20 nature documentaries, movies, and shows to check out on Earth Day

Apr 22 2020, 2:42 pm

Just because you’re stuck in isolation doesn’t mean you can’t virtually go out and explore the world on Earth Day.

From a documentary starring Zac Efron to Meghan Markle’s debut on Disney +, animals, nature, and more of our beautiful planet, here are a few timely shows and docs to dive into on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

Disney +

The Great Global Clean-Up (2020)

Zac Efron fronts a team of celebrities highlighting the importance of individuals and organizations which have made it part of their missions to help clean up the globe.

It premieres tonight at 10 pm ET on Discovery Channel before hopping over to the streaming service.

James Cameron’s Deepsea Challenge (2014)

In 2013, James Cameron stepped away from aliens and avatars and dove to the deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench.

You can’t celebrate Earth Day without the big blue ocean.

Elephant (2020)

Narrated by the Duchess of Sussex herself, Megan Markle chimes in on Disney’s Elephant, which follows a herd of African elephants as they migrate across the Kalahari desert.

There might be tears. But come on – elephants!

Dolphin Reef (2020)

Rick Eckley/Blue Motel Room Photography

From the Duchess to another big-time celeb, Dolphin Reef features Natalie Portman as the documentary follows Echo, a three-year-old bottlenose dolphin in the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean.

The Flood (2018)

What’s on Disney Plus

This doc follows a slew of incredible animals like leopards, elephants, lions, hippos, and more – adapt to this unpredictable and changing landscape of the Kalahari Desert.

Wild Yellowstone (2015)


Filmed in both summer and winter, Wild Yellowstone follows close-range footage of Yellowstone’s wildlife and captures the beauty of the land and animals “in a place that is like no other in this world,” according to National Geographic.

Jane (2017)

Disney Plus

Drawing from over 100 hours of previously unseen footage, Jane tells the real-life story of Jane Goodall, the renowned primatology scientist whose chimpanzee studies revolutionized the world’s understanding of chimps.


The Blue Planet: A Natural History of the Oceans (2010)

Sir David Attenborough narrates this critically acclaimed series from 2010 that dives deep into the marine environment of our planet.

Attenborough’s voice and Earth’s deep blue — a beautiful mix.

Absurd Planet (2020)

A cast of quirky critters and Mother Nature herself narrate this funny science series that peeks into the lives of Earth’s most incredible animals.

Our Planet (2019)

Narrated again by Sir David Attenborough, whose voice is unparalleled, Our Planet was filmed entirely in Ultra High Definition in over 50 countries from around the world. From exotic jungles to the deep seas, it’s only fitting to fuse 4K and Attenborough on Earth Day.

Growing Up Wild (2016)

Growing Up Wild takes young audiences to the wildest corners of the planet, telling the tales of five courageous animals as they take on their first challenges with a little guidance from their older family members.

Okja (2017)

If you’re in the mood for a non-documentary film on Earth Day, Okja should be high on your list. From the Oscar-winning director Bong Joon-ho of Parasite fame, Okja follows a young Korean girl and her giant pet pig named Okja.

The movie’s themes include environmentalism and animal cruelty. Bring the tissues.

Planet Earth I & II (2006)

When Planet Earth came out in 2006, it was absolutely groundbreaking. The docuseries from BBC — the first-ever filmed entirely in HD — is still as engaging now as it was 14 years ago.

A Plastic Ocean (2016)

A Plastic Ocean is an adventure documentary shot in more than 20 locations across the globe from 2012 to 2016. Explorers Craig Leeson and Tanya Streeter and a team of international scientists reveal the causes and consequences of plastic pollution and share solutions.

How to Change the World (2015)

This doc tells the story of the Greenpeace movement, told from the point of view of the activists in the 1970s who were protesting nuclear testing.

Chasing Coral (2017)

Chasing Coral follows a team of divers, scientists, photographers, and filmmakers fighting to stop coral reefs from dying on a massive scale while revealing the underwater mystery of the oceanic world.

Night on Earth: Shot in the Dark (2020)

When the sun goes down, a new world awakes, and new technology reveals wonders of the planet in a completely new light (or non-light).

“Across the globe, we discover a hidden side to the world’s greatest landscapes and animals,” says Netflix.

Amazon Prime

Sharkwater Extinction (2018)

Sharkwater Extinction follows the late filmmaker Rob Stewart as he exposes the illegal fishing industry that threatens the survival of the world’s sharks.

How the Wild West Was Won with Ray Mears (2014)

Bushcraft expert Ray Mears explores how the vast wilderness of the North American continent shaped the story of the Wild West.

Chasing Niagara (2015)

This one’s a wild ride. Actually. Pro kayaker Rafa Ortiz decides to follow his dream to paddle over Niagara Falls. The journey spans three years from the rainforest rivers of Mexico to the towering waterfalls of the US Northwest.

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