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Climate Change: Documentaries


Live Streaming video is available through the library's subscription to Kanopy

Click on the Documentaries tab to view and read reviews of the top Environmental Documentaries from that service. 

Remember, all you need is your library card to set up and account.  Instructions for doing so are here.

For a list of  librarian recommended documentaries see below.

Environmental Science Documentaries from Kanopy

Perspective: Historical


Filmmaker Jean-Robert Viallet

Java Films

For the last two centuries progress has been our reason for being; progress has provided us with better ways of living. But progress has also given us napalm, pesticides, nuclear waste and global warming. And progress significantly altered our planet for the long term. It can be measured in the atmosphere, in the ice caps and in sediment layers. In the last 40 years, the global scientific community has intensified research and warnings.

They regard our times as a new geological era. By this reasoning, we are not merely living in an environmental crisis, but rather a geological revolution caused by mankind. This new epoch has been dubbed the Anthropocene: The Age of Man.

What are the historical landmarks, the scientific and technological discoveries and the political and industrial choices at the source of this major change? Mixing footage and propaganda images with an original soundtrack, BREAKPOINT looks back at 200 years of development to provide an alternative view of our history of progress.

Running Time 99 mins

Kanopy URL:

Perspective: Environmental Science


Filmmaker: Ben Kalina

Outcast Films

When Superstorm Sandy devastated the East Coast, it was a wake up call to a new reality. SHORED UP takes us to the heart of this climate change controversy, following communities in New Jersey and North Carolina where politics, economics and science collide.

Beginning 3 years before Sandy hit and following the debates over beach replenishment and other attempts to hold back the sea, SHORED UP is a convincing call for action along our coasts. As the oceans rise and storms flood our towns and cities, we have a choice to make: do we continue to develop as we have in the past, ignoring clear risks and danger? Or, do we allow science to guide our policies for the future...before it's too late?

Official Selection at the San Francisco Green Film Festival.

Running Time 87 mins

Kanopy URL:

Environmental Science Documentaries from Kanopy

Perspective: Environmental Science


Filmaker Davis Guggenheim

This is a wake-up call that cuts through myths and misconceptions to deliver the message that global warming is a real and present danger. AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH brings home Al Gore's persuasive argument that we must act now to save the earth.

Winner of Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards.

Runs 97 minutes

Kanopy URL:

Perspective: Environmental Science


Filmaker Belisario Franco

The Amazon is a vast laboratory for sustainable experiments that are revealing new relationships among human beings, corporations, and the natural heritage crucial for life on the planet. This is where the guidelines are being drawn up for a new global economic model: the green economy. With an astonishing soundtrack and cinematography, Eternal Amazon presents a critical analysis of how the world's largest tropical rainforest is understood and utilized.

Exploring the Amazon's five million square kilometers--home to 20% of the world's freshwater reserves--the film asks whether it is possible for humans to make sustainable use of the rainforest by featuring nine successful projects for sustainable forest use that directly benefit the local population and foster good economic partnerships. Experts like economist Sergio Besserman, ecologists Bertha Becker and Virgilio Viana, and Amazonians themselves explain activities such as agriculture, fisheries, and animal husbandry. The film portrays the daily lives of the forest people as the guardians of this great natural heritage that, if properly managed, could last into eternity.

Runs 88 minutes

Kanopy URL:

Perspective: Environmental Science


Filmakers: Cyril Dion, Melanie Laurent

Faced with a sense of powerlessness in the face of growing evidence of a coming mass human extinction, Melanie Laurent (Inglorious Bastards) and activist Cyril Dion travel to ten countries where grassroots pioneers are reinventing their economies and democracies. From Detroit, where urban farms have transformed a dying city, to Copenhagen, where nearly 70% of the energy is renewable, to Kuttambakkan in India, where participative democracy allows different castes to work together, and to other communities around the world,

TOMORROW engages the audience to consider what can and must be done to save our future.

"*Critic's Pick! Strikingly overall sense of lighthearted adventure...the hopscotching visuals are as vibrant as the subjects profiled." - The New York Times

Runs 120 minutes

Kanopy URL:

Perspective: Environmental Science


Filmaker Jerry Rothwell

This astonishing documentary chronicles the adventures of an eclectic group of young pioneers - Canadian hippie journalists, photographers, musicians, scientists, and American draft dodgers - who set out to stop Richard Nixon's atomic bomb tests in Amchitka, Alaska, and end up creating the worldwide green movement.

Greenpeace was founded on tight knit, passionate friendships forged in Vancouver in the early 1970s. Together they pioneered a template for environmental activism which mixed daring iconic feats and worldwide media. The group had a prescient understanding of the power of media, knowing that the advent of global mass communications meant that the image had become a more effective tool for change than the strike or the demonstration.

Winner of the Editing Award and nominated for the Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. Nominated for Best Documentary at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.

Runs 111 minutes

Kanopy URL:

Documentary DVD's From Library

Perspective: California, Climate Change, Sustainable Agriculture


DOC 630.92 BIG


The Biggest Little Farm chronicles the eight-year quest of John and Molly Chester as they trade city living for 200 acres of barren farmland and a dream to harvest in harmony with nature. Through dogged perseverance and embracing the opportunity provided by nature's conflicts, the Chesters unlock and uncover a biodiverse design for living that exists far beyond their farm, its seasons, and our wildest imagination. Featuring breathtaking cinematography, captivating animals, and an urgent message to heed Mother Nature's call.

Perspective: Species Extinction


DOC 576.84 RAC


Academy Award-winning filmmakers expose the forces that are leading our planet to its next mass extinction, potentially resulting in the loss of half of all species. A never-before-seen view of an international wildlife trade, operating in the shadows, reveals how creatures that have survived for millions of years may be wiped from Earth in our lifetime.

Perspective: Climactic Changes


DOC 551.46 CHA


National Geographic' photographer James Balog was once a skeptic about climate change. But through his Extreme Ice Survey, he discovers undeniable evidence of our changing planet. In 'Chasing Ice,' we follow Balog across the Arctic as he deploys revolutionary time-lapse cameras designed for one purpose: to capture a multi-year record of the world's changing glaciers. Balog's hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. Traveling with a young team of adventurers by helicopter, canoe and dog sled across three continents, Balog risks his career and his well-being in pursuit of the biggest story in human history.

Perspective: Water Management




Wars of the future will be fought over water, as they are today over oil, as the source of all life enters the global marketplace and political arena. Corporate giants, private investors, and corrupt governments vie for control of our dwindling fresh water supply, prompting protests, lawsuits, and revolutions from citizens fighting for the right to survive. Past civilizations have collapsed from poor water management. Will ours too?

Perspective: Climatology


DOC 551.6 DEC


Join scientists on a quest to better understand the weather and climate machine called Earth. Why do scientists overwhelmingly agree that the climate is changing, and how can humans be resilient, even thrive, in the face of enormous change?