• Megan at ZeroSmart

Best Netflix Documentaries on Sustainability to Watch in 2022

Updated: Apr 7

We have put together our list of Best Netflix Documentaries on Sustainability to Watch in 2022. Whether you want to follow David Attenborough around the globe, or learn whereabouts your food is from - we have the perfect choice for you.


1. Our Planet


Our Planet is bursting with awe-inspiring footage filmed using the latest filming technology. This eight-part documentary was filmed across fifty countries and released in 2019.


Beyond just showing a variety of ecosystems inaccessible to most humans, this series also emphasises how fragile these places are and how humanity must do more to protect them. From jungles to deserts, from forests to seas we get to witness the sometimes amusing, sometimes sorrowful snippets of the lives of a vast cast of animals and we get to understand how badly our actions are threatening their very survival.


Make sure to also check out Our Planet: Behind the Scenes to see what it takes to capture these remote places and get the perfect shot.


2. My Octopus Teacher


When filmmaker and photographer Craig Foster met a young octopus swimming near his home in South Africa, he decided to visit her every day for the next year. They form a deep connection as he slowly begins to win the trust of this beautiful and intelligent creature. My Octopus Teacher is a heartwarming documentary that will show you underwater in a way you have never seen before.



3. Chasing Coral


Chasing Coral is the winner of the Sundance 2017 Documentary Audience Award. The documentary follows a group of scientists, photographers and divers, who set out to document how the oceans are changing and the corals are dying. With beautiful footage shot in over 30 countries and the support of over 500 people around the world, they showed us that this marvellous and colourful underwater world is vanishing so quickly, but it’s not too late to save it.



4. David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet


Legendary naturalist David Attenborough has lived an extraordinary life in his 90+ years on this planet. In one of the latest and most powerful documentaries on climate change, he tells his story of encountering remarkable creatures but also witnessing the rapid destruction of their habitats.


Perfect for your climate change denying uncle (but important for everyone), this film is a grave warning that we’re headed for the next big extinction if we don’t make dramatic changes soon.David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet was released only shorter after David Attenborough’s book - A Life on Our Planet.



5. There’s Something in the Water


Based on the book There’s Something in the Water: Environmental Racism in Indesgineous & black communities this documentary reveals how, in the province of Nova Scotia, Canada, environmental hazards disproportionately affect low income, often black and indigenous communities.


Exposing just how powerful and corrupt rich corporations and politicians are, There’s Something in the Water is sure to spark discussion about the kinds of governments we need for a more healthy and sustainable future.




6. Mission Blue


Mission Blue is a sustainability documentary through the eyes of legendary oceanographer Dr Syliva: A Woman whose life’s mission is to protect the seven seas. This documentary on sustainability chronicles key moments in the career of this celebrity scientist and her quest to create a global network of protected marine sanctuaries – deemed Mission Blue. With stunning underwater footage, this film will underscore just why the oceans are worth protecting.

7. Rotten


Rotten is a sustainability documentary about food and its ugly truths. This two-season documentary will teach from common household foods like milk and chicken, to favourites like chocolate and avocados, each episode focuses on one food or beverage, explaining how it developed into a global industry. Along the way, the series unveils the fraud, corruption, and controversy that surrounds these foods by talking with producers, consumers, and industry experts.


Want to know how your food is produced? Or how you can make more, informed suitable diet choices? This series is for you.



8. Brave Blue World


“Racing to Solve Our Water Crisis” - Brave Blue World features Matt Damon and Jaden Smith, who each have co-founded nonprofits related to water, as well as scientists and pioneers around the world who are tackling problems of water scarcity and sanitation.


Despite this documentary highlighting the urgency of our global water crisis, it does have a hopeful tone.



9. The Ivory Game


The Ivory Game follows filmmakers as they spend well over a year undercover, investigating the illegal poaching of elephants in Africa and smuggling by dealers over to China and Hong Kong. African elephants are being hunted to the point of extinction with now less than half a million left in the wild.


It’s a sad watch about a desperate battle but there are plenty of wildlife campaigners, investigators and park rangers working hard to do the right thing. The ivory trade is illegal but there is a thriving black market and this documentary presents a stark warning to governments who need to do more to stop this.



10. Kiss the Ground


Kiss the Ground is a documentary about how soil could be the answer to our climate crisis. There is a bit more to it than that, but Kiss the Ground is all about protecting our all-important soils to stabilise our climate, draw down carbon dioxide and restore ecosystems.


The documentary focuses on the US farming scene and how mass food production methods are causing incredible damage to topsoil. The logical and well-explained solution to combat this is through sustainable, organic, regenerative agriculture which works with nature rather than against it.



Conclusion

This is our Best Netflix Documentary on Sustainability to Watch in 2022. If this isn’t enough to fill your boots, why not try Seaspiracy: What is It All About or The 5 Best Vegan Documentaries and where to watch them.


Did we miss any? Let us know @zerosmartuk.