Image by Adapt

6 climate crisis docs you need to watch immediately

This list of documentaries might change your life.

by Frankie Dunn
25 September 2020, 7:00am

Image by Adapt

It’s time to wake up. On Global Day of Climate Action, VICE Media Group is solely telling stories about our current climate crisis. Click here to meet young climate leaders from around the globe and learn how you can take action.

Millions across the globe are suffering from the impact of climate disasters right now. Before headline-grabbing fires swept California, there was (and still is) unrelenting drought in sub-Saharan Africa; tropical storms destroying communities across several continents; and crushing heatwaves killing people worldwide. Add a global pandemic to the equation and it leaves you wondering, is this a disaster movie or just life in 2020? Things are not fine.

Overlapping disasters are a new reality to get used to as the climate crisis worsens. But a sustainable future is yours! If you want it. Start by pressuring your government to act now on the climate crisis and, perhaps most importantly, never stop educating yourself. That’s where Adapt come in. The London-based “climate club” and creative organisation communicate climate issues with their impressive design skills, art, bad jokes and occasional parties. Run by Josie Tucker and Richard Ashton -- two creatives and climate activists -- Adapt are on a mission to share knowledge, encourage action and build a troop of motivated activists. And you know what? You’ve probably already shared one of their very aesthetically pleasing, incredibly informative posts on Instagram.

“At the start of the year we were gearing up to launch our Climate Action Blowout; a week-long festival of climate action,” they explain. “When lockdown started we had to postpone it until next year, so we are currently working on how that might look,” With that on hold, the duo are about to launch a new project centred around protest. “We have some incredible artists involved and some state-of-the-art tech. We can't say much more than that, but it'll be launching in the next few weeks.” You heard them -- stay tuned!

In the meantime, we highly recommend hitting pause on Selling Sunset and working your way through Adapt’s watch list of essential environmental documentaries.

Simon Amstell’s Carnage
“Not a documentary but a genius speculative mockumentary on a plant-based future. Project Drawdown listed a global uptake in veganism in their top five solutions to the climate crisis, and this mockumentary by Simon Amstell serves you hard facts in the shape of hilarious yet disturbing fiction.” Watch it here.

BBC Newsnight’s How climate sceptics tricked the public
“Most climate documentaries are focused on science and politics, but this is an overview into a scandal that happened a decade ago, showing how delicately we should treat climate communication. The work of just one sceptical hacker, leaking climate scientists' emails out of context had the potential to de-rail public opinion and forced them into the political sphere.” Watch it above, or here.

Al Gore’s An Inconvenient truth
“This documentary was one of the first to really open people’s eyes to climate science and the reality of our situation. Josie (half of Adapt) watched this at school when she was 14 and it gave her sleepless nights. It is now 14 years old and many of the facts in it can be replaced with more extreme, hard-hitting science in 2020, as sea levels, atmospheric CO2 and temperatures are still rising. Despite this, it's excellent to watch now, not just because it helped to prompt a global climate movement, but because it reflects our knowledge and awareness 14 years ago. At the time of release, in 2006, it was seriously shocking but provided a glimpse of hope in the wave of reactions it stirred — it makes you ask: why haven't we changed enough since?” Watch it here.

David Attenborough’s Climate Change — The Facts
“In 2019 when climate change and environmental activism was getting more air time in the media, David Attenborough and the BBC presented an overview of the impacts of man-made climate change, and the impacts it is having and will have on all species. If you're looking for an overview to help you dip your toes into the climate movement, and you want Sir David to hold your hand through it, then this is for you. By no means is this a comprehensive or specialised documentary but it helped a huge amount of people in the UK to come to terms with reality.” Watch it here.

The True Cost
“The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions. In the UK alone, 38 million items of new clothing are bought each week! The True Cost is hard-hitting and not for the faint-hearted — but it highlights the social and environmental impact the fashion industry is having and how it desperately needs to change.” Watch it here.

Leonardo di Caprio’s Before the Flood
“Love or hate Leo, you have to admit — he can make a climate documentary. Whilst he is the creator and centrepiece of the Before the Flood, the documentary is pretty stirring. The film covers how we have failed to act, the lack of action and what this means going forward. If climate change is a subject you have yet to dive into, this one is a good one for getting passionate about the impending doom we are facing.” Watch it here or on Disney+.

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