On April 5th, a new naturedocumentary series premieres on Netflix. Hosted by Sir David Attenborough and using footage of majestic animals from around the world, Our Planet is meant to be an answer to documentaries like Frozen Planet and Planet Earth.
People love watching documentaries like Planet Earth, often while high, and they get to see animals at play across beautiful landscapes, but there documentaries have been accused of whitewashing the effect that humans have been having on the world. After all, someone who is skeptical of climate change might watch Planet Earth and see only untouched nature. The natural-history-film producer Martin Hughes-Games wrote that “lulling the huge worldwide audience into a false sense of security.” However, people have pushed back and said that hectoring viewers will ultimately sour the efforts. “Every time that image [of a threatened animal] comes up, do you say ‘remember, they are in danger’?” Attenborough asked in an interview with The Observer. “How often do you say this without becoming a real turn-off?”
Our Planet is meant to be an answer to that issue. Rather than 45 minutes of nature footage followed by 5 minutes of calls to action. Instead, Our Planet is meant to hammer home that we our linked to the natural world and we are having a tremendous negative impact on the wildlife seen in the footage.
Many of the people working on the documentary wanted to have a more substantive impact on conservation efforts. This commitment is announced in the opening seconds of the first episode, as the camera pans over the moon to reveal the Earth, and Attenborough intones:
Just 50 years ago, we finally ventured to the moon. For the very first time, we looked back at our own planet. Since then, the human population has more than doubled. This series will celebrate the natural wonders that remain and reveal what we must preserve to ensure that people and nature thrive.
If you want to learn more, the documentary has a website with ways you can help.