Five thought-provoking documentaries on climate change to watch this weekend

Many documentaries focusing on global warming and environmental damage have popped up in the recent past. With the climate change crisis getting worse by the day, it’s important for people to educate themselves about it. Here are some must-watch short films to help you do just that.

24th May 2020
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Climate change is more real than ever today, and its effects can be easily observed in our lives. Natural disasters are increasing in frequency, as well as intensity. On the one hand, oceanic temperatures are rising, and on the other, polar ice caps are shrinking. The emission of greenhouse gases is not only multiplying the effect of global warming, but also causing respiratory ailments in humans.

Environmentalists, world over, concur that human activity is responsible for the damage caused to Earth, and opine that only by spreading awareness can any of it be undone. Understanding the fragility of the ecosystem and its natural resources can go a long way in protecting the only planet we have.

Mike Pandey

Filmmaker Mike Pandey's documentary, 'Shores of Silence' won him the Green Oscar.

Hundreds of NGOs, academic institutions, and independent entities have been trying to do just that through thought-provoking social media campaigns, and educational sessions, but one powerful tool that has managed to strike a chord is filmmaking.

Hundreds of thousands of documentaries and short films pegged on climate change have popped up in the recent past, and SocialStory has hand-picked some of them for you:

The Weeping Apple Tree

Apple Tree

The cultivation of apples has taken a toll due to the ill-effects of climate change.

Directed by the Vijay S Jodha, The Weeping Apple Tree, throws the spotlight on apple trees growing in the Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh. Through its powerful visuals and storytelling, the film talks about the complex issue of climate change and its effects on the state’s apple-growing areas.

The sight of apples being replaced with cauliflowers, plums, and peaches shows the consequences of warmer temperatures on melting ice caps.

Climate’s First Orphan 


Landless communities encroaching grazing land.

(Photo Credit: Rashmi Komal)

Satabhaya is a quaint coastal village located in Orissa's Kendrapara district, and the documentary reflects the impact of global warming on this place.

Made and encapsulated by Nila Madhab Panda, the documentary talks about the effects of land encroachment by refugees in the locality, and the subsequent destruction of agriculture along the belt.

Shores of Silence 

Whale sharks

Whale-sharks were being killed for cod-liver oil.

This is a landmark film that made it to the Green Oscars. Mike Pandey’s endeavour to highlight the issue of the needless killing of whale-sharks for cod-liver oil was well-received, the world over. The documentary helped bring several legislative changes, globally, that aimed to protect the species.

The Indian government too acted on it, and banned the fishing of whale-sharks, declaring them an endangered species under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.

A Green Agony


Sundarbans is known for its diversity of flora and fauna.

Image source: Laskar Sarowar/Wikimedia Commons

A network of densely forested mangroves intersected by creeks and water bodies – Sundarbans is one of the richest, most diverse ecosystems in India. ‘A Green Agony’ analyses the impact of climate change on the wildlife and habitat of the area surrounding the Sundarbans.

It also makes people think about the burden the land has been bearing as a result of human activities. Geeta Singh does justice to the film by featuring the royal Bengal tiger, and its imperilment owing to the ingress of the sea on the land. 

A Dreadful Fate


Groundwater resources are depleting at a fast rate as of today.

Directed by Doolam Satyanarayana, ‘A Dreadful Fate’ throws light on the issue of contamination of groundwater resources. The entire film was shot in the Nalgonda district of Telangana, where excess fluoride in groundwater led to fluorosis – a serious disease that leads to the deformation of bones.

The visuals in the documentary are so poignant that they evoke tears. Even today, the people living there are facing a water crisis.

(Edited by Aparajita Saxena)

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