Earth Day is here and it’s gone digital again, which means there’s no better time than now to load up your playlists with shows, documentaries, and podcasts that will keep your mind engaged with some of the issues facing our planet while you stay at home.
Check out some of these listings from Plex to get your inner environmentalist going.
Set All Streams to Planet Earth
When I was younger, I used to be hooked on nature shows that aired on the Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel. But nowadays? Let’s be real–those channels ain’t what they used to be. Here are some other options that might satisfy that nature show itch.
MagellanTV NOW will continue its seven-day marathon of nature documentaries that highlight the Earth in beautiful and fascinating ways. Programming includes shows such as Genius of Nature, a three-part series featuring the ways animal adaptations have influenced human technology; Plastic: The Real Sea Monster, a documentary about the tons of plastic waste littering Earth’s oceans; and Wildest Islands, a series that explores the diverse wildlife on various islands around the world.
Xplore will be going wild with a full day of Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown, a show where the famous zookeeper divulges his vast knowledge of the animal world as he counts down a list of wild creatures. You might be surprised by how many lists he’s got; this very successful series managed to run from 1993 to 2008.
Sadly, Jack Hanna has recently been diagnosed with dementia and can no longer work with his beloved beasts as he has for the past four decades. His televised series not only serves as a great watch for Earth Day, but also as a legacy of his dedication to animals and education.
There’s more to the Earth than just animals, and WeatherSpy is here to show the turbulent, yet beautiful, side of our planet. Check out Angry Planet in the morning to follow the escapades of a storm chaser looking for the most extreme types of weather (such as avalanches and monsoons) the Earth has to offer.
Documentaries about Eating the Earth
A big part of Earth Day is re-evaluating mankind’s impact on the planet. While there are definitely many, many ways we’ve altered the Earth’s environment–through means such as deforestation and producing an excessive level of carbon emissions–one particular way that stands out is how humans grow, consume, and waste food.
Food Choices gives viewers an overall glance at the interconnected way our food affects our health, the planet’s health, and the health of other animal species. It does favor a plant-based diet (which is to be expected for a doc like this), but also features interesting information that might dispel some marketing myths about health supplements.
Vegucated is a vegan-centered documentary with a bit more comedy injected into it. The director challenged three people who can’t live without meat and cheese to go vegan for six weeks. The process is both entertaining and educational as the city-dwelling subjects learn more about the farm animals that meat comes from, what a vegan diet entails, and factory farming.
Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story
Anyone who works in the produce department of a grocery store will know that a lot of edible fruits and veggies get tossed out before they even reach a shopper’s eyes. Maybe there’s a tiny bug bite, a blemish, or a bruise on the skin–either way, it’s ugly, and it’s gone. And that’s just at the grocery store; there’s even more produce going to waste at the farm and in our homes.
Just Eat It documents how much food is wasted at all levels and how easily both corporations and consumers discard perfectly edible food. While some may dispute the filmmakers’ focus on consumer food waste, it’s actually not so misguided to put some blame on regular people. According to the UN’s 2021 Food Waste Index Report, 61% of food wasted in 2019 came from households across all income groups — more than twice what researchers estimated in 2011.
Podcasts are a great way to move around at home while keeping your mind thinking about the Earth. Even though they’re missing the entrancing imagery of films, there are still plenty of facts to learn that are just as captivating.
How to Save a Planet
What is climate change, and what can we do about it? This podcast features a journalist and a policy-passionate scientist chatting about solutions to the Earth’s climate problems, discussing issues with experts, and asking questions about the effectiveness of current initiatives.
BBC Earth Podcast
BBC Earth is a brand known for having eye-dazzling documentaries, but have you tried out their podcast? There are just as many mind-boggling stories about nature to hear about, such as how a man-made forest led to extinctions and how creatures live in the deepest parts of the ocean.
PBS NOVA Now
PBS’s famous NOVA series comes in earbud format with a podcast that focuses on the scientists and researchers who are trying to understand our world. Episodes include subjects like the health risks that come with West Coast wildfires and genetically engineered food crops.
The Climate Question
Another BBC offering, this podcast discusses the difficulties of saving the world from climate change and debunks some “greenwashing” claims that have been floating around. One episode that’d make for an interesting Earth Day discussion is whether the dystopian fantasy of science fiction has subtly convinced audiences to feel powerless about fighting back against a climate-doomed future.