11 Documentaries to Watch on Earth Day If You're Curious About Veganism

With plant-based diets steadily growing in popularity, learning about veganism is easier than ever. In fact, there are so many books, films, TED talks, podcasts, and websites about veganism these days that the subject can seem overwhelming. So if you want to learn more about veganism but you're not sure where to start, we've got you covered. I watched every vegan documentary I could get my hands on when I started switching to a plant-based diet, and I learned a ton.

Going vegan isn't just a good way to protect your health — dietary choices play a role in everything from water scarcity to species loss. Animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, trains, planes, and other forms of transportation around the world combined, and studies show going vegan cuts your carbon footprint in half.

Hopefully, these films will inform and inspire your plant-based journey as much as they have mine.

click to play video

Forks Over Knives

Forks Over Knives is a great documentary to watch if you're curious about the health benefits of a plant-based diet, but trying to avoid witnessing the grim realities of farmed animal cruelty. The 2011 film focuses more on nutrition than ethics, and follows the inspiring health transformations of vegans from all walks of life. Forks Over Knives is available on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and the film's website.

click to play video

Peaceable Kingdom

Word to the wise: have a box of tissues close by when you watch this award-winning film. Peaceable Kingdom documents the stories of several people from farming backgrounds who embraced veganism after realizing their way of life wasn't in line with their values of kindness and compassion. You can watch Peaceable Kingdom for free here.

click to play video

Vegan: Everyday Stories

Available for free on YouTube, Vegan: Everyday Stories is an uplifting documentary that tells the inspiring stories of animal rescuers, activists, musicians, doctors, athletes, and more. My favorite part of the film is the segment on Genesis Butler — an 11-year-old activist and ethical vegan and the youngest TEDx speaker yet — but the documentary is chock-full of touching interviews with vegans of all ages.

click to play video


This award-winning documentary follows writer and producer Kip Anderson as he learns about the significant role meat-heavy diets play in everything from climate change and resource depletion to the loss of biodiversity. If you want to know more about all the reasons people go vegan for the environment, this film is a must. Cowspiracy is available on Netflix.

click to play video

What the Health

From the makers of the award-winning film Cowspiracy, this documentary focuses on how the US government and numerous "health" organizations heavily promote meat, dairy, and eggs to the detriment of the American public. If you want to learn about the health benefits of a plant-based diet, and the far-reaching environmental impact of factory farming, check out What the Health on Netflix.

click to play video

Food Inc.

This 2008 film discusses the cruel and unsustainable practices that have become standard in animal agriculture. From systemic animal abuse and corporate mistreatment of farmers to the inefficient use of land in growing feed crops for factory-farmed animals, Food Inc. will make you think twice about where your food comes from. Food Inc. is available on Netflix.

click to play video


Vegucated documents the sometimes-hilarious journey of three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to go vegan for six weeks. The 2011 film is free to download and is also available on YouTube.

click to play video


Narrated by lifelong vegan and Academy Award winner Joaquin Phoenix, Earthlings explores our relationship with nonhuman animals and the devastating impact of humankind on the natural world. Heads up, though: they don't call Earthlings "The Vegan Maker" for nothing. If you do decide to brave Earthlings, you can watch the 10th anniversary edition for free at NationEarth.com or on YouTube.

click to play video

Fowl Play

This Mercy For Animals documentary will make you lose your taste for eggs in less than an hour. With the help of undercover investigators, Fowl Play exposes many of the egregious cruelties — like debeaking and the use of battery cages — that are considered standard industry practice at egg factory farms. You can watch Fowl Play for free on YouTube.

click to play video

Death on a Factory Farm

After watching Death on a Factory Farm, you'll never again feel the need to ask vegans whether they miss bacon. This HBO film documents the journey of one brave undercover investigator as he looks into allegations of animal abuse at an Ohio hog farm. Death on a Factory Farm is available on YouTube.

click to play video

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead

Despite its less-than-cheery title, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead is a heartwarming film that documents the inspiring plant-based health journey of an overweight man suffering from a debilitating autoimmune disease. Although the documentary focuses on juicing rather than veganism, it is definitely worth your time. You can watch Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead on Netflix.