“Our Planet” is as Important as it is Breathtaking

Screenshot from Netflix's "Our Planet"

The arrival of Our Planet on Netflix was good news for everyone that finds themselves easily impressed by the beauty of nature or are equally soothed by the gentle voice of David Attenborough.

The multi-million dollar series is the platform’s first nature documentary endeavor. Over 600 people filmed the series in over 50 different countries, but did the four years of hard work pay off?

Of course it did.

The series is just as magnificent, powerful, and surprising as we have come to expect from an Attenborough project. Each episode takes place in a unique natural habitat and each habitat is filled with wonderful surprises.

In “Jungles”, we witness the bizarre manakin birds performing their mesmerizing mating rituals. The first bird we see tidies the land surrounding him, making sure there is not a leaf out of place. When his potential mate arrives, he performs a spectacular dance, flashing his hidden colors for his hard-to-please lady friend to assess.

While every episode is visually remarkable and brings delight in one way or another, some of the scenes were far more serious than the playful manakins or the stunning flamingos building their mud mounds for their eggs to hatch in. Whereas BBC’s Planet Earth reminds us of how beautiful the planet is, Our Planet reminds us of how beautiful our planet is and teaches us why it is therefore imperative that we do everything we can to protect it.

The effects of climate change are real and while humans may be enjoying slightly warmer summers, there are animals elsewhere in the world who are not so lucky.

In “Frozen Worlds”, Attenborough informs us that thousands of walruses have been forced onto a single cramped beach, not out of choice, but out of desperation. Now that their natural home on the sea ice has retreated, this is the only place they can rest. In order to get to the sea to feed, the walruses must throw themselves off a cliff edge but unfortunately, they rarely make it. Many viewers have found themselves in tears as the helpless animals bounce against the jagged cliff edge, unable to make the jump and return to their calves.

Although such scenes were shocking, they did draw attention to the real threat that climate change poses to our planet’s eco-system. The show was not preachy nor was it hopeless and depressing. It showed us what is happening to our planet through the story of the animals that live here. It did so in such a spectacular way that viewers are left with no choice but to protect the wonderful creatures that we share a home with. Even the harshest of critics consequently cannot deny that Our Planet is utterly breathtaking and enormously powerful television.