“There is nothing more humanizing for students than short documentary films; they grab the heart, offer a window into the daily lives of real people, and allow students to see other cultures and places as populated by living, breathing human beings on a planet we need for our survival.” Jennifer Klein, 2015 English teacher and faculty at Buck Institute
Climate Change 101 is a 4 minute video to give students an overview of climate change. Ideal for 3rd grade and up.
ACE has an excellent introductory 40 minute video on climate change. It requires an simple email account set up to watch the video.
The Story of Stuff has many short videos on current environmental issues and ways students can be involved.
The Original Story of Stuff fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. It exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.
Prince Ea is a rapper and spoken word artist who has a deep concern for climate change. In his short videos, Prince Ea warns of the devastation of climate change and an urgent call to action. Get your students talking and writing their own spoken word, they will definitely connect to Prince Ea’s words. Ideal for middle school/high school students.
This is a collection of TED talks by innovative thinkers on climate change. We have not screened all of them, but they are grouped into 9 topics: It’s real, the big picture, the forecast calls for, why climate change is a human rights issue, how do you solve a problem like the climate crisis, etc. Once you find the right topic, click on play and you can see all the videos on the playlist by topic and duration.
Full Length Documentaries:
The best known documentary on climate change that won the 2006 Academy Award. It raised awareness about climate change and brought it into popular culture. The films remains a good introduction for students. Students can investigate what has happened in the 12 years since the film was made, how it has shaped the environmental movement, and what still needs to be done.
Al Gore’s 2016 TED Talk “The case for optimism on climate change” this 25 min talk summarizes recent research and positive news on solar energy and social movements to address climate change.
The film addresses the progress made to tackle the problem and Gore’s global efforts to persuade governmental leaders to invest in renewable energy, culminating in the landmark signing of 2016’s Paris Agreement. Trailer and a download for a classroom viewing
Narrated by Alec Baldwin, Six Degrees explores the tipping point in climate change and the alarming changes that we all will face. Students will feel the sense of urgency to learn and take action.
Free download Do The Math
The math is simple: the fossil fuel industry has five times the amount of coal, gas and oil that even the most conservative governments know is safe to burn. Left to their own devices, they’ll push us past the brink of cataclysmic disaster and life as we know it will be irrevocably altered forever – unless we rise up and fight back. In November 2012, best-selling author and environmental activist Bill McKibben and 350.org — the organization he co-founded — hit the road to raise awareness of this terrifying math and build a movement to challenge the fossil fuel industry.
This hour long documentary tells the story of scientists and citizens working together to resist the oil and gas lobby’s ongoing efforts to pass a fracking-friendly ordinance in Sandoval County, New Mexico. It details the risks posed by fracking to the entire middle Rio Grande aquifer. Ideal for middle and high school students. This documentary is interdisciplinary and could be shown in science, social studies, and civics classes.
Before the Flood features Leonardo DiCaprio on a journey as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, traveling to five continents and the Arctic to witness climate change firsthand. He goes on expeditions with scientists uncovering the reality of climate change and meets with political leaders fighting against inaction. He also discovers a calculated disinformation campaign orchestrated by powerful special interests working to confuse the public about the urgency of the growing climate crisis. With unprecedented access to thought leaders around the world, DiCaprio searches for hope in a rising tide of catastrophic news.
Chasing Ice is an award winning documentary of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by taking amazing photography and videos to show the rapid recession of glaciers.
Chasing Coral looks at how reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. A team of divers, photographers and scientists set out on a thrilling ocean adventure to discover why and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world. The science of climate change and coral reefs told in a dramatic, exciting true story. Streaming on Netflix.
These are guiding questions and for 7-12 graders to complete as they watch Chasing Coral.