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CREDO Tip: 5 Must-Watch Climate Change Documentaries

“Our house is still on fire,” climate activist Greta Thunberg reminded us at the World Economic Forum earlier this week, taking the stage just after the Climate Denier-in-Chief accused activists in attendance of being “prophets of doom.”

With Australia ablaze, sea levels rising and the United States poised to leave the Paris Agreement later this year, CREDO, progressives across the country, our allies in the climate justice movement — and some amazing documentary filmmakers — are not deterred by lawmakers and leaders who refuse to act.

Despite the political rhetoric, climate change continues to worsen. We’ve compiled a list of a few great climate change documentary films that capture the urgency of the moment. 

The Hottest August (2019)

Billed as “a film about climate change, disguised as a portrait of collective anxiety,” director Brett Story spent the month of August 2017 in and around New York City interviewing average people about the sources of their anxiety in the shadow of the climate crisis. While the temperatures that month weren’t the hottest, they continue to break records ever since. The New York Times called the film “a cinematic gift both simple and multilayered, an intellectual challenge and an emotional adventure.”

Find a screening near you, or stream on PBS starting in April 2020.

Paris to Pittsburgh (2018)

When Donald Trump famously tweeted “I was elected to represent Pittsburgh, not Paris” as he announced his intent to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto doubled down on his city’s commitment to combat the climate crisis. Directed by Sidney Beaumont and Michael Bonfiglio and narrated by award-winning actress and activist Rachel Brosnahan, this National Geographic documentary highlights the imminent threats communities across the country are facing and the resiliency local leaders and activists are building to fight climate catastrophe. 

Available to stream on Amazon or Disney+

Ice on Fire (2019)

A follow up to Leila Conners’ “The 11th Hour” more than a decade later, this beautifully shot documentary features scientists and experts warning about the dire consequences of climate change as Leonardo DiCaprio narrates during sweeping drones shots of pristine landscapes and on-screen graphics. The filmmakers emphasize a dual approach to tackling the climate crisis, through an increased use of renewables and carbon sequestration.

Available to stream on HBO.

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017)

Al Gore, former Vice President and 2000 Presidential popular vote winner, follows up his successful 2006 powerpoint-heavy, Oscar-winning Inconvenient Truth with this sequel that ramps up the pressure and urgency of the climate crisis. In the age of Trump, where news cycles are measured in the time lapses between tweets, some of the political references feel somewhat dated only a few years later, yet Gore and directors Jon Shenk and Bonni Cohen expand on the first film’s slideshows to highlight Gore’s outrage demanding world leaders must do more to slow this existential threat to our planet.

Available to stream on YouTube, Amazon and Google Play.

Coming Soon: Hulu Documentary featuring Greta Thunberg (expected 2020)

Hulu recently announced an upcoming documentary featuring climate activist Greta Thunberg to premiere on the streaming service sometime later this year. Produced by Cecilia Nessen and Frederik Heinig and directed by Nathan Grossman, Greta (working title) follows the young activist from her early climate strikes in Sweden through her meteoric rise of taking on world leaders as a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Time Person of the Year while helping to lead a global climate movement.

Read more on Deadline.