB)

This National Geographic produced picture debuted in 2018 and is narrated by Angela Bassett. The Flood brings the miraculous phenomenon which is the Okavango Delta (which occurs when the Kalahari Desert , once a year, is flooded with water, becoming an oasis paradise for wildlife). The Flood is a two-hour journey through the life cycle of one of the planet’s last real wildernesses. It consists of two episodes. Rain from unseen highlands turns a barren part of the Kalahari Desert to an incredibly rich and diverse ecosystem in the world.

The Flood focuses on the biodiversity in the Okavango Delta, showing how incredible water can bring many animals together in one area. During the winter, when the Okavango waters rise, the animals descend on the area. And as the waters recede, the animals are left to fend for survival until it happens again a few months later, it has incredible photography and shows you clips of animals in never seen before situations. The documentary highlights how flooding, which is seen normally as destruction, is sometimes required and thrived upon in different sectors of the world.

Where to watch:Stream it now on The National Geographic

4.Fantastic Fungi

Fantastic Fungi

(Image Source: Fantastic Fungi)

The magical world of fungi and their multi-billion-year-old history is the subject of this fascinating documentary developed by Louis Schwartzberg and released in 2019.

Fungi is underplayed in our society and here it is brought out in a new light, Fantastic Fungi sets out to make audiences see mushrooms differently not just as a food. Fungi also aids in fermentation in the production of bread, cheeses, alcoholic beverages, and numerous other food preparations.

Not only this but Stamets’ message is that fungi is more useful than it seems, it can be used in medicines such as antibiotics and anticoagulants, but has ultimately bigger ways in which we can use them. He claims that fungi can be put to use in a variety of helpful ways: cleaning up oil spills, assisting chemotherapy and – a little more controversially – treating mental illness.

Where to watch: Stream it on Amazon or purchase it on Youtube .

5.BLACKFISH

Black Fish

(Image Source: Black Fish Movie)

This Seaworld focused documentary was released in 2013. Blackfish follows the legacy of captive whales in seaworld and in particular the life of a performing orca named Tilikum, highlighting the species’ intelligence and the impact of lifelong captivity. Blackfish is an enticing documentary which has gained a lot of popularity. It features  a number of former employees and  trainers themselves who lift the dark lid on the theme park’s secrets they don't want the public to find out. This documentary aims to open your eyes and change the way you look at performance killer whales and a lot of species that are kept in captivity purely for the enjoyment of humans.

The more we learn about the lives of the orcas in captivity, the more inevitable the violence seems.  The confinement of mammals that are meant to roam free over hundreds of kilometers seems so inhumane and just goes to show what a documentary has the power to do as it was powerful enough for the amusement park to make several changes.

Where to watch:  Available for streaming on Amazon or purchase on Youtube

The Positive Effects Of Nature Documentaries

Not only is nature beautiful, it has calming benefits. Being around places such as the sea, river, lake etc are known as blue spaces. They have many benefits for the mind and body and can help slow breathing and calm the nervous system. So it is no wonder that watching nature documentaries will have a positive direct impact on the mood and wellbeing of its viewers. BBC found that the UK audience mood significantly lifted by viewing landmark natural history hit Planet Earth II.

Furthering this result, there was an international study titled The Real Happiness Project showing nature documentaries' direct impact on the mood and wellbeing of its viewers. BBC collaborated with American Professor Keltner. They produced a global quantitative research project of over 7500 nationally representative participants from the U.S, UK, Singapore, India, South Africa and Australia and a literature review of over 150 scientific studies that have explored the link between a connection with nature  documentaries and human happiness and wellbeing. This study confirmed nationally that even short engagement with such shows leads to significant increases in positive emotions including awe, contentedness, joy and amusement.

What more evidence do you need to go watch these programmes now to boost your mood!

‘Watching nature documentaries makes you happier new research reveals’

In addition to this researchers at the University of Exeter published a study that shows nature documentaries can help combat the boredom associated with being isolated indoors (which we have seen a lot of this year). When isolation has been so tough for many this year, watching animals interacting physically may be vicariously soothing and can significantly boost mood and wellbeing, reduces feelings of sadness and alleviates negative feelings.

Doing Your Part To Support Nature

In recent years, a growing number of filmmakers have used their platform to raise public consciousness about the many threats posed by global warming. Coral bleaching, rising sea levels, farm animal cruelty, and melting polar ice-caps have all been addressed in documentaries, as well as the significant role played by human beings concerning climate change and environmental degradation.

These documentaries bring a lot of pressing issues to light that our Earth currently faces, such as the constant battle with global warming and the need to protect endangered species. So if you want to help support some associations which help to protect and conserve our planet, please check them out below;

Support For Wildlife: World Wildlife Fund

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is a charitable organization committed to conserving nature and reducing threats to the diversity of life on Earth. Best known for its work with endangered species, WWF has expanded its mission to address not only specific animals and landscapes but also the larger issues that impact them. The organization partners with businesses, governments, and on-the-ground organizations to implement policies and practices that will benefit wildlife, nature, and the global climate. 

Visit them here to help donate and support them on their ventures.

Support For Our Oceans: The Ocean Conservation Trust

The Ocean Conservation Trust is a global Ocean conservation charity acting now towards our vision of a healthy Ocean.  The Ocean is the foundation of all life, an extraordinary and largely unexplored place that is teeming with fascinatingly diverse plants and animals.

They are a  team of marine biologists, educators, communicators, researchers, ecologists, oceanographers and divers who are ocean optimists. They work tirelessly to connect people to the Ocean with an optimistic and solutions-based approach, centred around physical and emotional connections with nature. Some of their projects range from Conservation Comms Education & Learning Habitat Restoration Ocean Grants and research. 

To help further their work and help save our oceans please visit them here to join or donate with them.

Support For Reforestation: Gone West

Trees are vital. Vital for us and every species which lives on Earth as they give us oxygen, store carbon, stabilise the soil and give life to the world's wildlife. They also provide us with the materials for tools and shelter. Replanting our already decreasing tree population is one of the major ways in which we have to fight climate change and the nasty that comes with it.

Gone West is a tree planting company. Our goal is to create environmental and social benefits around the world: we want to generate ethical, green jobs and help to establish, and restore, natural habitats. We are here to help  balance both individuals and businesses'  environmental footprints to make the world a little greener. By supporting us you can help us support projects around the globe with native trees and the resources to plant them.

Visit us here to learn more and donate.

Support For Wetlands: WWT

Wetlands are one of the world’s most biodiverse habitats. 40% of the world's plants and animals depend on wetlands. They provide homes for many endangered species, offer a lifeline for freshwater species and act as vital ‘service stations’ for millions of migratory birds to rest and refuel. Coastal wetlands like mangroves are among the most biologically diverse places on earth. By supporting WWT you can help them support the wetlands like they have done for the past 70 years. They also help to protect endangered species and habitats, restore and create new wetlands.

To help further their work and help save our oceans please visit them here to join or donate with them.

Tree planting

We hope you have enjoyed reading this blog and will take the time to watch one of our recommended documentaries, or help to support the number of businesses fighting the everlasting battle our planet faces.

If you would like to further help there is an investment opportunity allowing you to invest in Gone West (Capital at risk. Approved by Seedrs). There are a plethora of reasons as to why you should invest with us. The main reason being that you will be helping support a real tree planting business and not just a green washed outlet used to bigger the egos of greedy conglomerates.

There are now more climate-focused investment options than ever before and in July 2020, Moneyfacts revealed that 140 ethical unit trusts had grown by 4% in the 12 months to 1 July 2020 compared to a contraction of 1.5% for those not in the ethical category.

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