We’ve developed a strong relationship with our online streaming services lately. While there’s nothing wrong with diving into a little Tiger King and Ozark (guilty as charged), it’s worth noting that these platforms are full of knowledgeable, eye-opening, and inspiring sustainability content as well. We asked a few of our travel-industry friends to recommend their favorite sustainability documentaries – here’s what they love about each, how they relate to sustainable tourism, and where you can stream them.
Into the Okavango
Stream It: Disney Plus
“Into the Okavango puts front and center what goes into real-deal conservation,” says Virtuoso agency executive Lila Fox. The National Geographic-produced documentary follows a group of conservationists and scientists on a four-month expedition across Africa as they learn how to save the river system that feeds the Okavango Delta – a once unspoiled water source that has become limited over time. “When a hotel or lodge shares their sustainability initiatives and how they directly play into the cost of running a property, the prices they charge make sense. Many times, price is a justification for travelers who consider sustainability and conservation important. I love this film because the people involved share a collective passion for conservation. I value that so much because in my own travels – especially in recent years – I crave explorations that have deep personal meaning.”
Stream It: Netflix
From the creators of Planet Earth, this award-winning British docuseries narrated by David Attenborough takes a closer look at nature’s beauty and how climate change endangers all living creatures. “It inspires me to create and communicate to our guests the wonders of the landscapes and wildlife we have under stewardship,” says Lindy Rousseau, the chief marketing officer of Singita. “The series features many landscapes where Singita lodges are situated. In the post-Covid world, I believe travelers will want to reconnect with nature and avoid overcrowded and historically over-touristed places, and the destinations in Our Planet showcase the many wilderness areas where travelers can appreciate nature in its raw form.”
Before the Flood
Stream It: Netflix, Amazon Prime
Starring actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Before the Flood showcases the dangers of climate change through the eyes of environmental leaders around the globe. “This documentary gives us a global view of climate change’s impact,” says Andy Levine, the CEO of DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co. “When you see what’s happening to our forests, animals, and communities, you feel a sense of urgency to help. We must make changes to travel in a way that’s responsible – reduce our carbon footprint, be mindful of our impact, and support local communities.”
Stream It: Netflix
In Chasing Coral, divers, photographers, and scientists embark on multiple journeys to understand and document coral bleaching. I’m a fan of this documentary because beyond the science and information, its emotional accounts force the viewer to contemplate a world without ocean life, which means utter imbalance and chaos for our planet … and its eventual self-destruction. The producers created online toolkits to help viewers get involved. Reflection is wonderful, but action is necessary for change.