"Today, Earth Day is widely recognized as the largest secular observance in the world, marked by more than a billion people every year as a day of action to change human behavior and create global, national and local policy changes."
Explore these free films from the NFB that celebrate our natural world, as well as take a deeper dive into environmental issues affecting Canada through the 20th century and beyond.
Directed by Millefiore Clarkes
2013 | 25 min
This short documentary takes a look at the changing face of PEI's agricultural industry. Once famous for its spuds and red mud, this tiny island province now has higher than average cancer and respiratory illness rates. Is there a link to industrialized farming? Rather than dwelling on PEI’s worrisome monocropping practices, Island Green dares to ask: What if PEI went entirely organic?
The stirring words of PEI-born poet Tanya Davis are coupled with beautiful imagery and poignant stories from the island’s small but growing community of organic farmers, reminding us that we can rob the land only so much before it robs us of the nourishment we need for life. Island Green is ultimately a story of hope and healthy promise.
Directed by Nova Ami & Velcrow Ripper
2018 | 1 hour 25 min
A poem for the planet, Nova Ami and Velcrow Ripper's film Metamorphosis takes the pulse of our earth and bears witness to a moment of profound change: the loss of one world, and the birth of another. Metamorphosis captures the true scale of the global environmental crisis. Forest fires consume communities, species vanish, and entire ecosystems collapse. Economic growth, tied to increased speed of resource extraction, has created a machine with the capacity to destroy all life. But this crisis is also an opportunity for transformation. Through a tidal flow of stunning images, Metamorphosis carves a path from the present to the future, and offers a bold new vision for humanity and the world.
Directed by Leanne Allison & Diana Wilson
2004 | 54 min
In this feature-length documentary, husband and wife team Karsten Heuer (wildlife biologist) and Leanne Allison (environmentalist) follow a herd of 120,000 caribou on foot across 1500 km of Arctic tundra. In following the herd's migration, the couple hopes to raise awareness of the threats to the caribou's survival. Along the way they brave Arctic weather, icy rivers, hordes of mosquitoes and a very hungry grizzly bear. Dramatic footage and video diaries combine to provide an intimate perspective of an epic expedition.
Directed by Fanny Niquay & Stéphanie Flamand
2017 | 5 min
Some young and not-so-young people speak in unison to raise awareness about conservation issues in order to protect the environment for future generations.
Directed by Jy Chiperzak
1988 | 26 min
The swift fox is one of the many lost species that has suffered from the cultivation of the prairie grasslands. An innovative program has been implemented to reintroduce the swift fox into its original habitat in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Documenting the history and human misuse of this fragile ecosystem, this short film illustrates the precious balance between human and wildlife use of the environment.
Directed by Colin MacKenzie & Aparna Kapur
2019 | 15 min
When an extraordinary new resident – Balakrishna, an Indian elephant – arrived in the town of East River, Nova Scotia, in 1967, no one was more in awe of the creature than young Winton Cook, who became inseparable from his mammoth new friend. Using painterly animation, photographs and home-movie treasures, Balakrishna transmits the wistfulness of childhood memories, while evoking themes of friendship and loss, and issues of immigration and elephant conservation.
Directed by Alex Hawley
2015 | 5 min
This animated short film is a stylistic and lively story of the profound effect of climate change on the people and wildlife of the Arctic. Northern communities provide authenticity to the story of climate change because they are experiencing its impacts now, not in some distant future.
Temperature changes, unrivalled anywhere else on the planet, have significantly impacted the wildlife sustaining the Gwich’in First Nation and other northern communities. This film tells the true story of Norma, a Gwich’in woman who has experience dramatic changes in her way of life in just a few decades.
Directed by Kevin McMahon
2020 | 1 hour 30 min
In his new feature documentary Borealis, acclaimed director Kevin McMahon (Waterlife) travels deep into the heart of the boreal forest to explore the chorus of life in Canada’s iconic wilderness. How do trees move, communicate and survive the destructive forces of fire, insects, and human encroachment? Borealis offers an immersive portrait of the lifecycles of the forest from the perspective of the plants and animals that live there.