As a young child, I was weirdly obsessed with nature documentaries and animals in general for that matter. I remember a book at my nanny’s house all about birds was one that I used to return to and look at all the pictures every time I went there. I’d happily sit and watch cheetahs chasing gazelle accompanied by the great Sir David Attenborough’s voice. My friends would play with their dolls and I’d play with plastic animals (I once asked for a doll to fit in but got so terrified of the noises it made that I never played with it again).
However, I don’t know a single person who doesn’t like nature documentaries. No matter what TV shows they usually like, we’re all partial to sitting down and watching Planet Earth, which I think is greatly down to David Attenborough’s soothing voice and wisdom. We’ve had many great BBC documentaries narrated by him over the years.
Yet somehow, Our Planet has trumped them all; it’s something that everyone needs to watch and here’s why.
Nature documentaries have always been one of the only ways we get to see animals from all around the world, many of which are endangered or rarely caught on camera. We are so blessed to live in a time where we have amazing technology, so we can see close ups of these animals, from bees to deep sea creatures.
Our Planet has captured beautiful moments on film. We’ve seen a male elephant pull down the leaves of a tree after the rest of his herd couldn’t reach. Birds carrying out mating dances which are so detailed and intricate you can’t believe they’re real. A baby orangutan learning how to eat ants from a tree using a twig as a tool. Each episode focuses on a different part of the ecosystem such as forests and mountains, so we see a wide variety of animals and landscapes. It’s such a privilege to witness them without having to step foot from your house.
However with every nature documentary, we must also see heartbreaking moments, such as baby animals not making it and hunters killing their prey. But we all understand that’s a part of nature. Not every animal survives but every animals needs to eat. There’s always an animal that’s the enemy of another.
In Our Planet, we are the enemy. In this story, we’re the villain.
A polar bear unable to find trapped fish to eat. A baby flamingo with legs so encrusted that it can’t keep up with its family. A walrus walking off a cliff in a bid to get to the sea. These are all a result of climate change, caused by the human race.
With each episode and each animal we see, we are constantly reminded that their troubles are caused by rising sea levels in particular. We are told how little of their species are left in the wild. But this time, we can’t justify it by saying ‘well, it’s part of nature’ because it isn’t. We have made the planet this way, and the series opens your eyes as to what the consequences of our actions are. We hear about climate change but it’s not very often that we actually see it play out. I challenge anyone to watch the harrowing walrus scene and not want to change their ways.
It isn’t just your usual nature documentary which helps us learn about many animals. It does that but also acts as a warning; this is what our planet looks like now, and if we don’t do something about it, the future is bleak. It’s an encouragement to think about the actions we carry out in our daily lives, to secure a future for not just our children but nature across the globe.
What really intrigued me was the last episode where we visit Chernobyl. Birds nest in skyscrapers, wolves prowl along the roads and horses trot through houses. No human can stay there long enough safely, yet nature prevails, plants taking over the buildings. No matter what happens to humans, nature is strong and can find a way to survive. It’s a message of hope.
That doesn’t mean it’s not worth saving. If we act within the next decade we can save the planet. If you’re not convinced, watching Our Planet will do just that, which is why I’ve named it as something everyone needs to watch. We are all guilty of doing things that aren’t great for the environment, whether that be taking long showers or using plastic straws. But if each person does something, changes their lives just a little, we may be able to save our planet.
Have you watched the series yet? Let me know down in the comments and thank you for reading!