Lights, camera… climate action!
Some films can make you laugh until your jaws hurt, or go on a crying spree. They can make your heart flutter or just stop and… think. The same goes for these films about the impact of climate change on our planet and lives.
Some of these stories have an eery prescient feel to them. Nonetheless, they are an entertaining way to find out more about our planet – and inform on what lies ahead if we don’t make positive changes now.
These are some of the best films to watch, where climate change plays a leading role. The choice is ours, subjective, but they are worthy of your time and reflection.
Fiction vs. Reality: 10 climate change films
“Soylent Green” (1973) by Richard Fleischer
The story takes place in New York, circa 2022 – a distant future at the time the film was shot. Even so, this film already imagined a planet where global warming had led to irreversible consequences such as loss of marine species, scarce food and severe pollution. Only the richest have access to fresh food, while millions consume a mysterious mix of plankton and algae that soon starts to raise suspicion…
“Princess Mononoke” (1997) by Hayao Miyazaki
This is an anime masterpiece. It shows how humans and nature intersect and what happens when technology and natural resources don’t match. After being cursed, Ashitaka sets out to find answers but stumbles upon a war between the forest gods and the Tatara clan instead. She then meets San, aka Princess Mononoke, who will do everything he can to save the forest… from humans.
“The Day After Tomorrow” (2004) by Roland Emmerich
A team of palaeoclimatologists is studying the Larsen Ice Shelf along the coast of Antarctica when they suddenly find proof of an incoming ice age brought on by climate change and human action. However, their discoveries fall on deaf ears and… well, you’ll have to watch it to find out what happens. A film that marked a generation and that remains impressively up-to-date two decades on.
“The Road” (2009) by John Hillcoat
A heart-warming story about a father and son trying to make it in an arid and sterile world after a catastrophe killed every plant and animal. Hoping for a better chance of survival, they risk a long, perilous walk to the coast. But the road hides dangers that lurk on every turn.
“Snowpiercer” (2013) by Bong Joon-Ho
What if the world froze and the only way to survive was on board a train that travelled around the Earth non-stop? Welcome to 2031, 17 years after the start of an ice age caused by climate change. Snowpiercer’s passengers are separated by social class, and only the upper echelons have access to fresh, nutritious food. But revolution is brewing…
“Interstellar” (2014) by Christopher Nolan
Natural disasters, famine, and droughts are killing planet earth. Solution? A team of astronauts sets out on an interstellar journey to find a new planet that can support human life and ensure humanity’s survival. A planet-hopping action film that is also a breathtaking drama.
“Don’t Look Up” (2021) by Adam McKay
In this dark comedy, two astronomers realize an asteroid is on a direct path to collide with the Earth, potentially triggering a new mass extinction event. Despite confirmation from NASA and other agencies, the White House appears unwilling to act. A race against time ensues to alert the government, the media and even celebrities, and prevent the worst.
Best climate change films for kids
Kids can – and should – join the conversation about climate change. This way, they can learn about the significance of preserving ecosystems and biodiversity and adopt sustainable habits from a young age. Here are some fun (and educational) films.
“Ice Age” (2002) by Wedge and Carlos Saldanha
An Ice Age threatens the Earth, prompting the animals to look for safety. Manny, a mammoth, Sid, a sloth, and Diego, a sabre-toothed tiger, join forces to reunite a lost child with his father, while the new glacial weather looms. One of the funnies films ever to address such complex topics.
“Wall-E” (2008) by Andrew Stanton
In a distant future where the Earth became uninhabitable from pollution, a small waste-collecting robot received a visit from a more modern robot, which humanity sent to look for signs of life. This story features plenty of sustainability lessons for both kids and grown-ups. No wonder it won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
“AINBO: Spirit of the Amazon” (2021) by José Zelada and Richard Claus
The young hero of this story, Ainbo, lives in a lost civilization in the Amazon rainforest called Candámo. She has to save this little wild paradise from loggers and miners who threaten to destroy the nature of the Amazon – rich in biodiversity.
These are our top film suggestions to learn more about sustainability and climate change, but there are many more to choose from. Pick your favourite film, grab some popcorn and make yourself comfortable. And remember, in the real world, we can all write a happy ending for our planet.