3 New Environmental Docs to Watch This Fall
This week marks the official start of fall, but longer nights and colder days can make it harder to spend time outdoors. Luckily, there are several inspiring environmental films that can be streamed at home.
1. Kiss the Ground
Streaming On: Netflix
Premiere Date: Sept. 22
Between wildfires devastating the U.S. West Coast and storms battering the Gulf, the impacts of the climate crisis can feel overwhelming right now. Kiss the Ground offers an alternative to all of the bad news by focusing on solutions.
The film, directed by Josh and Rebecca Tickell and narrated by Woody Harrelson, explains how we can heal the Earth through "regenerative agriculture," farming practices that draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and into soil as a way to restore soil health, which in turn boosts ecosystems and food supplies.
"Kiss the Ground shows how feasible it is to make these changes at a grassroots level immediately and make a truly substantive impact with low cost and easy to implement solutions," Executive Producer RJ Jain said in an email. "This is why I got involved."
2. Public Trust: The Fight for America's Public Lands
Streaming On: YouTube
Premiere Date: Sept. 25
This award-winning documentary tells the stories of Indigenous activists, journalists, whistleblowers and historians working to protect America's public lands. The film focuses on three political struggles: the shrinking of Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, the mining of Boundary Waters Wilderness in Minnesota and the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to fossil fuel exploration.
Public Trust was directed by David Garrett Byars and produced by Jeremy Rubingh. Patagonia Films, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and actor Robert Redford are executive producers. It will be released on YouTube in time for National Public Lands Day.
"Our country is fortunate to have millions of acres of public lands, including National Parks, Monuments, Wildlife Refuges and Wilderness set aside for future generations," Redford said. "Sadly, these lands that belong to you and me are under unprecedented threats from the greed of big corporations, eager to weaken restrictions in the pursuit of profits. Many of our current politicians are also to blame. Public Trust tells the story of citizens who are fighting back. It's a much-needed wake-up call for all of us who want to preserve our unique and wild cultural heritage."
It will be released on YouTube at 2 p.m. EDT Friday in time for National Public Lands Day.
3. David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet
Streaming On: Netflix
Premiere Date: Oct. 4
Beloved nature broadcaster David Attenborough has spent his career introducing viewers to the wonders of our planet. In recent years, his footage of albatrosses swallowing plastic in Blue Planet II has been credited with helping to ramp up the global fight against plastic pollution. Now, in this World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-produced documentary, he reflects on the defining moments of his career and the devastating changes he has witnessed.
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet, which was also produced by Silverback Films and directed by Alastair Fothergill, Jonnie Hughes and Keith Scholey, features an intimate conversation between Attenborough and Sir Michael Palin as the broadcaster reflects on his life and a career that took him to every continent on Earth. In addition to streaming on Netflix, the movie will be available in select theaters starting Sept. 28.
"For decades, David has brought the natural world to the homes of audiences worldwide, but there has never been a more significant moment for him to share his own story and reflections," WWF executive producer Colin Butfield said in a statement. "This film coincides with a monumental year for environmental action as world leaders make critical decisions on nature and climate. It sends a powerful message from the most inspiring and celebrated naturalist of our time."
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By Tara Lohan
In 1999 a cheering crowd watched as a backhoe breached a hydroelectric dam on Maine's Kennebec River. The effort to help restore native fish populations and the river's health was hailed as a success and ignited a nationwide movement that spurred 1,200 dam removals in two decades.
Transmission lines from the Churchill Falls generating station in Labrador. Douglas Spott / CC BY-NC 2.0
Atlantic sturgeon were brought to the brink of extension in the 20th century and are now are listed as an endangered species. NOAA
Near Happy Valley-Goose Bay on the Churchill (Grand) River downstream from Muskrat Falls. Douglas Sprott / CC BY-NC 2.0
Construction of the Site C dam in British Columbia in 2017. Jason Woodhead / CC BY 2.0
The Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island is the first U.S. offshore wind farm. Dennis Schroeder / NREL / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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