Students examine the causes and effects of global warming and delve into questions of who is most responsible for and vulnerable to the changing climate. Students also grapple with how to respond to climate change in ways that are both effective and fair.
Below is a list of possible documentaries for the “Films and Climate Change” lesson. Teachers should preview films to be sure that they are appropriate for their classrooms.
Postcards from Climate Change is a collection of short films created by Greenpeace. These videos address some of the ways particular communities are experiencing climate change. They can be accessed for free on the Greenpeace website.
Chasing Ice is a documentary about a photographer using time-lapse photography to show visual evidence of climate change in the Arctic.
Shored Up is a documentary about the impacts of sea level rise along the eastern seaboard. It also touches on the political and financial conflicts in the United States about climate change and how to respond.
Thin Ice follows the daily lives and work of climate scientists around the world, creating a full-length documentary that aims to counter climate skepticism. Some of the language used in the film to explain scientific concepts may be challenging for students. In addition to the full-length film, short videos showing climate scientists at work can be accessed for free at the Thin Ice project’s website.
Sea Change is a project of the Seattle Times. It includes a series of short videos and accompanying articles about the effects of ocean acidification on marine life and why those changes are important to people. It can be accessed for free on the Seattle Times website.
Isle de Jean Charles is a short documentary about the Isle de Jean Charles, a tiny island in southern Louisiana. The film focuses on the lives of two people who live on the island whose families are facing a future where rising seas, coastal erosion, and storms are threatening to wash their home away.
Our Changing Climate follows the student filmmaker Finn Harries, who says, “We are the first generation to grow up learning about climate change, and we’re also the last generation who really get the opporutnity to tackle it,” on a trip to Greenland to learn more about melting ice sheets and the international risks of rising sea-levels.
COP21Youth Climate Video Competition winners, two young activists from Nepal and Uganda, share stories of their local communities and successful efforts to impact climate change and inspire others to contribute. Student activist, Saraswati Upadyaya says that small yet concrete changes in her habits as a consumer, and a desire to communicate and teach the concerns of climate change to others, make a big difference. Social entrepreneur Charles Batte shares his active efforts to build small, sustainable businesses with positive impacts that continue to grow in the community.