By Ariana Bacle
Updated April 22, 2014 at 02:00 PM EDT


  • Movie

Earth Day, the perfect occasion for you to kick up your feet, sit on the couch, and watch some movies. Okay, so this may not be the traditional way to celebrate the day, but it is something good to do after a day of volunteering — or a day of thinking about volunteering.

The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970, and has been celebrated each April 22 since then. It’s a day to honor the Earth, to help the Earth, to think about the Earth. Lots of Earth. Now’s a tricky time for this lovely ol’ planet though, with global warming and pollution and all that fun stuff, and that means it’s a tricky time for people’s opinions of the planet. So we’ve compiled a movie or TV show for each kind of Earth Day celebrator, ranked from most to least depressing:

For the animal lover: Blackfish will make you cry, will make you angry, and will (spoiler!) make you wish you had never seen whale genitals. Despite its Oscar snub, this documentary is one of the must-sees from 2013, showing the dangers of taking wild creatures out of their natural environments and holding them captive. Free the whales!

For the skeptic: Everyone seems to have their opinions on the environment these days, so who do you trust: CNN or Rush Limbaugh? (Probably not Rush Limbaugh.) If you’re on the fence about whether or not the earth is changing, just watch Chasing Ice, a documentary about glaciers retreating — not only does it show the effects of global warming in real-time, but it’s also hauntingly beautiful. Just watch this and tell me you aren’t welling up with tears of fear/awe:

For the staunch environmentalist: Check out (or, more likely, re-watch) Wall-E, a film that uses a lovable robot to show all the junk we humans leave behind. And, surprise, it’s a lot. So much so that in the Wall-E universe, humans had to leave earth because it was so polluted. Since Mars doesn’t seem to be ready for us yet and the International Space Station probably can’t fit us all, watching this Pixar movie is a good way to motivate yourself to like, recycle or something.

For the cautionary: Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke is a wonderfully told tale that basically says don’t smite nature or nature will smite you — should be easy enough, right? Not quite. But don’t go in expecting the Japanese animated version of Day After Tomorrow: This film is full of fantastical characters like forest spirits and boar gods so it’s not too realistic.

For… everyone: No matter how old you are, Captain Planet will always be relevant. Always. The ’90s cartoon series tells us that yes, we need to all work together to keep the world going ’round, but it does so without veering into scary oh-no-the-world-is-ending territory. The earth may be all right after all because, as the wise Captain Planet taught us, the power is yours!

For the nature lover: Just want to take today to appreciate how pretty the world can be? There are plenty of nature documentaries out that can do that, but BBC’s Blue Planet andPlanet Earth are where you’ll find all the magic. Hours of blissful, stress-free magic. Now that’s how you celebrate Earth Day.

Episode Recaps


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