Looking for ways to celebrate Earth Day? Ready to go green for your next family movie night? Then you've come to the right place. These Earth-friendly family movies are full of beautiful images -- and powerful themes about nature and the environment. Whether you like animated classics, moving animal documentaries, or epic sci-fi films that make you think, we've got you covered. Learn about the importance of protecting the planet with one of these picks.
These movies are meant to expand the way we think of movies that address our planet’s health and the ways in which our own well-being is connected to it. Some are obvious choices and others may be surprising, but each contributes to our understanding of what it means to live on earth and contribute to an ecologically sustainable planet.
I’ll also take this opportunity to strike up conversations around the different ways we can help our planet. Below are some of the movies that should be watched and I’ve separated them into two different groups. One for younger kids — all animated movies. And another for older kids and above — includes documentaries
Here we list some of the best picks to get a rounded view on the problems of today as well as potential solutions.
Eco-Friendly Animated Movies for Little Kids
WALL-E – If you haven’t seen it yet, this is an eco-friendly animated adventure not to be missed! Follow the last (and very lonely) robot left on Earth as he spends his days tidying up the planet. Until this charismatic little bot spots a new friend and together they embark on the greatest adventure across the galaxy! The entire family will enjoy this out-of-this world Pixar movie..
Dr. Seuss: The Lorax – This Dr. Seuss classic turned movie is all about protecting the planet! You may have read
The Lorax storybook before but have you seen the movie? The imaginative world of Dr. Seuss comes to life in this visually spectacular adventure.
Boy and the World – Young Cuca leaves his idyllic village on a grand adventure to find his father, who has traveled to the city seeking work. A poignant hand-drawn story that promotes family environmentalism. You can stream Boy and the World on Netlix.
Animals United – Little kids will love this animated eco-friedly Madagascar-like tale. The story takes place in the African Savannah as all the animals go on a journey to find out what happened to the water. As they try to find the missing water and save their family and friends they decide to unite and call on all creatures big and small to help them fight back. An action-packed African adventure for the entire family!
The Animal Train – A little boy sets off on a round-the-world night train to dreamland with only his toy dog for company. But soon all sort of endangered animals are asking to jump on board and join them on the journey. This animated pro-environment.
FernGully: The Last Rainforest – This is a family-fun animated movie featuring a strong environmental message. Magic and adventure await as this story takes place in a spectacular rainforest where a bat named Batty (whose radar has gone haywire) joins together with Crysta (a curious tree fairy), Zak (a real life human), and the Beetle Boys to save their marvelous world from the evil Hexxus. Enjoy it as a family!
Eco-Friendly Films & Documentaries for Older Kids
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind – If your older kids are into anime they’ll enjoy this beautiful film. Overflowing with compassion and bravery, this spectacular adventure includes an amazing heroine who’s abilities allow her to communicate with massive insects as she works hard to bring peace back to her ravaged planet. This is a stunning adventure full of intrigue and mesmerizing beauty. An intimate and unprecedented look at butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, bats, and flowers. A true celebration of life!
Oceans – This is another unprecedented look at nature from Disneynature. An informative documentary filled with mystery, beauty, and power. Take a journey into the depths and get a close up look at the remarkable creatures under the sea — migrate with whales, swim alongside a great white shark and race with dolphins at play! Available for streaming on Netflix.
Chasing Ice – In this documentary revolutionary time-lapse cameras capture a multi-year recording of the world’s changing glaciers. Included are compelling photos by National Geographic that give us a closer look at the effects of global warming.
Arctic Tale – Set in the vast snow kingdom at the top of the world, Arctic Tale is a real life kid-friendly adventure that serves up inconvenient truth and harrowing struggles for survival of two very different arctic creatures, Nanu, the polar bear cub and Seela, the walrus pup. Great for kids of all ages!
A Beautiful Planet – This documentary gives us a stunning look at Earth — and man’s sobering impact on it. Explore Earth and beyond as seen from the International Space Station.
Under the Sea – This film brings us a stunning vision of the beautiful– and fragile — world under the sea! It brings us face-to-face with the most mysterious and unusual ocean creatures. It’s an inspirational and entertaining film that is sure to get kids thinking about the impact climate can have on our oceans.