Earth Day | 10 films about issues facing our planet

Earth Day | 10 films about issues facing our planet

Celebrate Earth Day and our incredible planet with this selection of 10 films that powerfully tackle today's environmental issues.

This playlist is included in our special online programming for Canada 150 - What We Protect.

Find out more at: nfb.ca/Canada150

  • Island Green
    2013|3 min

    This short documentary takes a look at the changing face of PEI's agricultural industry. Once famous for its spuds and red mud, this tiny island province now has higher than average cancer and respiratory illness rates. Is there a link to industrialized farming? Rather than dwelling on PEI’s worrisome monocropping practices, Island Green dares to ask: What if PEI went entirely organic?

    The stirring words of PEI-born poet Tanya Davis are coupled with beautiful imagery and poignant stories from the island’s small but growing community of organic farmers, reminding us that we can rob the land only so much before it robs us of the nourishment we need for life. Island Green is ultimately a story of hope and healthy promise.

  • St. Lawrence: Stairway to the Sea

    In this spectacular feature-length documentary, oceanographer Jacques Cousteau and an NFB crew sail up the St. Lawrence River to the Great Lakes on board the specially equipped vessel, the Calypso. They explore the countryside from their helicopter and plumb the depths of the waters in their diving saucer. They encounter shipwrecks, the Manicouagan power dam, Niagara Falls, the locks of the St. Lawrence Seaway and an underwater chase with caribou.

  • The Hole Story

    In this feature documentary, Richard Desjardins and Robert Monderie continue in the same provocative vein as their earlier Forest Alert, this time turning their lens on Canada's mining industry. Using striking images, rare archival footage and interviews, The Hole Story analyzes company profits and the impact of mining on the environment and workers’ health.

  • Cry of the Wild
    1972|1 h 28 min

    This feature-length documentary from Bill Mason imparts his affection for the big northern timber wolves and the pure-white Arctic wolves. Filmed over three years in the Northwest Territories, British Columbia, the High Arctic and his home near the Gatineau Hills in Quebec, Mason sets out to dispel the myth of the bloodthirsty wolf. Going beyond the wolf's natural habitat, Mason relocated three young wolves to his own property and was able to film tribal customs, mating and birth. As a result, Cry of the Wild offers viewers access to moments in wildlife never before seen on film.

  • Being Caribou

    In this feature-length documentary, husband and wife team Karsten Heuer (wildlife biologist) and Leanne Allison (environmentalist) follow a herd of 120,000 caribou on foot across 1500 km of Arctic tundra. In following the herd's migration, the couple hopes to raise awareness of the threats to the caribou's survival. Along the way they brave Arctic weather, icy rivers, hordes of mosquitoes and a very hungry grizzly bear. Dramatic footage and video diaries combine to provide an intimate perspective of an epic expedition.

  • The Grasslands Project - A Rancher's View
    2016|8 min

    This short documentary from The Grasslands Project introduces us to rancher Miles Anderson. Anderson is in a tough spot. The land he ranches has been in his family for over a hundred years, but it’s bordered on three sides by an expanding Grasslands National Park and its conservation imperative. Cattle were once considered a major threat to grasslands integrity and the endangered sage grouse in the region, but, due in large part to Miles’ persistence, his cattle are now seen as part of the conservation solution.

  • Sun, Wind and Wood
    1978|24 min

    This short documentary film illustrates the various ways people fight the high cost of energy by devising ingenious ways to use wood, the sun, and the wind. The film highlights one such project named the Ark. Using natural systems only, this bio-shelter ingeniously provides housing, heat, food and electricity for an entire family.

  • Never Lose Sight
    2009|21 min

    This short documentary presents the environmental challenges in Nunavut. Beneath the immaculate layer of snow, there are mountains of trash. Iqaluit's 2 dumps are filled beyond capacity and the municipality has no plan to solve the problem. Throughout the film, we discover the problems faced by this isolated region and learn just how serious they are. But above all, we hear a call to action from the residents, who don't want to see the North they love disappear. In French with English subtitles.

    This documentary was made as part of the Tremplin program, with the collaboration of Radio-Canada.

  • What on Earth!
    1966|9 min

    This animated short proposes what many earthlings have long feared – that the automobile has inherited the planet. When life on Earth is portrayed as one long, unending conga-line of cars, a crew of extra-terrestrial visitors understandably assume they are the dominant race. While humans, on the other hand, are merely parasites. An Oscar® nominee, this film serves as an entertaining case study.

  • Pocket Desert - Confessions of a Snake Killer

    This personal documentary is the story of Teresa Marshall, who grew up on a British Columbia ranch. Every child needs a demon, and Teresa took battle against rattlesnakes. In the dry interior of B.C., the south Okanagan and Similkameen valleys form the bio-region known as Canada's "pocket desert." As settlers' dreams of creating an agricultural Eden erase fragile desert lands that support a breathtaking array of wild species, the narrator and her snake-hunting neighbours are forced to examine their environmental attitudes.