The 11 Most Inspiring Eco Movies Available Online

streaming movie

What’s a movie without a message? We round up some of our favorite eco themed movies available online today.

Warmer weather means big movie theater blockbusters are definitely coming at you (in 3D).  They’re fun of course, and sometimes even quite inspiring (not just because Robert Downey Jr. is slightly hot in his glowing chest Iron Man costume). But inevitably, we can only suspend disbelief for so long before the reality of our fast-paced world reminds us that there’s much to be done to make it all it can be.

And just like films of fiction and fantasy can entertain and inspire us, so too can those that use the creative medium to show us truth and help us to create change. These eco-focused films are some of the best of the best that can be viewed around the web without having to rent a DVD or have one shipped to you. Most are available on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime unless otherwise noted.

botany of desire

1. Botany of Desire: Join journalist Michael Pollan as he explores how certain plants have evolved with us over time and how this relationship has changed. It gives perspective on  just how amazing nature really is. It inspires more respect for the plant world and our place in it.

2. The Cove: It won an Oscar nomination and captured the hearts of millions with its tale of unthinkable dolphin slaughters in Japan. The thrilling direction will have you at the edge of your seat wanting to leap right into the ocean to help save these majestic creatures.

3. Cave of Forgotten Dreams: What’s so eco about Werner Herzog’s film of ancient cave paintings in France? Perspective. Who were we 30,000 years ago is as important as who we can be in another 30,000 years. We often overlook our connection with nature and art in our day-to-day lives and the story of the world’s oldest known cave paintings can help you to remember.


4. DIVE!: This award-winning short documentary details a dumpster diver’s journey into our global food waste crisis. It’s compelling and disheartening. You will never look at your food consumption habits the same again.

5. Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox: If you love Dr. Bronner’s soap, you’ve probably already read the bottle a few times, getting a glimpse of Dr. Bronner himself. But learn more about the man and the company in this fascinating documentary that highlights just how much of a positive impact a little soap company can have on the planet.

6. Earthlings: In our quest to be eco-friendly, we often overlook our animal friends and the impact our industrialization of them has on the globe. And even more than that, the psychological impact of widespread enslavement, torture and killing of these innocent creatures greatly effects how we approach many of our global crises. This film will inspire compassion and connection to Mother Nature and all her creatures like nothing you’ve ever seen before. View here.

7. Ethos: What is ethical consumerism? Just ask Woody Harrelson who hosts this exploration into what our purchasing power means for the planet and each other. Another world is possible and we can build it just by chosing where we spend our dollars.

food fight movie

8. Food Fight: Think our battle against corporate food manufacturers is a lost cause? Think again. Food Fight highlights the food revolution underway, including beloved chef, author and activist, Alice Water’s influence on the healthy and good food discussion.

9. Gasland: This Oscar-nominated documentary exposes the unbelievable impact hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has on the planet and the health of the surrounding communities. What’s happening to our water supplies and the people who have no choice but to drink from them will motivate you to look into protecting your family, your community our planet’s future from the potentially irreversible effects of fracking.

10. Vanishing of the Bees: Colony Collapse Disorder is creating unprecedented bee die-offs and unusual behavior. What’s causing it—or why—is still unknown. But what we do know is how important bees are for our food supply (and the rest of nature). Think they’re just pesky insects? Watch this film and think again.

11. Waste Land: This film documents the incredible amount of waste being generated (in Brazil) and one artist’s goal of turning it into art. It’s equal parts astonishing and inspiring. How else can we turn our bad habits into things of beauty?

Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments!

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Image: xJason.Rogersx

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites and, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better.