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8 Films To Watch For The Environmentalist In You

Apr 14, 2016 06:00 PM EDT

Environmentalists are not all seriousness and grassroots advocacy work. From time to time, they have to relax, unwind and get themselves a good film to unreel.

But that does not mean their green living stops there. Even films can bring out the big fight for environmental justice. Some may be documentaries, particularly from National Geographic and the BBC, while others may simply be green-inspired and serve as a reminder for everyone, environmentalists or not, of the importance of keeping nature our priority.

So, for the environmentalist in you, here are some films to watch and spoil yourself with. Enjoy!

For Starters in Climate Action: 'An Inconvenient Truth' (documentary, 2006)

Perhaps, no other film has sparked climate talks as much as the "An Inconvenient Truth," that's why it definitely opens our list. Produced in 2006 when "climate change" was just becoming a buzz word, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore presented staggering facts and statistics about our rapidly changing world due to climate change and global warming. To date, it is still one of the films that truly created a significant impact in environmental movements across the world.

For Those Who Need Alarm Signals: 'Chasing Ice' (documentary/biography, 2012) 

This beautifully shot documentary features National Geographic photographer James Balog as he journeyed across the Arctic to capture a time-lapse of changing glaciers over several years. Once a climate change skeptic, his Extreme Ice Survey done in "Chasing Ice" immediately changed his mind as he witnessed how the huge ice caps quickly changed and disappeared due to global warming. Viewers are treated to stunning shots that show the intensity of this disaster that is still taking place in the Arctic region.

For Those Interested in Dolphins and Freeing Willy: 'The Cove' (documentary/crime, 2009)

"The Cove" is not exactly for the faint-hearted, but it's a must-watch for any environment warrior. A group of activists, led by renowned dolphin trainer-turned-advocate Ric O'Barry, infiltrated a hidden cove in Taiji, Japan to reveal the disheartening and bloody secret behind dolphins in captivity. It is a thrilling ride that involves state-of-the-art equipment, several arrests and confrontations, and, finally, the saddening truth behind the smiling dolphins we see in oceanariums.

For The Big Fight Versus SeaWorld: 'Blackfish' (documentary, 2013)

"Blackfish" features Tilikum, an orca at SeaWorld Orlando that sparked controversy after he was linked to the deaths of three individuals in the facility. "Blackfish" shows how magnificent creatures like orcas should never be caged in aquariums and used for human entertainment, as it causes extreme stress for such huge animals. This film is closely related to "The Cove" and has also sparked movements to free wild animals in captivity. After the film, SeaWorld suffered major blows in its sales and this March, it has announced that it will stop all its orca live performances and breeding programs.

For An Apocalyptic Feel: 'The Day After Tomorrow' (sci-fi/thriller film, 2004) 

A sci-fi flick, "The Day After Tomorrow" came even before climate change became a household term. Featuring Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal, it shows the dawn of a New Ice Age as the world faced a series of extreme weather events and catastrophic climate disasters. While it has been criticized for its scientific inaccuracy, it gives an apocalyptic feel of what might happen if the rapid changes in climate actually usher in a new age for extreme ice and snow. While climate scientists won't swear by a New Ice Age anytime soon, at this moment, we sure can feel disastrous climate events unfolding, such as extreme drought, massive coral bleaching and rapid glacier melting.

For An Apocalyptic Feel... In Animation and With Robots: 'WALL-E' (fantasy/action, 2008) 

Some people might argue that "WALL-E" is not necessarily an environmental film, but it does have an eco-friendly theme to it, reminding us that Earth is our only home (at least, for now). Produced by Pixar and released by Disney, it features the robot WALL-E, an adorable yet lonely beeping machine tasked to clean up a waste-covered and ultimately abandoned Earth. After stumbling upon the apple of his eye, Eve, and a hope for a new green future, WALL-E becomes the hero we all deserve. This film may not be as hard-hitting as the earlier ones, but it is a subtle critique of consumerism and a great reminder that the Earth is something we should love and take care of.

For Those Who Love Dance, Nature (And Of Course, Penguins): 'Happy Feet' (comedy/musical, 2006)

Now, who would want to miss out on dancing and singing penguins? While we may not see them break the moves yet in Antarctica, "Happy Feet" is a good film to watch with the kids and welcome them in the environmental advocacy. This film already gave way to a sequel, which features Brad Pitt and Matt Damon -- two known environment advocates -- as krills. Both films are a fun ride for children and children-at-heart, showing our interconnectedness with the easily lovable birds that are also affected by the actions that we take.

For The Big Fight Out There:'The Lorax' (comedy/animation, 2012)

Based on Dr. Seuss' children's book of the same name, "The Lorax" features fuzzy creatures that initiate conversations about our role in nature. There is no denying its criticism of capitalism and consumerism, as "thneed" becomes the rising sensation that brings forests down to its knees. It showcases a village made of plastic and synthetic materials and a child's desire to see a "real, living tree." Hopefully, there would not be a time where that actually happens. Well, it can become true if we do not change our ways... but as The Lorax himself puts it: "Unless."

Bonus clip to sing and dance to:

Did we miss out on any of your favorites? Let us know in the comments section below!

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